Welcome to the last day of July, another incredible month!
Omar Vasquez points to an Internet radio station with no fear.
We have more fear than this. Perhaps we should work out a way to connect to one of these servers from Radio UserLand.
Oh the fear about pointing to things these days. Pointing at things is expressive, you know, like free speech and the First Amendment. Is this a total police state yet? Can I even say this? What happened to the US? (If you're a lawyer, call a judge and tell them how crazy things are getting on the Web.)
PS: Tonight we learned that George W's wife can't pronounce the word poignant. (The "g" is silent.) That is, in itself, for some reason, poignant.
PPS: Sam Devore has the playlist working on the Mac. Bonk!
Thanks to someone named Dalai Lama for the pointer, I am now able to convert audio CDs to MP3 using CDEX.
I'm taking a break and ripping a brand new CD. One of the CDs I bought yesterday was Frank Zappa's Strictly Commercial, a greatest hits album. I thought this was appropriate, since Zappa, if he were alive, would probably be one of the biggest boosters of music on PCs. I don't know that for sure, obviously, just a guess.
OK, next step. Here's what a folder produced by CDEX looks like. If you use MP3 software to convert audio CDs, does your folder structure look like this or does it look different?
Survey: What does your folder look like?
If yours looks different it would be great if you posted a screen shot to the Radio UserLand discussion group.
Andy Goldstein recommends MPEG Suite. (Crashed on launch.)
Little Feat: Strawberry Flats.
"Knocked on my friend's door in Moody Texas, and asked if he had a place for me. His hair was cut off and he was wearing a suit, and he said not in my house, not in my house. You look like you're part of a conspiracy."
This Suck piece is a must-read. I've said many of the same things about Mozilla. If there's to be an alternative to Microsoft's browser, it must behave exactly like it, the pain to transition to it must be absolutely at a minimum.
Dennis Wickham: "In 1999, Microsoft won a lawsuit here in San Diego because the Federal District Judge agreed with you that the First Amendment extends to choices made by developers in writing software. The case involved an inadvertent string of events that caused a user of Publisher 98 looking to images of 'monkeys' to pull up an African-American couple sitting on 'monkey bars.' The judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by a consumer ruling that the programing, even if it lead to unintended associations of ideas, were speech."
In Web Techniques, Dale Dougherty reports on the WWW9 conference in Amsterdam in May.
"Given that publishing was in the title, and the fact that there were five other tracks available for the 500-plus developers, I wasn't expecting much interest. So I was really surprised to see that our room was packed, even overflowing at times."
The room was overflowing and the session was great. Thanks to Dale for continuing to carry the message. Let's get our Web apps connected to each other and to desktop apps. Let's make it easy to create for the Web.
Have you ever noticed that Michael Jackson's Billie Jean has exactly the same beginning as Falco's Der Kommissar?
Or is it the other way around?
Lisa Napoli: "If you’re crying in your beer about the impending death of Napster, let me ask you this: If you were a musician, would you want to get paid for your work? In fact, chances are that you’re not a musician, so I’ll ask a different question: Do you expect to get paid for whatever work it is you do? Pardon me for presuming all of you aren’t socialists, but surely the answer must be yes."
Considering that she already answered the question, let's back up and look at the assumptions she's made, and see where she took a wrong turn.
If I was a musician I would want to get paid for my work. And she's right, I am not a musician. She's doing great so far.
Now on to the next question. Do I expect to get paid for the work I do? The answer, sadly, is no. That's because I choose to be creative and honest, and writing software is even less appreciated an art than being a musician. I could take a job as the CEO or CTO of a slimy dot-com startup and promote non-existent software and bribe reporters for good press coverage. I've had a few offers, but I turn them down with such gusto, the offers have stopped, which is OK with me. I choose to have integrity in the work I do. I also choose to write software. So money has to take a back seat. (She didn't ask if I'd like to get paid, the answer is an enthusiastic yes!)
Most rock stars don't get paid very much, if anything, for the work they do, under the old system. That point has been made by quite a few artists, and hasn't been refuted by the music industry. Until they refute it, with facts that stand up to reasonable scrutiny, I'm going to believe the artists that have spoken publicly. So forget the bs about artists getting paid, when a reporter asks the question that way I wonder whose payroll they're on. Where are the fact-checkers when you need one? Talk about music company execs getting paid, then the story has some basis in fact, afaik.
Further, as I've said countless times but no one seems to hear, I pay for music. The stuff I download from Napster is stuff I've already paid for. How many times do I have to pay for it?
(That's the question for Ms. Napoli.)
It's time to lift the hood in a new way..
I am personally net-negative on UserLand, to the tune of a few million dollars. During the flame war that resulted when Frontier went commercial in 1998, we computed that I had personally paid $3000 for every copy of Frontier in use. I paid for the priviledge of people using my software. (Which made the selfish flames all the more ridiculous.)
The software distribution system forces developers to work for large companies, where there is diminished opportunity for artistic integrity. We learned in the early 90s that there was no way for a small company, even with a hot product, to net-out any money from software distribution. It was bad in the 80s, in the 90s it became impossible. It was cheaper to just give the software away, which is what we did in 1995.
Privately, I urged Apple to revise the distribution system, since they were getting beat-up for having no software, and they were making good money in the early 90s. The pleas fell on deaf ears. I proposed a pool of five percent of revenue for the Macintosh, to be distributed to software developers based on usage ratings. The more your software got used, the more money you'd get. I still think this is a reasonable way to do it. Users want the software for free, so did the platform vendor, but it costs money to develop. Somehow this has to be resolved. No one has had the guts yet to do it. (This would be the equivalent of the artists having an equity stake in the studio.)
Anyway, in twelve years I have never drawn a salary from UserLand. That's not true for the people who work here, who earn salaries and get stock options and benefits. In the above I carefully talk about me, not the company. We're not profitable, it would not make any sense for me to draw a salary. I'm not complaining, because since 1998 I haven't had to write any checks to UserLand. A lot of people assume we're rolling in dough, and we're not. That's one of the reasons I like that the music industry is bringing money into the discussion. Like the musicians, I want to be paid for giving people good stuff that does cool things, but only from honest people who like it.
Like good music, good software is expensive to make. When you see something cool-but-free coming from UserLand, think about money, and the gift you're getting. You're not paying for it, but you're getting something that cost money to make.
One more thing.
At various times, we've had offers to sell Frontier.
Each time, on investigation, we learned that the product would be dismembered, and pieces would be integrated with other products from the acquiring company.
I always got angry at this point. "The beauty of Frontier is its integration. If you dismember it all its value goes away."
If we had done any of these deals we would have sold out our users. They'd be left holding a piece of software that would never be updated, bugs never fixed, no new features released, new platforms not supported.
I did that once, in the late 80s, the product died, and I hear from its users to this day, and it makes me angry and sad that the beautiful product died, for no good reason I could find. I decided that the art I do is far more important than money, and I resolved never to do it again.
PS: This is why I do it.
DaveNet: Software and the First Amendment.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Excellent!
American Library Association's First Amendment page.
Cornell: "The most basic component of freedom of expression is the right of freedom of speech. The right of freedom of speech allows an individual to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. The Supreme Court requires the government to provide substantial justification for the interference with the right of free speech if it attempts to regulate the content of the speech. A less stringent test is applied for content-neutral legislation. The Supreme Court has also recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence. The right of free speech includes other mediums of expression that communicates a message."
It will be a few weeks before UserLand has an official release for the Mac that plays MP3s as the Windows version does.
However, there are many applications of the app that do not depend on playing MP3s, and there are many inventive developers in our Mac user community.
That's why we pushed this app-only release so soon after the release of the Windows software.
Some people have reported trouble with the InstallShield installer, for those people we've created a no-installer download, it's just a zip file, it won't add items to your Start menu, but it's more foolproof.
Progress on Radio UserLand. Some people have successfully installed it and are making feature requests.
This is the first time we've done a Windows installer so this is not surprising. If you got a bad install, please please check back in a few days. We'll get it to install properly.
OK, so much feedback coming, it's very overwhelming! But keep it coming, I love drinking from a firehose.
Brent posted a Bugs and Issues page on the Radio UserLand site. We're going to do this openly.
The backend is crucial to this product. For the last few days we've been focusing on the user interface. Now it's necessary to swing back. I revised the Backend page on the Radio UserLand site. As we developed the beta 1 release, things changed and the document became inaccurate. I added an idea that's not been talked about yet, the role of outline tools in building a distributed Internet directory, the next step after DMOZ and Yahoo.
There's another way of looking at what we're doing. There's a media type that, until now, no one had bothered to define or create tools for. Outlines are very useful, and tools for creating and browsing them are mature. Look under a rock, find a gold nugget. I've felt strongly since I first saw the Web that there's a hierarchy in there. It didn't take long for Yahoo to become the main portal. But it's limited by the capacity of their editors, same with DMOZ. Now, six years later, the Web has matured and there are millions of people who have mastered the medium. Why not turn over the directory to them?
It took a long time to get my team to ship an Internet-aware outliner. I wanted one in 1996. They didn't get it. When Doug Baron was just about to work with me on it, he quit. My guys are good, but they didn't want to do this one. I snuck it in there by showing them how music could work better. We have a musician on the team, and he has no fear. So it happened. Now we can really jump out of the plane!
Derek Odegard wrote a COM component that "reads a Radio UserLand songlist file (locally or remotely) and makes it available to ASP scripts as simple collections of objects."
I've not yet pointed to our credits page.
Note that I thank Napster and the music industry.
And then I thank the musicians.
I think that's the right order.
It's Oscar-style. The last is the most important.
Credence Clearwater: Born on the Bayou.
Such a rich song, fantastic dancing music. And it's funny that I should re-discover it today. For some reason as I was writing the Radio UserLand docs, esp the mainframes page, I was thinking of Wes Felter.
Just a dream, of course. As I was talking with Woz, I thought "Wes is a very young Woz." Now looping back to Credence, Wes was actually born on the bayou. I went to school there but Wes is from there.
I had a flash of insight into why the W3C focuses so on namespaces.
The idea is that no one should have the power to launch new file formats.
All our file formats meld into one format that no one understands, or could possibly understand, by design. That's the puzzle of namespaces. And RDF abstracts it one more level, making it even more impossible to comprehend.
The W3C wants us to be prepared for anything, but it's human nature to wait for someone to go first.
Wait wait wait, we do. But I've never grokked this, it goes against all history in software. Proprietary standards have more juice, iff the product takes off. Look at Napster. The WSJ gives them shit for being indecisive about openness. Cheap shot. At least they went first and didn't wait for a standards body to give the green light. And when pushed, they opened it up. If I were their teacher they'd get an A+ with extra credit. They did the right thing and did it the right way.
It's a revolutionary act to ship a new file format. Standards-bodies-be-damned. It has to be that way.
The best standard is the one with the most users. Like HTML. The W3C should get this, the leader of W3C is Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of HTML. Why didn't he wait for the SGML people to validate him? He had an idea that really excited him. When that happens, the standards process is far too slow.
That's my philosophy, you may not agree, and I could change my mind, but that's how I call it.
Jerome Camus: Digi-Tunes and Micro-Dollars.
About.Com: How to make MP3 files from your CDs.
Jeffrey Zeldman's glamorous life. Believe it or not this story makes me miss NY!
David Singer had a similar experience at Fry's, all the way across the country.
NY Times: "After the close of trading on Wednesday, Amazon reported its second-quarter results. With remarkable synchronicity, 6 of the 35 analysts who follow Amazon cut their ratings on the stock the next morning."
Please use the mail list or the discussion group to comment. Unless you hit a deal-stopper, it works best if you accumulate a list of problems, and report them all in a single post, if possible. We'll review all the lists.
BTW, this was Jake Savin's first project on the UserLand team. He did very well, he's a great guy to work with, doesn't get rattled and he seems to do the right thing, and we already knew he was smart. Good job.
Grateful Dead: Box of Rain. "And it's just a box of rain or a ribbon for your hair; such a long, long time to be gone and a short time to be there."
Paul Krugman: "The truth is that this story is much bigger than music, or even intellectual property. Something serious, and troubling, is happening -- and I haven't heard any good ideas about what to do about it."
Answer: "Over and over we learn the lesson that we're just little pups with grand visions, waiting to lead a revolution, wanting to be heard by someone, anyone, lest we die in anonymity. In the end we die, and who cares? Probably no one. It happens every day."
Good morning! Come hell or high water we're going to release the first public beta of Radio UserLand today. Thanks for your patience. Things got pretty heavy yesterday, we got a lot of work done, but when it came time to pull the trigger, my eyes were so blurry, even so I was seeing mistakes all over the website. I wanted to get it cleaner and more supportable. I have a feeling a lot of people are going to use this software. First impressions count a lot.
We'd like to iterate over the weekend. The first release will be called 7.0b1 (the version number tracks Frontier's, it's built from the same code base, of course). Radio UserLand also has a Frontier-style updates process, so non-kernel changes can be done painlessly. Now when hundreds of thousands of people are using the software we're going to have to charge for updates, or figure out another way to distribute them. We expect to hit more scaling walls with this product, that's one of the reasons we hosted the mail list at eGroups. Let's offload as much as we can.
Piecing the story together, I added a page about the personal computer, the revolution that routed around the mainframes. "The Apple II was a perfect mix of the personalities of the Apple founders. It had the polish and physical elegance that Jobs is famous for (it felt a bit like a typewriter, but with far fewer moving parts and much lighter) and the programmability and open frontiers that Steve Wozniak loves."
Then I wrote a short piece about Napster, linking it to the stories about mainframes and personal computers.
In the last week we've had two main slogans internally. The first one is Keep It Simple. We've already got the most powerful playlist software. Now how can we make the whole thing come together so it's really simple to use and get started with? We hope to get feedback on this over the weekend.
The second slogan is Let's Win! I've had gusher products, and I love the feeling of hitting the spot so well that everyone says "Wow that's great!" Since this is a community thing, I want you all to have the same idea, we can win, we can create something that's new and fun and very powerful, we can all win. (By winning I don't mean others have to lose, except perhaps insidious bloatware playlist products.)
After all this time, I'm still listening to Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues. "Girl by the whirlpool's looking for a new fool." It's addictive.
At about this time, Frontier and Manila users are probably wondering if we're leaving them behind. We are not. How can you tell? The website documenting Radio UserLand is a Manila site. And the server-side is Frontier. It all fits together. Radio UserLand is the deployment of our organizing and writing tool (and HTTP, XML-RPC and SOAP web services platform). Music is a wonderful and timely catalyst. Our vision, the Two-Way Web is still very much what we're doing.
ePrairie: Napster Balks, Users Talk, Court Walks.
June 10 was Jesus Day in Texas. Officially.
WE GET TO KEEP NAPSTER!!!
The Dead are so happy they just broke out in spontaneous music-making. I'm happy too. I'm going to have some cheesecake now to celebrate!
DaveNet: A "buycott" for Napster.
Grateful Dead statement on MP3s: "No commercial gain may be sought by websites offering digital files of our music, whether through advertising, exploiting databases compiled from their traffic, or any other means. All participants in such digital exchange acknowledge and respect the copyrights of the performers, writers and publishers of the music. This notice should be clearly posted on all sites engaged in this activity. We reserve the ability to withdraw our sanction of noncommercial digital music should circumstances arise that compromise our ability to protect and steward the integrity of our work."
Finally, a newspaper correctly explains that Napster is an "Internet search engine that enables users to find and trade songs between computers." There's been so much incorrect reporting in the last few days. They should make the reporters take a freshman Computer Science class. They. Who are they? I don't know. Good night.
One more thing. AOL subsidiary WinAmp operates a search engine that does the same thing. AOL is merging with Time-Warner, which is part of the RIAA. So if they shut down Napster, we don't have to go to Gnutella to get the music, we can go to Time-Warner. How can they sue Napster for what they do themselves? Someone is ethically impaired here. This seems newsworthy. (I just checked, the search engine is still there, and I searched for Metallica, and got lots of MP3s, which I didn't download, but I could have.)
MacCentral: Apple could be sued over Cube design. It's great to see Cobalt take an interest in the Qube, which is a milestone product, heavily influenced our work at UserLand.
We're having fun with Radio UserLand. I wrote this page, entitled Mainframes are Computers Too, in case any mainframe people check it out.
For more fun, does anyone have a similar picture of an old style radio station?
Kevin Werbach: "What made Napster a threat to the record labels was its remarkable growth. That growth resulted from two things: Napster's user experience and its focus on music. The court decision strikes at the heart of the first of these reasons. It leaves the second intact, which is why, thanks to its massive user base, Napster has a bright future after all."
If you doubted the commercialization of music, read this account by a musician named Thundergod, of the Rockfest in Chicago, July 22.
Jason Levine gives Joel some passport trouble.
Public Citizen did a study of threats to radio stations.
Shipping is hard work!
The Radio UserLand software is worth the work. The early demos are going great. People really like it.
We're going to open it up for an early beta round, Murphy-willing, later today, early tomorrow at the latest.
It's time to jump out the door, no parachute, ladies and gentlemen.
Here we go!
We started a mail list for Radio UserLand at eGroups.
They do such a good job of running mail lists, they provide all the services we want, so what the heck, let's save some trouble and use their service.
I've known Jim for almost twenty years. So many people our age get cynical, thinking they've seen it all, but then bonk, something comes along, and all they see is bad news, but Jim sees something powerful, and power is exciting. As they used to say when we were young and they were old, "That's what keeps you young." Can you parse that sentence?
Napster's buycott page. Excellent. One of my bands, the Grateful Dead, is on the list of Napster supporters. I already have every CD they've come out with, but I think I'll buy $100 worth of Grateful Dead CDs this weekend, at Tower Records. I will tell the clerk that I'm doing it to support Napster.
For those who too young to know, Jerry Garcia of the Dead, who himself died, almost five years ago, was a sweet bear of a man, who didn't take himself or any of this kind of michegas very seriously. Just look at the name they chose for their band for a clue. And click on Jerry's picture for a song.
Will Cate has a suggestion.
When I clicked on Jerry's picture, after the song downloaded, this weird piece of software came up and flashed a bunch of messages about it saving my music somewhere, and then it popped up this screen. Nowhere does it say who made the software or how it got on my hard drive. I don't like this very much. Hello, how did it get there? (Is this part of W2K?)
Bob Crosley: "MusicMatch is pre-installed on all Dell's. It's a hideous piece of bloatware that takes over your associations for MP3, Windows Media and QuickTime."
Dan Gillmor: Do the Media Want to be Free?
News.Com interview with Napster CEO Hank Barry.
Keola Donaghy found an interesting poll at Billboard. When asked if they were willing to pay for downloaded music from Sony and EMI, 65.3 percent said "No, because you can find most of this music elsewhere online for free."
Thanks to Lawrence Lee for pointing to this excellent Clay Shirky analysis of Napster and the RIAA from April of this year. "The RIAA-Napster suit feels like nothing so much as the fight over the national speed limit in the seventies and eighties. The people arguing in favor of keeping the 55-MPH limit had almost everything on their side -- facts and figures, commonsense concerns about safety and fuel efficiency, even the force of federal law. The only thing they lacked was the willingness of the people to go along."
Dave Rogers found a Doug Engelbart article from 1966 where he described an outliner. It was a bit more crude than the one we implemented in 1980, but fourteen years is a long time.
Today's Radio UserLand screen shot shows new symbology (is that a word?) for headlines that link to music on the local file system. The note symbol is a double-entendre, designed in the mid 90s for Clay Basket, where the note symbol indicated that there was a word processing "note" attached.
One thing's for sure, the backend of Radio UserLand, which hasn't yet shipped, is wide open. Here's the first draft of the spec. There are two XML formats, and an XML-RPC call to register with the aggregator.
Thanks to Jeffrey Zeldman for his wonderful free icon collection. As a graphics-impaired developer I sure appreciate his generosity. The Radio UserLand icon comes from the Zeldman collection. We chose the same icon that represents Scripting News. A strong authoritative male image, artistically rendered. Consistent with my own self-image!
A loop-close and flip-flop. In May 1999, I wrote a piece called Edit This Page, which talked about Manila and what was then called Corazon, which became Pike and is now Radio UserLand. In that piece I said "Meet your new file menu," postulating that an Internet-aware writing tool would need a different File menu. Well, I changed my mind. Radio UserLand has a standard File menu. It still works with Manila as Pike did, without having to change the File menu. Sometimes it pays to change your mind, instead of changing a standard.
Today's song: Come On Eileen.
Andrew Wooldridge, who works on Mozilla, is doing an outliner for that scripting environment. (That's how I think of Mozilla.) I like it because it reads and writes the same files that Radio UserLand does. (Poetry in motion!)
SF Chronicle: "Rodney O'Neal Austin, a statuesque gender blending artist included in the exhibition, greeted me with an air kiss and handed me an envelope. 'It arrived today,' he said with a melodramatic flourish. Not surprisingly, it was a letter from his landlord announcing the house he'd lived in for many years was up for sale."
News.Com: "Deploying new software developed in the past six months, BrightPlanet estimates there are now about 550 billion documents stored on the Web."
There's talk about boycotting the music industry, personally I think that rather than a boycott, it would be more appropriate to swamp them with money, in a public way. That would destroy the idea that the net is filled with pirates. There's a lot of buying power here. I don't think the Napster folks can ask people to do this, but I can. Shall we all meet at Tower Records on Saturday at 3PM, coast to coast, with our Visa cards out? (Maybe we should deliver the cash in trash bags?)
Yesterday's survey heavily favored Napster. Only 9 percent said they would shut down Napster if they were the judge, a whopping 84 percent said "Keep it up."
I'm getting lots of mail from people, some artists, about yesterday's DaveNet piece. I'm asking them all to post their thoughts on the discussion group on the Napster Weblog. Some people are venting, that's OK, but it's not OK to put words in my mouth, things I didn't say and don't believe. Listen first, please, it's a waste of time to argue with things I don't believe.
DaveNet: The Thrill is Gone?
Will Cate: "Just came over the news, at 4:55 pm PDT. Rest in peace, Napster. Let a thousand little Napster seedlings grow."
Dan Gillmor: "And I hold no particular brief for Napster, the company. It has been quick to assert remarkably heavy-handed protection of its own intellectual property, as the Wall Street Journal noted today." Dan, this is important, the WSJ got the story wrong. Napster did not hold onto the protocol. It's openly documented and they've helped the cloners. This is central to the Journal piece, it reeks of a smear, and they got the facts wrong.
Scott Rosenberg: "Instead of going to court, of course, the music industry could be figuring out ways to use Napster to sell more music. After all, here's a piece of software that cultivates people's taste for new music and that appeals to the most dedicated fans. What a sales opportunity! "
"Patel said the injunction will go into effect at 4PM Friday."
At 7PM there will be a live webcast from Napster. (Did anyone listen to the webcast? Do you have a URL of the archive? I just get a recording saying it's over. Is it archived anywhere?)
Peter Lubin: "For twenty years I had been an Artist & Repertoire executive at the major labels."
In San Francisco today, Napster is in court, defending against a suit by the RIAA.
I sent a good luck card to the people at Napster and Hummer-Winblad thanking them for believing in music on the Internet.
If you love music, think good thoughts today, for the judge, and for the RIAA. It's still not too late for them to embrace music on the Internet.
Napster.Com now has a service status page.
WSJ: "The company may, through its rap anthem, appear to encourage a disdain for 'trade laws' where music is concerned, but it readily invokes those same laws when its own property is at stake."
The Journal article also says: "Some have tried to figure out the workings of Napster’s internal protocols on their own. One of them, David Weekly, a Stanford University student, put a version of them on his personal Web site. Soon, he received an electronic message from Napster demanding that he take it down."
This demands clarification. Whatever differences they may have had in the past, the Weekly site currently has the Napster spec. The spec is widely distributed around the Net. I asked Fanning and Kessler about this when I met with them last month and they said it's OK with them, and that they give advice on mail lists to Napster cloners.
Survey: Shut down Napster?
Joel Spolsky: "Am I the only one who is terrified about Microsoft Passport? It seems to me like a fairly blatant attempt to build the world's largest, richest consumer database, and then make fabulous profits mining it."
Kim Polese: "Our vision, putting it bluntly, is to be the Cisco of Internet infrastructure management. If you want to turn the Internet into a utility like water and electricity, you have to have a whole range of infrastructure and management processes."
I may have just written the perfect Web page.
But it won't be this perfect for long. The marketing hype section will get filled in. Sorry sports fans!
Thanks for all the great product name suggestions!
The best name was on the tip of our collective tongue. Too close to even see it.
For some reason the word Radio has always had a magic ring to it. I knew that someday Scripting News would be a radio station. (So will your site, if you want it to be.)
Radio radio radio. What's the root of the word? Radiate? Probably. A 1920s modernism.
"Come on honey let's go make some noise!"
"I'm going to be your number one, number one."
Anyway, the name of the product is here.
I've got ImageReady running. It's a new version so it totally sucks, almost everything I learned is out the window. I'm a graphics-impaired user. Oy I hate Adobe. Whatever. But I'm using it.
Now I can show you a screen shot of the new software. Note the queue is on the left. Those are the songs that are in my rotation right now. To take a song out just cut it. Copy-paste works too. On the right is my master playlist. It's got all the songs in it, categorized by artist. To add a song to the queue, just double-click. The next song to play is The Tide is High. I could change that by re-positioning the cursor. But I'm going to leave it right there because Blondie is so cooool.
Observation. I like to start my mornings with female vocalists singing about love. But as the morning goes on, I like to listen to black male vocalists. Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Jimmy Cliff, BB King, Gil Scott-Heron. They mostly aren't singing about love (or maybe it's love of self). It's still great stuff.
Steve Ivy asks if Radio UserLand is cross-platform. Yes it is, but we're shipping for Windows first.
It's impossible to explain why, before the software is released, but I try anyway in this DG message.
Steven Spencer: "The first time I used Napster was something of a lightning strike, an epiphany; something that shattered my notions and created new thoughts. The world's biggest radio station. Only you're the program director."
Brad Neuburg: "Oh yeah, if the scheduling programs traditional radio uses are so great, then why does commercial radio suck so much? There are millions of settings to help 'modulate the mood', but commercial radio has managed to flatten out music into nothing!"
Chuck Berry: My Ding A Ling.
We're in the last stages of preparing a new product for market. It's the next step in the development of Pike, which we released as a free public beta in March of this year.
The software works. I'm using it now. It does all the things that Pike did, but it does something new too.
Now, we can't call the software Pike, because there is already a scripting language with that name, and scripting, while hidden from the end-user, plays a big role in the product. I also think it's good to re-think the name, because it forces me to think about what this product is today and what it's likely to be in the future. A good name will make sense now and in the future.
So what does this unnamed product do? It's a personal radio station. Our software makes it easy for you to program music the way a DJ programs music (it's probably easier and more powerful than professional radio station software). Scroll through your music list, double-click on songs to add them to the queue. In the background, your servant, our software, is choosing songs from the queue and playing them.
You can also add a list of songs to the queue with a single menu command. (The user interface is outlining.) You can have as many lists as you want, but there is only one queue.
The software is also an HTTP server. You designate a folder that you want to share. Any playlists you put in that folder are available over the Web. Not the songs, we're not enabling MP3 sharing as Napster and others do. Just the playlists.
Think about this as an Intranet application. Music in business. An untapped market, but a huge one imho. (Hint to the music industry, businesses generally pay for copyrighted material.)
And this is also a www application, because there's interesting information in your playlist, especially when it's aggregated.
The aggregator is not online yet. When it opens you'll see our favorite songs, literally, the songs that are most loved by people at UserLand. But then we'll open it for everyone to register their favorite songs, it will recalc once a day. The format it reads is a simple XML format, easily produced by any scripting language on any platform. We want to know what other people are listening to. So you can share more than your playlists, you can contribute to a new rating system for music. Let's find out what Internet users like to listen to.
(BTW, all the playlists are XML too. Registration is handled through XML-RPC. Everywhere we've had a choice to be open or closed, we've chosen open. Our software is subject to competition. The user's data is not locked up in a proprietary format, quite the opposite.)
And of course it gets deeper, but let's not go there now. I'm still trying to figure out how to name this thing!
Here's why that's such a problem. Because all that I described is just an application of the product. A powerful application, for sure, and developed in record time because the platform is so rich. The key innovation is that all the power is hidden unless you want to see it. The software is as easy to use as a Web browser or Napster. To an end-user it's a simple way to edit a radio station, but to a developer, it can be much more, just lift the hood. It is a platform, and somehow the product positioning, if not its name, must reflect that.
And dare I say it, it's a platform for P2P applications, which is the rage in Silicon Valley. We took a long-term view in 1997, and made a bet that the market would swing to distributed applications. We invested where the venture capitalists didn't want to invest. While they were selling e-commerce apps to Wall Street, we were developing a powerful platform for P2P. Now that won't mean too much to end-users, and it's risky because the financial community is so flaky, and even though distributed apps are the way to go, I may not want to latch onto the bandwagon.
Anyway, I have to come up with a name soon. The software is almost ready to ship!
Rob Glaser, CEO of Real: "What Napster has done is create a benchmark on how easy the legitimate music experience has to be. It's gotta be pretty darn close to that easy."
Business Week's cover story is about Apple.
Steven Levy: "They went berserk. The tech press seconded their enthusiasm, and even some of the technosnobs at Slashdot.org, a Web site catering to aficionados of the Linux system, expressed outright lust for the newest new thing. It looks like the coolest-looking computer ever just might keep Steve Jobs and Apple sailing along—until the next product launch."
It's amazing that Levy can still get it up for 16-year old computer.
Salon: Eazel Does It. "The plan is to make money by getting Nautilus users to subscribe to add-on Eazel services -- things like software update notifications and Web-based data backups and storage."
News.Com: New Marimba CEO. "There's a whole new management team at this point, from research and development to business development, to the CEO to the CFO to the head of sales--it's all new people. It's a legitimate area of inquiry to ask what's happening there anytime you go through that many people that quickly."
NY Times: Amazon COO Splits for VerticalNet.
News.Com: "We're all two or three clicks away from something illegal or from something someone doesn't like."
Barry Frankel asks What if Bill Gates had been a music executive? I think Barry is an optimist about Gates. My own opinion, of course, ymmv. (Your mileage may vary.)
And there are some people who think that Gates already runs the music business. Jim Burger pointed out yesterday that the IT industry is an order of magnitude larger than the music industry. If it had been the other way around, we probably wouldn't have writeable CD drives.
Gary Robinson asks "Instead of arguing that Jeff Bezos is the spawn of the Devil, maybe it would make sense to see whether he'd be willing to license the affiliate patent or one-click patent for a nominal charge?"
There are a lot of frivolous patents, if we had to negotiate with each one, we'd spend all our time negotiating, lawyer to lawyer, and not spend time writing software.
Bezos and his brethren probably don't care because they don't practice any art, other than getting in the middle and stopping competitive businesses. There's no honor in that, imho. Spawn of the Devil? Maybe. Greedy? Yes, this is what greed means to me.
DaveNet: Do you know Stephen King?
News.Com: "We have a generation of computer jockeys that we've raised on Napster and MP3 who have gotten the idea, the mistaken idea, that everything in the store is free," King said. "And I'd like to see if we can't reeducate these people to the idea that the fruits of talent cost you money." Grrrr.
NY Times: King Novel Falls Short. "William Thornton, president of Radiant Ideas, which maintains www.stephenking.com, said that some visitors to the Web site objected to the intallment plan. He said that about a quarter of visitors to the Web site declined to download the chapter."
Steve Wozniak's comments on the King piece.
Beverly Hills Weekly: Should Napster be shut down?
Jim Burger: A Lawyer's Musings on Napster. Jim is a friend, an attorney who has been at the center of the issues around music, law and technology, as Apple's lawyer in Washington and later as part of the Secure Digital Music Initiative. He and I have been emailing, and I asked him to post his thoughts publicly. Thanks Jim!
Jimmy Guterman: Why Labels Should Love Napster. "Should the recording industry stop its attack, it will realize that Napster is giving the music business media attention and something it has desperately needed for years: a purpose on the Net."
Motley Fool: Does Napster Herald the Dark Ages?
News.Com: "'The music industry will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, oppose any foe to protect the integrity of their copyrights and the copyrights of their artists,' he said, borrowing excerpts from a speech by President John F. Kennedy." Too bad.
LA Times: Tech Talent Turns Tables on Labels. "In the biggest cultural and economic battle the entertainment industry has faced, record labels have managed to transform themselves into a creaky, fuddy-duddy playground that young techies view as the Lawrence Welk of today's music employers."
Todd Spangler: The Napster Mirage.
Ralph Hempel reports on imaging tools he uses.
Go.Com open sourced their content management tools.
Barry Frankel: "What if the monks who had spent their lives hand-copying bibles had tried to stop Gutenberg from printing bibles?"
I'm researching product names again, and my travels lead me to Purina's Cat Chow site, which is excellent, very respectful and clued-in. They start from a position that's supportable. We love cats. If you have one, here's the information you need to have good relationship with your cat. We like to complain about sites that suck, here's one that doesn't.
I'm looking for one or two people with Manila experience to help with the Napster weblog.
I spoke with Chuck Shotton yesterday, it had been a long time. His team is not working in Java now, they're using C++. Why? Java is not WORA anymore says Chuck. When did that change? I asked. A couple of weeks ago when Microsoft pulled it out of Visual Studio. I guess Chuck saw it coming?
Truckin: "What a long strange trip it's been."
Another moment of serendipity. Looking for "Where did the love go?" by Roberta Flack, I found "Where did our love go?" by the Supremes. Never heard of it. Downloaded it. And wow, it's an old Supremes favorite. "Baby baby ooh baby baby."
A couple of weeks ago, clicking on Bowie songs, I must have also decided to download his Little Drummer Boy duet with Bing Crosby. I'm listening to it in the middle of summer in California, far away from the time of this piece. "It's a pretty thing," Bing says. So true!
AP: Stephen King offers online novel. "It could be a scary venture for publishers, who were eliminated from the process in this latest cyberspace venture."
It almost goes without saying that I like this a lot. It's a route-around of the first order. Nuke the middlemen, like this one..
Wired interviews Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. "Patents are not intended for defensive purposes only. The intent of the system is to give innovators a window to recoup their research and development costs, 20 years from the date of filing or 17 years from the date of issue, whichever is longer."
Oh my god, there's a bug in King's process. He wants me to go to Amazon to pay for it. No way.
2/28/00: No More Pesos for Senor Bezos.
The last King book I read, Hearts in Atlantis, a remembrance of the 60s, with the usual King supernatural twist.
I could skip a Stephen King novel. If this is Hollywood's answer to Napster, try again.
One more thing.
"Ask not what the Internet can do for you.."
DaveNet: The Last Napster Sunday?
An addendum to today's piece, about Macster.
If you run Microsoft Outlook Express, download and install this patch. It protects your computer, it's very important.
NY Times: "Since the exit of John McCain, who managed to make campaign finance reform seem romantic, it's been hard to find real human passion anywhere but on a fictional TV drama. It's impossible to tell what George W. Bush and Al Gore really care about, besides not making mistakes."
Brad Pettit: The Issue is Honesty.
Keola Donaghy: Why haven't we heard from more artists?
WaSP: Open Letter to Netscape. If AOL wanted to be in the browser business wouldn't it be evident by now?
Another cooool Bryan Bell theme.
I finally got a new copy of ImageReady, it's bundled with PhotoShop. OK, stick the CD into the computer. It shows up on the desktop. Launch the app, click on PhotoShop.
"Prove that you have a valid copy," says the software. (I have a serial number ready, but that's not one of the options.)
They want me to find an installation on my hard drive. It's on the other computer, the one I'm going to erase and turn into a server. I show it to it. It's not happy.
No ImageReady. Call customer support for help. Oh sure. Like I have time for that. Hey, I paid for the software.
I just want to do some friggin screen shots.
Josh Allen sent me a .reg file, and says if I 2click it, Microsoft Paint will save GIFs and JPEGs. I held my breath, cursed Adobe three times, and 2clicked. Launch Paint. And voila, they're there. Now can they save? Yes, in a manner of speaking, esp if you like a green tint randomly smattered on everything.
AFAIK, neither Microsoft or Adobe have caught up with the Web. Sorry guys. You get 0 points each, and a negative 100 points for lack of teamwork. How could it be that a developer such as myself can't save a stinking GIF to a file on my local hard drive. It's 2000, not 1995. According to these companies, the Web likes green tints, or I didn't really pay for the software I paid for.
It's very late.
Blondie is singing to me tonight. "Dave, Dave, Dave, let's have some fun, I'm going to be your number one. The tide is high but I'm holding on, I'm going to be your number one."
New feature in our still unnamed playlist editor. Put the cursor on a song. Choose Google Search from the Playlist menu. A browser window opens with the results of the search. It almost always gives you the song lyrics as the first item. I've yet to stump Google. (Here's an example of a query.)
When the music industry comes to its senses, and decides to like their users again, they can make it up to us by shipping CDs with MP3s on them. Help the hardware industry transition to the new format. Sales will double. What a relief, we're not at war anymore.
Doc Searls: "Hold it right there. Don't move. Now put down the customer and step away from the marketplace."
BTW, we bought a sexy name for a new site we're working on. It'll live up to its name for sure. First we're going to tell it what our favorite songs are. Then we're going to make it easy for you to do the same. And your friends, and so on. Is it viral? Do people read charts? What's number one on Napster? No one knows, not even Napster. Let's find out!
Harry Chapin: "We both got what we asked for such a long long time ago."
A beautiful song about lost love.
Explanation: When I say "beautiful" it means it reached something inside me, resonated, and opened space for an emotional release. A fairly technical description for tears running down my face and a feeling of truth, resolution, relaxation, happiness.
A memory of young love, there's nothing more sweet, except perhaps the young love itself. Someone else had a similar experience, and at an emotional (ie real) level, it calls my own procedure, and I'm young again, in love with a fresh young woman (one my own age) and we're dancing, dreaming and loving; happy beyond anything I could imagine.
I think of the young people with Napster, what an incredible gift for them. I wonder if any of them are exploring the music of their parents' generation. If so, perhaps you can give us older folk pointers to music your generation creates that you think we'd like. But wait a few months, we're still exploring our youth, next I'll want to explore yours.
It's obvious. Napster was created by a young man, only 19 years old. What a privilege to have lived long enough to relish a revolution whose courage came from such a young man!
I just got an email from Joel Spolsky who has a new essay entitled Microsoft Goes Bonkers. I can't wait to read it.
"If you go too far up, abstraction-wise, you run out of oxygen. Sometimes smart thinkers just don't know when to stop, and they create these absurd, all-encompassing, high-level pictures of the universe that are all good and fine, but don't actually mean anything at all."
After reading all the way through, thanks for the kind words Joel. I forwarded a URL to a friend at Microsoft who does understand what you're saying. Now if they would listen to him.
Next Wednesday there's a good chance that Napster's servers will be shut down, or their service curtailed.
If so, then that's what was meant to be. Of course the IP issues are murky. But the application is so compelling, speaking for my generation, which controls the money in the music business, can't we find some way for everyone to be happy?
Music is about so much more than money. It provides context for humans to be loving and to share. Without music to write about, I'd have to inch up to the core questions, one slow step at a time,. What's common about our life patterns, how are we all alike? Every generation has to figure this out for itself, many times through our lifetimes. A vote for romance and glory. Music opens the door so wide.
Everything changed, again.
That's the Web philosophy, as concisely stated as I've ever seen it. Could the statement have been so concise if it had not been for Napster?
News.Com: "People who use Napster and other file-swapping networks to trade MP3 files are more likely to boost their music spending than those who don't use such services, according to a new study from Internet research firm Jupiter Communications."
Frontier 6.2.1 released. Change notes. A free upgrade to all with current subscriptions.
David Simms: Tales of Woz's Genius.
Jake Savin: "Most artists never make money from touring."
I just was interviewed by Wired magazine, they're doing a story on Philippe Kahn. I explained to the reporter what Turbo Pascal and Sidekick were. At one point I said, with a avuncular chuckle, "I feel as if you should be sitting on my knee as I tell the story." We both had a good laugh.
Dan Gillmor: "No one should have been surprised that Napster moved so quickly from the fringe to the middle, not in retrospect. Yet most of us didn't see it coming until it was already over, at least those of us over 25."
Linux.Com interviews Zope's Ethan Freeman. "We're an integrated environment, which has a lot of advantages if you work within the environment. It's strongly object-oriented, which means that it has a better chance at longevity than almost anything else out there, because if it's HTML objects today and SOAP objects tomorrow, it's still the same underlying platform."
Red Herring: Pop goes the Eazel. "I'd say we're quite a lot different than the latest online leather exchange."
I'm playing around with ideas for my own conference. We have a hotel in Palo Alto reserved for a full day in early October.
We can have as many as 500 people, I think; perhaps more. It'll cost money, and it won't be cheap (I want everyone to eat well, and have great audio visual stuff, lots of giveaways).
My working title for the conference is "Visionaries". People who really have a vision, something that they want everyone else to do, for fun, not to control them. If you speak at the conference you have to agree to a simple statement like that. If you can't well, maybe we can talk about that, on stage, in front of an audience.
Then I thought maybe it makes more sense to call it "Dave's Competitors 2000". Then in 2001 I'd have a conference with my competitors that year. This would encourage people to compete with me. It's tricky because it gives me what I really want, movement, progress, parachute-less plane jumping.
People are sending me ideas for people they'd like to have speak. Some really good ideas, like Phil Greenspun, Steve Wozniak, even Bill Gates. Your suggestions are welcome, self-nomination is OK too.
For me, today is one of the most exciting days in my software career. As I said yesterday, we're working on software that plays music. All you need is a folder with MP3s in it.
From there, we make it possible to build playlists by pointing and clicking, drag and drop. Where Napster's playlist is single-dimensional, ours is multi-dimensional. Now get this, I'm using it. And.. It's fantastic!
Crackerbox Palace: "We've been expecting you."
fantastic.com, fan-tastic.com, fan-tas-tic.com.
Why doesn't Microsoft's Paint accessory save as GIF or JPEG?
I see a big hole, Microsoft has a sub-menu of the Start menu called Microsoft Web Publishing. Why aren't there all kinds of goodies that real Web publishers use? Someone isn't paying attention here.
I'd give you a screen shot, but since Imageready doesn't work on W2K, can't do it today. Workin on it. (Microsoft missed an oppty to get me hooked on their tools, again.)
Wired: Applause for IE's Cookie Catcher. "The additions for Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser will describe cookies to the user and differentiate between first- and third-party cookies, Microsoft said. The browser will then let the user refuse third-party cookies."
Since my sites don't use any third-party cookies, and since I'd prefer if advertisers didn't know all my personal preferences, I applaud this move.
However, Microsoft has a split mind on this, as an email from an unnamed source within Microsoft indicates.
"Brad Chase and his team gave them an earful."
Fantastic insight into the innards of an 800-pound gorilla.
Screen shot of the Microsoft cookie feature.
Bryant Durrell started a thread on this topic.
Heather Champ has a neat page of mirror shots. She started with pictures of herself taken in a mirror. If I had a face as beautiful as hers, I would do the same.
She sent an email asking if I would submit my own picture for her collection; I had never thought of doing that! Of course. Always happy to oblige.
Cam: "If Microsoft wants to evangelize the .NET concept to the OSS community, then why didn't they have a booth? Why were there virtually no Microsoft representatives at the conference? I didn't see any at all."
Dave: "Microsoft Microsoft Microsoft. It's like reducing Europe to Heathrow. It is the biggest airport, for sure. So what."
We talk over each others' heads. This happened in the Mac community in the late 80s and early 90s. All the developers wanted to do deals with Apple. I had a different idea. Let's do deals with each other. It didn't work. I can't tell you how many times deals were killed just because some random Apple person called the other developer and said we'd prefer if you didn't work with each other. Deal over. In an instant.
Here's a Stanford website that describes the early history of the Macintosh.
I was searching for a symphony by Charles Ives, and instead I found folk songs by Burl Ives. My father used to have an album of Burl Ives folk songs when I was a very young child. So I 'm listening to Big Rock Candy Mountain right now, and it begins, "Oh the buzzing of the bees and the cigarette trees, the soda water fountain. Where the lemonade springs and the bluebird sings in that big rock candy mountain."
Now anyone who's worked with me knows I always type "Oh the buzzing of the bees, and the sycamore trees, a soda water fountain" where most developers type "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country."
When you're working on writing tools, that's how you test them. You always need a phrase to test with.
Now I knew they were the lyrics to an old song from my deep past, but I honestly never thought I'd hear it again.
Next song, Goober Peas! Peas peas peas peas peas, nothing so delicious, eating Goober Peas!
I think it was my favorite song when I was three years old, if you can believe that.
Moral of the story. Kids are silly, therefore they like silly songs. Good news, my three year old is still in there and he's still silly. He's laughing right now. A happy kid. That's cool.
("op" stands for "outline processor".)
These verbs serialize and de-serialize outlines, in a new format called outlineDocument.
It's also the format we're using to serialize Scripting News.
We also started an archive of the outlines. Starting today, there's a place to get back issues of Scripting News in outlineDocument format.
Also, if you have comments on the spec, please reply to this discussion group message.
My new machine arrived. I'm running it now. So far so good. I haven't yet experienced its fastness. I expect that to happen when I run some scripts. Now it just seems like a new empty machine, I have to get all my software set up.
As we installed the new machine, I said to Bierman, pointing to stacks of CDs that cost thousands of dollars, "I wish I could just throw these in the trash." Not yet, but sooon, I hope.
I also switched to DSL, the T1 is now dangling in space, a safety net in case the DSL is too flaky to use. DSL is slower, but a lot cheaper. It now takes approx 20 seconds for me to save my outline on the server, where it used to take about two.
Another difference, I'm running Windows 2000 on my desktop. Unfortunately ImageReady doesn't work on this OS, there's a new release I still have to get. So don't expect new images on Scripting News until that outage clears.
BTW, it's a Dell. We eventually made contact with them at a professional level. We had been buying from the "wrong part" of Dell, they said. Now we buy from the right part. I still have no idea what that means, except that when there are problems they fix them. That's all I can ask for I guess, except I wanted the same for Scripting News readers, but they had no idea what I was talking about
A very crude benchmark of the performance of the machine, probably only meaningful to Frontier people.
As if that wasn't silly enough, here's another crude test.
Mountain: Mississippi Queen.
A gritty down-home Louisiana hard rocker.
CD ROM burners at Internet cafes around the world. Napster. Fast net connection. Per-hour fee. Tunes to go.
(Now that I'm on DSL I'm coming up with ideas on how to rent bandwidth. I think there may be such a thing as virtual bandwidth. If the net result is I don't wait for something to happen, I can make DSL work for me. I think this is an important point. For this reason I'm glad I have a slower net connection. It'll make my software better. Yeah I already totally hate it. I'm just saying this to try to make me like it more.)
Just so you know, we're working on a music player program. It's got a really neat bug. It's possible to play two songs at once. Right now I'm listening to Hey Jude overlayed on 10CC's I'm Not In Love. I've never heard anything like it. I think I like it.
It's even worse than I thought. I had two copies of 10CC running, out of synch with each other. So there were echoes that were hard to pick up. I found this out when I shut down one of the players. There was still a copy playing.
Paul Nakada sent a pointer to The Tactile12000, a "3-D, interactive simulation of a DJ setup - two turntables and a mixer. You can crossfade, backspin, and speed up and slow down music, including full-length WAVE and MP3 songs, on your computer."
Edd Dumbill released a new beta of XML-RPC for PHP.
Wes traces the history of Unix with an ironic twist.
Why not take PythonWorks 1.0.1 for a test drive?
In tomorrow's NY Times, a letter to the editor with an idea that I've heard from a (nameless) former music industry exec.
"Recording companies and publishers could produce virus-laden versions of their copyrighted material for less-than-legitimate distribution sources on the Internet."
It's a good thing it's technically impossible; I believe they would do it if they could.
News.Com: Movie studios sue Scour. "The lawsuit is sure to send waves through Hollywood. High-profile agent Michael Ovitz, who has represented many of the movie industry's top stars and has helped shift the balance of power between actors and studios, is one of the leading investors in Scour."
Christoph Pingel says Rapster really works. Mac only.
NY Times: "Tens of thousands of aspiring rock stars are happily using the technology to give their music away -- and more than a few are beginning to see some payoff."
News.Com interviews RIAA chief Hilary Rosen. "Innovation is certainly here to stay. Peer-to-peer is here to stay. There are lots of interesting uses for it. But I do think that the people who want to commercialize it have an obligation to help develop those business models. I don't think it should always be our obligation to come and hit someone on the head and say, 'Hi, remember us? We're making the stuff that your people want to use your great technology for.'"
TechWeb: Software industry feels threatened by Napster. "Jack Krumholtz, Microsoft's director of federal government affairs and associate general counsel, told a congressional panel that the threat of software piracy and revenue losses as a result of software being swapped via technology like Napster is real and is a concern for Microsoft and the industry at large."
AP: Bertelsmann buys CDNow for $117 Million. "For CDNow, the deal ends a search for a merger partner that began in March when a deal with the direct-sales music club Columbia House fell apart. CDNow has suffered the fate of many Internet companies this spring, seeing its stock tumble to a fraction of its offering price as investor enthusiasm dwindled."
More links on The Napster Weblog.
On the decentralization mail list, Lucas Gonze asked if P2P was just hype, or is there any substance to the idea of running a server on your desktop?
I believe there is substance, and explained as follows.
It's the joy of running a server. (Without the pain.)
The first joy is watching the hits come in and wondering who all those people are.
In Napster the hits don't come very fast, it takes a long time for most people to download a song. It's cool because you can really ponder who the person is. And even better, you can ask them! (Napster has integrated chat, most web servers don't, a shame.)
I recognize this as a meditation I used to do with WebSTAR. I'd sit down in front of the server (it was in a different room) and watch the log scroll, wondering who these people are, coming from so far away, or from powerful companies, reading some obscure howto on the Frontier site, or whatever. It's the other side of writing, watching people surf your site. A very small percentage of us have had the oppty to do this, but what a useful meditation it is.
The other cool thing about running a server, that Napster does not address, is the convenience of editing content. On my old Mac server (now long gone) I used to entertain my friends by opening the home page of my site in BBEdit. I'd change a word, press Cmd-S, and then refresh the web browser. "That's easy!" my friend would say, yes, it's almost magical. Instead of 18 steps to update your site, or even 3, it's 1. There's no more convenient way to edit for the Web than to have a server on your machine. Then it's a small matter to have the changes percolate up when you want to disconnect.
We're adapting Pike to that model now.
CamWorld reports from the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in Monterey CA. "Surprisingly there is very little extended discussion about Microsoft and their .NET initiative. Part of me chalks this up to it being a very open source kind of crowd who learned a long time ago how to live without Microsoft and their products. Another part of me thinks it's because Microsoft is purposely being very vague about the whole concept and people aren't willing to make any bets on it yet."
Cam, I have a different theory. I offered to come talk about Dot-Net. Never got a response. Something else is going on there. My theory is that Open Source is a world unto itself, like the Mac, or Windows, or CORBA; and not open to ideas that come from outside their community. (See Tim Bray's comment, below.)
There are some great minds behind that firewall, and if it were truly open to new ideas there would be a mission that would tie all the work together in ways with great meaning for users. I had hoped that by now we'd all be working together on such a mission.
Cam, please keep the reports coming, try to go a little deeper if you can, ask questions about the larger world, see if there's an idea for what Open Source will mean to users, not just to developers. And if you don't hear it there, my best advice, based on a lot of years in this business, is to broaden your horizons beyond the limits of the Open Source community.
PS: I'm sure my friends at Microsoft are having a good chuckle about this. All the time we were developing SOAP I was telling them that I hoped to get the Open Source world to come eat their lunch. Ha ha!
PPS: More thoughts in the DG.
"Open Source may be great but it's not imaginative.
"All OSSers do is take ideas that have already proven to be useful and workable (Unix, Web servers, programmable text editors, SOAP) and re-implement them with a different (arguably better) engineering process.
"For the OSS community, ignoring .NET is a sensible approach because: (a) it's too hard to understand what .NET is, and (b) OSS only reacts to actual software, not vaporous statements of direction, and (c) if it turns out that parts of it work, then someone will get around to rebuilding those parts on OSS lines."
The Open Source world seems so far away from the Mac world, where the color of your CPU is a fashion statement.
BTW, there must not be many Mac developers at the Open Source Convention, since MacWorld Expo is going on right now in New York.
AP: Taco Bell replaces CEO, and Chihuahua too. "The Chihuahua has faded from ads in recent months as Taco Bell decided to focus on its low-price menu items. Second-quarter results released Tuesday showed sales at Taco Bell restaurants open for at least a year dropped 6 percent."
5/6/98: "The dog is cool, and Taco Bell owns him, for a while. Then some ad guy at some agency realizes that he could get a dog too and that dog could eat dog food and like all dogs that we love, the dog farts. Yay!"
I'll miss you, my little Mexican friend!
Upside: "Companies like UserLand Software, which develops content management software for Web publishers, have perfected systems for easy upgrades: with UserLand's Frontier, the user simply clicks on 'Update' in a menu."
This reminds me of a story. In 1983, I got a call from a fact-checker for NY Times' columnist William Safire. He was doing a column on words the computer industry had introduced into the English language. I found out later that Safire is considered authoritative on these matters.
They wanted to verify that I had coined the term "laptop", since I had the first usage of the term in an article I co-authored with my brother in Byte. I said no, I didn't invent the term, I had heard it used by Esther Dyson. I still got a mention in the column, but what if I had just said yes? So many other people would have, I learned later in my career.
Anyway, in that spirit, I decided we should have one-click updates after seeing a demo of Windows 98, which had the feature. So credit for inventing this, as far as I'm concerned, goes to Microsoft. On the other hand, we're doing more of this kind of stuff in future products, as you can see people really like easy updating. (Me too!)
Another BTW, it got even easier in 6.1. You just click a checkbox in the Control Panel, and updates happen automatically around midnight local time.
Yesterday I threw in the towel, and decided to go crazy with everyone else. P2P all the way!
However, it's not about P2P, specifically, that people should be getting excited. It's the realization that there's a lot more than a dumb terminal and a dumb human at the end of the net connection.
We're not just eyeballs, we create stuff too. And the PCs are powerful things, capable of doing much more than being an HTML browser and MP3 player. I'm getting a new machine any day now that runs at 900Mhz and has a 70+ gigabyte hard drive. Today's machines are marvels of power, much of it untapped.
It's quite possible to use the Internet to store user-authored stuff, with no compromise to anyone's intellectual property, and for those applications, having a central server is kinder to the Internet. Don't misunderstand, I *love* the idea of a distributed Internet, but you still have to have common resources. Servers are still important.
Evhead is blissing out on AppleSoup P2P crap. "Supposedly, they're going to take the concept of Napster and incorporate payment schemes so people can do legitimate copying. But then what is the point of the peer-to-peer thing? If I'm going to pay for content, I want to download it from a server with a high speed connection -- not from some random person's PC, who might go offline at any moment."
Oh the bliss of enlightenment. The problem is two-fold. Evan has a brain, and integrity.
What was ZDNet? I was confused. It's a remnant of Ziff-Davis, one of the pioneers of the PC era, however some of the magazines are not part of ZDNet.
Tucker Goodrich: "CNET is buying all of Ziff-Davis, except for the tradeshow business, which will be spun-off to ZD shareholders. CNET is also buying ZDNet, which is the Internet businesses of ZD, and is 83.9% owned by ZD. the remainder of ZDNet is publicly traded."
Tim Bray: "Looks to me like the interesting part of that story is that Seybold is independent again, if I read it correctly."
As far as I'm concerned, neither publication broke out of the mold of the computer industry press. Their articles are often quotable, and helpful for breaking news, but they usually get just soundbites, and rarely go deeper than the surface.
Wired: Why CNET bought ZDNet.
Earlier today I ran a survey here asking if people could get through to MacInTouch. I couldn't get through, but most other people could.
Even so, Apple's hardball tactics with independent journalists are not welcome. In the big picture a company's supposed right to keep its products secret is not a publicly guaranteed right comparable with the right to free speech.
Given a choice, I'd prefer to know what MacInTouch thinks; I have little regard for company press releases.
BTW, Apple enthusiasts can be really tough. They get so personal so quickly. Their efforts to keep people intimidated backfire, they drive us away. FYI, there is foundation for believing Apple plays hardball with independent journalists. Imho, this is a much bigger story than more megahertz, or a new mouse or keyboard or form factor.
For Apple news I recommend AppleSurf.
Emailing with Woz today about Napster, I said "The Mac is behind in this area. We must help Napster get their Mac version working. Think of all the musicians that use Macs. They don't know how cool it is."
He said: "There is Macster. My son uses it but I had horrible problems one night. I'd create an account and the password I created would be declared incorrect when I tried to log on, except for two times. I haven't tried it this week, but I'll give them another chance soon."
Right now the O'Reilly Open Source Convention is going on in Monterey, CA. Are you there? It's been very quiet, haven't seen any reports. If you're there, please post a report on the discussion group and I'll link to it tomorrow. What's going on? Tell us more. Tell us something. Or don't.
MSNBC: A New Email Vulnerability. Sounds bad, you don't have to open the email to get infected. Microsoft Outlook is the hole. What about Outlook Express?
News.Com has more details.
Don McArthur sheds light on the new exploit. Read the last paragraph for his conclusion about its seriousness.
It was only March that the leading edge in our little part of the world was the Web Application concept. Manila is a Web application, I moderated a panel at Esther's with Web Apps from a handful of companies.
Now a new door is open and Web Apps are going to show up on the desktop in the form of P2P apps. (I've decided to go ahead and use the buzzword.)
The doors that's open, interestingly, is Napster. I downloaded a new version today, this one visibly uses the HTML renderer that's baked in. Now we just have to figure out where they store the URLs (or ask them to make it configurable) and voila, we have a way to integrate with other apps running anywhere, including the desktop. A whole Internet, in a remarkably voluted (as opposed to convoluted) whole, entirely within a single machine. Very cool.
Note, the integration of HTML rendering in Napster is hugely important. It's a popular platform, and it bridges into the legacy in an elegant way. Smart.
News.Com: MP3Board countersues RIAA. They're not doing anything that AOL isn't already doing. Why doesn't RIAA sue AOL? That would be interesting. There are lots of Time-Warner subsidiaries on the RIAA member list. (AOL will even store the MP3s it finds in a free three gigabyte "locker".)
The Nation: It's Only Rock and Roll and the Kids are Alright.
John Perry Barlow: "Speaking as someone who has created a lot of intellectual property, I can assure you that my primary incentive was the possibility that what passed through my heart would be heard. I want it to be available to my great grandchildren. But they will never hear it unless it's stored in some other medium than the material objects the record industry manufactured, all of which will be as mute as stones by then."
Salon (1/19/99): Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: Bowie loves MP3. "Of course a lot of artists are absolutely terrified by the idea, but I love it because I love process. To me, the end result is not nearly as interesting as the process of getting involved in something."
LA Times: "It's a Hail Mary shot that few executives believe will work."
LA Times: "The 46-year-old executive is sick of corporate bureaucrats compromising the industry's future by obstructing online initiatives and tying the hands of entrepreneurs who are trying to figure out how to compete on the Web. If the industry doesn't get moving and start making music transactions easy online, he says, it will soon relinquish control of a valuable distribution channel to innovative upstarts such as Napster."
About.Com has a list of MP3 search engines.
The Phoenix Trap is a Philadelphia rock band with a Manila site. Imho, they're the vanguard of the new way.
ZDNet: "We don't need Napster anymore," said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of culture and communication at New York University. "There are enough other file sharing systems out there to make it irrelevant."
Standard: Why Jim Clark Likes Microsoft.
InfoWorld: Microsoft Casts its .NET.
AppleInsider has a picture of what they claim is the Apple cube. I still like the Cobalt Qube. It's prettier, and it comes without the attitude. (As of 5:52PM, AppleInsider is not responding. If one were paranoid, one might think Apple's lawyers had something to do with it.)
Reading AppleSoup's press release, I wondered if there's a connection betw P2P and Push Technology. "These technical advances allow content owners to control, distribute and even sell their content via AppleSoup’s extremely scalable and viral peer-to-peer network." Oh it's not push, it's viral. I get it.
Maybe Dave Sims' friend works at AppleSoup?
Today we're rolling out a new weblog with news and ideas for Napster fans, musicians and developers.
This site is commited to intelligent and thoughtful discussion, learning and sharing. If there are problems we want to solve them. We share a love of music, and the new medium of the Internet and music.
We are not pirates, we don't want something for nothing. But we want the economics of music to be fair, we want professional and artistic relationships, and abhor the legal battleground that music has become.
(There are no MP3s on this site.)
Tell your friends that there's now an independent source of news about music on the Internet. We'll cover it all, with your help. We also provide an easy way for musicians and fans to start their own sites. The Web and music were meant to be together, now we take the next step.
Let's have fun!
NY Times: "Everybody is in favor of the First Amendment," Leahy said. "But we'd have a hell of a time ratifying it today."
ZDNet: "If the MPAA succeeds in its lawsuit, the ability of Web sites to link to other information -- arguably the most valuable feature of the Web -- could be curtailed."
Leon Russell: Back to the Island. (No lyrics on Google.)
"The time has past for living in a dream world, lying to myself, wondering if you love me, or just making a fool of me. Well I just hope you understand I had to go back to the island."
Milwaukee Journal: "Manila, the software application behind the burgeoning EditThisPage and Weblogs.com sites, requires no downloading or uploading. It's completely browser-based. You can create, update and edit your blog anywhere you can find a computer, be it school, the library or Mom's house."
Lucas Gonze has started the decentralization mail list to discuss subjects related to P2P, Napster, Gnutella, and distributed computing.
Jesse Berst: "It's called the simple object access protocol (SOAP), and it will be one of the key structures of the new Internet." (Another Big Companies Rule Cyberspace article. Boring, predictable, corrupt, incorrect.)
Inside.Com: "Though Napster's venture-capitalist barkers are still confidently whistling to themselves as the company strolls toward a July 26 appointment with Judge Marilyn Hall Patel in federal court in San Francisco, it is becoming ever more apparent that Napster will enter that courtroom armed with little more than breezy bromides about new paradigms and breakthrough technologies. There they will meet an army of grim-faced recording industry lawyers, laden with an arsenal of devastating conventional legal weaponry, ready, willing and able to space-shift Napster into oblivion."
Today's inessential.com. Browser vendors take note.
HJ Bosch has a neat browser-based outliner that reads Scripting News.
Wired: EMI Gets Down With Downloads. "The company said it was testing the demand for its music by releasing works of Joe Cocker, Frank Sinatra, and the Steve Miller Band in Liquid Audio and Windows Media Audio formats. If all goes well, EMI will release more albums until its entire library is available."
Reuters: Senators deluged with email from fans. "Two Washington lawmakers had received a combined 70,000 e-mails as of Monday mainly from fans of digital music swapping after an appeal for support by online music companies Napster Inc. and MP3.com."
WSJ: Web piracy hits Hollywood. "Thanks to two pieces of software, high-quality digital movies, available on a variety of Web sites, can be stored in 10% to 20% of the space that had been required just six months ago."
O'Reilly: Mac OS X Brings Unix Stability to the Mac.
I talked with Susan Kitchens over the weekend, and asked if she was into Napster, she said "I use a Mac" and I groaned.
Never mind. Susan started a Macster weblog, let's figure out how to get Mac users going. There's no time like now!
Lots of interesting posts on the Napster discussion group.
I'm not going to flip the home page of the Napster site until tomorrow, give early adopters a chance to get the big picture without confusion.
It's a static site, so it's built to scale.
We're talking on a hourly basis with execs at Napster, and with people from the technology and music industry, including artists.
We hope to get linked in where music, fans and artists gather. I'll keep you posted on how it goes, of course.
Last night I emailed with Steve Wozniak, one of the pioneers of digital technology, educator, a supporter and investor in music, and an active Web developer.
He said: "After reading one of your DaveNets I emailed Roger McGuinn with supporting comments and he's offered to come visit and help with my class, where I'm engaging 8th graders in skeptical inquiries into the whole topic."
He continued: "I have worries about the new not turning out better than the old."
Me too. "I imagine that many of the artists must be terrified of what's happening now. It seems we're a junction when some love could ease a lot of fear. Also, let's make sure the money stays in the business, but that it's distributed more fairly. Your smiling face and good nature could make a big difference."
Steve and I are going to meet later this month, and in early August we're going to Shoreline, where he has a box, to hear BB King and Sting. (I'll bring my camera of course.)
A List Apart has a major anti-weblog rant.
My anti-rant. Can you imagine writing a piece about how bored you are? Take a vacation, try Don's Amazing Puzzle, go for a walk, see a movie, sit under a bridge, play the trance game (see below). It's not that bad.
These pieces always look at the same sites. There are lots of weblogs that cover specific areas, and do it seriously, and are quite useful. (Hint, many of the sites in the left margin are pretty interesting.)
Kate Adams explains why she does her weblog, which I read every day. I read it because I am interested in many of the same things she is. Pretty simple.
The curmudgeon who teaches statistics says "It's your civic duty to run a weblog," something that I heartily agree with.
Manila: How to share a membership group. "Perhaps you're building an intranet with Manila. You might create lots of sites, and give each department in your company control over their own site."
NY Times: "The patent affords the company the right to exclude or to license others in that industry with respect to the patented business model."
Thanks for all the creative trances posted yesterday.
Now the trail gets even weirder. Why were there no women in the picture? What story pops into your mind?
Share your dream with us. The more fantastic the better.
Then as if by magic, a woman appears in the scene.
PS: If you like this trance stuff, check out this site. Lots of exercises you can do to stretch the pov muscles.
PPS: Another pov experiment, look at the split on yesterday's TLD survey.
PPPS: Don't forget Don's Amazing Puzzle.
It's like a basic black dress, simple, but still offers a chance to express individual style.
Themes are cool. They're simple but still offer a chance to express individual style.
I stumbled across a press release that UserLand ran for SOAP's submission to W3C on 5/9/00.
There is a companion quote sheet.
Taken together or separately, the quotes provide different but valid ways to look at Dot-Net, through the filters of independent (ie non-Microsoft) developers, in content management, writing tools and open source. Each of them offers an opportunity for follow-up, a deeper investigation, exposure of new ideas. This world is bristling with them.
So far, these points of view have not been reflected in the general press.
A distant memory. There was a time when the press reported on the lack of Mac developers as a major liability for Apple, but never talked about Mac developers. In other words they were reporting on their filters, nothing deeper.
A similar thing is going on now. Like VCs, the press mostly writes what their competitors write. Fortune reporters read Business Week; ZDNet reads News.Com. This can make it non-fluid, it's hard for different ideas to circulate or mingle. What if Dot-Net is both a Microsoft and open source story? (It is.)
Is there room for curveballs like SOAP, which is also supported by Sun? How do you explain that? I haven't seen any stories on this, other than the initial one at News.Com, which was pretty superficial.
Dot-Net is a curveball. It doesn't fit it into one of the standard templates, that's why the press is having so much trouble with it. (BTW, Microsoft has a terrible track record for creating sticky visions in the minds of the press. It's a meta-story for sure, but more to the point than most of the coverage.)
Dot-Net is even broader than it might seem. P2P, which is the rage in VC-land is the same thing. As are Napster and Gnutella. They all use incompatible payload formats, but the concepts of distributed computing, fractional horsepower HTTP servers, and leveraging the desktop are same elements that make up Dot-Net.
Also, don't miss the importance of Web Apps. Dual interfaces, both browser-based and tool-based are essential. I want to update my site whether I am using a public terminal or writing at my desktop. This goes back to Gates's statement at Davos that the desktop is still central. So true. But so is the browser.
I have them too.
Why don't I devote more energy to MattG's music site?
It's always the top item on this list.
Sting: "If you want to hold onto your possession, don't even think about me. If you love somebody, set them free."
Queen: "This thing called love, I just can't handle it."
Falco: "Babe, you know, I miss my funky friends, wie meint: Jack und Joe und Jill."
Washington Post: "The station is the first to pick up and move everything--deejays, music, commercials--from an over-the-air frequency to the Internet."
Prediction: Scripting News will be a radio station in a year.
Cringely: "The FBI, through the use of Carnivore, is trying to grab a little more power."
He suspsects a devious plan. We don't know what's inside Carnivore. He postulates that it's a way for the US government to shut down the Internet in the US, in case of national emergency, presumably. A hook for fascism?
Webzine 2000 is on the 22nd in SF.
DaveNet: The revolution will not be televised.
Gil Scott-Herin: The revolution will not be televised.
Tom von Alten says that to say Ballmer was fatherly at the Dot-Net rollout is a subjective impression, and I agree. It goes without saying, imho.
I look at a picture and see one thing, everyone else sees something entirely different. Every impression comes from a point of view.
In fact I think all human debates, when reduced to their core, revolve around this simple idea: my point of view is valid.
It is. Two words that spell relief. You can relax, no matter what other people say, every point of view is just as valid as any other. (Even if others don't recognize it.)
Really try to be honest, what do you see in the picture? How are these people relating to each other? Are they aware that there's an audience? How do they feel? And how does this make *you* feel?
The more fantastic the better.
I was interviewed this morning by NHK, a Japanese radio network, for a special they're doing on business process patents. Here's a summary of what I said.
We need competition. With business process patents there will be no competition. Businesses should win based on superior service, performance, and timeliness of their products. Monopolies are bad for competition, even in mature markets. To grant legal monopolies in an industry that is in its defining stages, is to kill the industry.
Further, as in the music industry, the software industry has too many middlemen. By allowing legal monopolies, lawyers will take over the high tech industry, and product developers, such as Stallman and myself, will find it impossible to create new products without designing them in conjunction with lawyers. This phenomenon can already be seen in the WAP market.
Another point, any country that provided a free innovation zone, would attract developer talent from around the world. It would be wise for Japan to adopt a patent system that is substantially different from that of the US and Europe, if only to provide an incentive for developers to locate there, and to give an advantage to developers already in Japan.
Wired: It's time for carnivore spin. "It plugs into a hub in passive listening mode. All the traffic in the hub goes through this thing," says an aide who attended the closed-door briefing. "As (communications) comes in, the (software) looks through the traffic and if it looks like the filter criteria, it goes to a Jaz drive."
Carnivore: "Any of various predatory, flesh-eating mammals of the order Carnivora, including the dogs, cats, bears, weasels, hyenas, and raccoons."
Dan Gillmor is at the ICANN meeting in Japan.
They're talking about new top-level domains, or TLDs. The current TLDs are com, net, org, edu, gov, mil, uk, de, to, etc. They want to add a lot more. Why? Is it safe to ignore them? Is anyone asking for them? Is it a big feature request?
Survey: Should we have more TLDs?
AppleInsider: Sources reveal rumored Macintosh Cube.
This site is served from a Cobalt Qube. (Created by ex-Apple engineers.)
Mary Jo Foley: "Microsoft's partners, customers, competitors, not to mention Microsoft itself, all seem to be floundering in terms of being able to articulate what Microsoft .Net is and what it will do."
It depends on who you listen to.
I don't know which partners, customers and competitors she's referring to, but UserLand, which is a California corporation, with thousands of users, shareholders, employees, offices, press releases, publications, in other words, everything that could possibly qualify as a real company, has articulated the Dot-Net vision, not only in prose, but in software.
Microsoft is confused, so it is spreading a confusing message, but at least they're trying to figure it out. The press has its pinky in the corner of its mouth, complaining that this is More Microsoft Megalomania, or whatever, failing to realize that the vision for Dot-Net came from outside of Microsoft.
As it always does. Doug Engelbart and Ted Nelson didn't work for Microsoft (or IBM, which was the Microsoft of their day). The bucaneers who developed the original Macintosh didn't work at Microsoft. And Tim Berners-Lee, who created this powerful medium, didn't work at Microsoft.
Let's face it (as Michael Miller might say) Bill Gates is a newbie at the vision thing. He's mastered the distribution side of the business. All the ideas that have fueled Microsoft's growth came from outside. That's why you're seeing floundering, because you're looking to Gates to explain it, and articulating vision is not Bill Gates's thing.
One of the reasons I write (not the only one) is that there's no other way to get these ideas out. If the press would do their jobs, then guys like me, who love to develop new walkie-talkie sets, could spend all our time making it work, and then doing verison 2.0, 3.0 and so on.
I've known Dan Farber, the editor in chief of ZDNet, for a long time, going back to when he was one of the founding editors of MacWorld. I spoke with him yesterday. He says I should work it out with Cooper.
Get real Dan. I'm an accomplished software developer, with a strong track record. Start there. I'm not going to debate the wording of the intro of a single DaveNet piece. He made his comment, I made the correction, it should have ended right there.
Instead, I'd prefer if you would thoughtfully study my work, evaluate it on the basis of what I really do. That's how the conversation should begin. If, then, you don't like what I'm doing, or if you have questions, I'll be happy to talk.
Last year I asked DaveNet readers to talk about what it means to them. Jesse Berst, a ZDNet columnist said: "I appreciate the value of Dave's pioneering contributions to my profession."
Thanks! Let's work both sides. Let's make the software work, and the writing too. Microsoft can help, for sure; so can ZDNet.
Maybe UserLand will disappear, no longer needed (in bootstrap fashion), or maybe this is the beginning of a new direction where our industry lives up to the UserLand name.
All my life I've been hearing this question.
I've always been puzzled by it, because it's not really a question, it's a feature request.
I am who I am, get to know me, it's pretty much what you see is what you get.
Clay Shirky: Freedom, one song at a time.
"Napster, the wildly popular software that allows users to trade music over the Internet, could be shut down later this month if the Recording Industry Association of America gets an injunction it is seeking in federal court in California."
"The most important freedom Napster has spread across the music world is not freedom from cost, but freedom of choice."
Excellent piece! He explains why Napster is so powerful. It's serendipity. A search engine. One song at a time.
Browsing the WinAmp site, I checked out the Search page. Looked for Joan Osborne. Found several songs. Clicked on one of them. It downloaded and opened in Windows Media Player. Save As. 2clicked the file. Yeah! I'm listening to What if God Was One of Us?
Hey wait a minute. Isn't that what Napster does? Ummm, one more thing. AOL owns Time-Warner, and they're part of RIAA. Now something doesn't work here. Does that mean AOL is going to sue itself? (AOL owns WinAmp.)
Hey Lars! Check this out. They have Metallica. Go get em!
When Dan Bricklin released the antique VisiCalc, he noted that its 27K size was about the same as a GIF in a Web page. It's worth noting that Frontier 6.2, at 3.3MB, is slightly larger than Respect, and about 1/3 the size of Hey Jude.
Matt Johnson of TheThe, goes electronic. "New technology, both in cheap, high quality recording equipment and the tremendous potential of the Internet, mean that it's possible for musicians to fund their own recordings, own their own copyrights, distribute their own music and control their own careers. The audience will begin to deal with the artist direct and the middle men will be cut down to size."
Tom Ehrenfeld: "The digital distribution of songs won't change the fundamentals of the business. It might accelerate the core qualities of the music business, but in the digital marketplace, consumers will still turn to record labels for guidance."
Another freshly installed app.
I noticed that Gnutella plays its MP3s using WinAmp. Does it have a COM interface? How do they communicate?
Motley Fool: Yahoo plays, AOL gets Real. "The Microsoft-Netscape browser war, rather than having been definitively won or lost, has merely moved to a different battlefield, a different platform."
Dan Gillmor: "What, I asked, if Coca-Cola decides to prevent anyone else from creating a Coke-related domain using one of the new TLDs by registering the obvious ones itself?"
John VanDykis working on sub-templates and multiple templates for Manila sites.
Did you notice the header on Google today? Smart.
Boston Globe: McGuinn sees promise of digital music.
Brad Pettit explains the differences between Napster and MP3.Com.
ZDNet: Undocumented Napster Secrets.
Comments about a weird column by ZDNet's Charles Cooper.
What's the strange device on top of this car?
AP: Microsoft teams up with EMI. "Unlike the popular MP3 digital audio format, the Windows Media format generally has higher quality playback while taking up less storage memory. Also, Microsoft's copyright-management software has made points with record labels."
News.Com: "One new feature in Exchange, called Web Store, culls semi-structured data, such as Web pages, Word document files, and voice and email data, in a new file system tuned for easy searching. The system, called EXIFS, runs on Windows 2000."
XML.Com: Visual Basic and SOAP.
Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.
Jimmy Cliff: The Harder They Come.
TheStreet: Content lives to see the end of its heyday. "Did payroll go through? Great. Got to get back to our booth."
US Senate: Witness List for Tuesday's hearing.
BBC: "Chart-topping band The Corrs have joined the international campaign to outlaw music piracy on the internet."
Alphanumerica: On Friday August 18th, Alphanumerica and mozilla.org are sponsoring the Second Mozilla Developer Meeting at Netscape's campus in Mountain View.
Wired: Ballmer Bombs on Keynote.
O'Reilly interviews the editor of FuckedCompany.Com.
News.Com: Oracle's Inside Story. "I asked him if he wanted me to leave," Lane said in a series of interviews with CNET News.com this week.
News.Com: Recording industry calls Napster defense "baseless". "The brief reiterates the industry's appeal to the court to pull all major-label content off Napster while the two sides move into what could be a lengthy trial. That would effectively close Napster's digital doors for months, an eventuality the young company is desperately trying to avoid."
I sent an email to Senators Hatch and Leahy tonight.
A feature in Napster I never noticed.
First, search for an artist you like. Sort by user. Find a user with lots of songs in the search results. Select one of the songs. (Screen shot.)
Click on Add User to Hotlist, in the lower-right corner of the search window. Click on the Hot List tab. Click on the user. Voila, a list of all the songs that user likes. (Screen shot.)
Primitive collaborative filtering, primitive browsing. Should be quite powerful.
Are there any other key features I'm missing?
The Gnutella developer talks about distributed profiteering, an idea that becomes clear from browsing member collections as described above. Each music collection is the starting point for a whole Web, with discussions, lyrics, pointers to other sites, more music, and who knows what. Each of these sites acts as a distributor, and why not put some money into the mix, flowing it back down the chain to the originating artists. His verbal testimony on Tuesday was not that clear, so I just spoke with him on the phone to verify that I understood the idea. Interesting.
PS: I got another email from Gene today!
Washington Post: Senators threaten to force music licensing.
Inside.Com watched Tuesday's Senate testimony too, and heard Utah Senator Orrin Hatch lecture the music industry on their attempt to control music on the Internet.
"Chairman Hatch threatened -- in surprisingly direct terms -- to force the music labels and publishers, by legislation, to make their content digitally available for a standard fee if the record business continued to ensnarl e-music with lawsuits."
Also testifying was eMusic CEO, Gene Hoffman.
What a character! He speaks like a radio announcer, a little Rush Limbaugh-ish, and at first I was right there with him, then he started talking some VC-speak, and I had no idea what he was saying. Then it got even worse, he started trashing Napster.
The MP3.Com guy did it right. Yes it must piss him off that Napster did what he didn't dare, and for now at least, is getting away with it, swamping his efforts to work with the music industry, and drawing all the attention his honorable efforts didn't. The difference is that eMusic's Hoffman took some cheap shots at Napster (don't remember what they were) and in doing this, he's making the same mistake that the music industry is making.
As product and service developers, we all must understand the users' point of view, and be in harmony with it. If we lose Napster it's going to be bad, for eMusic too. There's a market developing here, understand the market, and be part of it, serve it. It must be tempting to focus too much energy on Napster, but don't let that get in the way of connecting with the users, Napster's too.
(How many eMusic users also use Napster?)
To his credit, Hoffman was concise and convincing in explaining the new technology. He travels with his entire music collection on a small hard drive. I want to do that too!
Hatch asked Metallica's Lars Ulrich if he had a plan for making his music available on the Internet. He had no plan. That's half the story. Now, how long should the users wait? The users waited quite a long time. That's the other half of the story.
I've thought about the questions some have asked about Frontier, and I have an answer. If a Napster-like system for software developed, and it included everyone else's software, you're damned right I would want Frontier included.
In other words, if I were Ulrich, I'd set up a server at Exodus or AboveNet and load every Metallica song onto its hard disk. I'd put a copy of Napster on the machine, log on, and let the magic happen.
As you know I've been thinking about future business models for high integrity Web publications like Salon.
I'm intrigued, it's a puzzle, using Salon as a case study is helping me chart the next steps for UserLand.
I see the Web as an integrated application, of people. We have writers, nerds and music lovers here at UserLand. Same at Salon, but in different quantity and proportion, with different focus.
I see the Web playing an important supporting role in the evolution of music-on-the-Internet. In the Dr Dobbs interview (below) I said that music is the next most compelling application, that we'll spend the rest of our careers exploring it, it's so big.
How will the Web contribute? It's already doing it. For every song on Napster, there's a page you can find with Google that has the lyrics. The Web is pretty complete now, as Napster's database is. It's surprising that in the rage over MP3, we're overlooking that a couple of years ago it was considered controversial to share lyrics on the Web.
But the Web can do more, and therein lies the business model. There's a new explosion in software tools and hardware coming, it's quite fluid right now, the emails I'm getting on new product teams forming to create portable players and software is incredible. I have trouble wrapping my mind around all this, but I totally love it. Keep those ideas flowing.
We need places to share our ideas openly, and we will have them, but we also need integrity and a good name to hang the new ideas on. As we discuss new products, we'll gather communities of people interested in those products, and when they're available, we'll buy them. Let's ask users to reconsider some premises about the freeness of software, as we debate the freeness of music. Why should software be free? Think about it. It probably shouldn't.
We've really gummed up the feedback loop between users and developers, adding lots of mindless publicists, icons, lawyers, VCs, and then (lost somewhere in space) software developers. We have the opportunity to collapse out all the middlemen. Users and developers, connected, one and the same, money flows one way, joy flows the other. This is nirvana.
Clearly, ultimately we're going to realize that we must always pay for our music, at the same time, let's reform the software industry in the other direction, let's have money flow to software artists as it does to musical artists. No more working for free, for software too.
So where is the business model for a high integrity publication like Salon? First, they keep doing what they do so well, keeping their eyes and ears open for the next big thing, and they do something new, when something huge like music on the Internet comes along, start new publications, work with vendors (like Napster) to first organize their user community, forming a farm system, and take the best of what they produce and make it a centerpiece of the market.
As money shows up in the market, sell the products to the users, with the necessary separation of publishing and editorial function. Latch onto anything with growth that is exciting. The bet is that the Internet will produce many of these rushes over the coming years, and that being in position to study and report on them is where the value is.
I have more thinking and writing to do here. Thanks, as usual, for listening.
If it shakes out this way, then Napster can answer the persistent How Do You Make Money? question.
Charge money for the software and charge a monthly fee for access to the servers.
Keep it simple.
Irish Times: "'It's totally OK to be a chief executive and a writer,' says Mr Winer, whose daily, often deeply influential DaveNet and Scripting News columns have tens of thousands of readers and subscribers, including many of the technology industry's leading figures and pundits."
My comments on the interview, 6/17/00.
Yesterday afternoon I did a 40-minute radio interview with Dr Dobbs Technetcast. Next week they'll interview Brian Behlendorf, Andy Hertzfeld, Paul Everitt, and Tim O'Reilly. Requires RealAudio.
I also was interviewed by Business Week yesterday on the prospects for Mac OS X. As Karlin says in the Irish Times, I told them what I think and it was all on the record. Net-net, Apple bit off a big one, I wish they had embraced Linux, user interface migration is the hardest problem, esp with an installed base that's tuned into UI, but the company is healthy, they have the time to get it right.
The reporter, Peter Burrows, who I had talked with for many years while I was a Mac-only developer, and he was covering Apple, said their coverage of Apple had dried up because his sources either left or refused to talk.
DaveNet: Roger McGuinn on MP3.Com.
DaveNet: Tom Matrullo on Napster.
One more time, I pay for music.
This page is such a mess. I'm not going to clean it up. That's my art for the day.
I also got an email from Gene Kan. What a day it's turning into!
Chris Neson: Microsoft's Dot-Net Strategy.
O'Reilly: C# is pronounced 'See Sharp'.
Check this out, only $115, it plays MP3 CDs, 160 songs "more or less". Much better than the Lyra, which was a $400+ experiment; 8 songs, usually less. I never use it. It comes with virusware, which you have to use. Off to the bit-bucket.
Motley Fool: Yahoo continues to dominate the Web.
Beautiful wedding pictures on 2020 Hindsight.
Why are new things frightening?
News.Com: Napster nabs major-label veteran.
BigTakeover: "We are on the cusp of the biggest technological revolution in the music industry in over 100 years."
More Tom Matrullo. He's such a great writer!
AP: Patents a real player in cyberspace. "A patent is like a hammer, you could use it to build a house or to kill someone."
Qube Quorner publishes results of a performance test between Apache and AOLserver. (Apache is faster.)
Dan Lyke wonders if the combination of Feed and Suck is going to be called Seed or..
I watched the Senate hearing on C-SPAN last night, lots of eye-openers, notably MP3.Com's attempts to work with the music industry.
My.Mp3.Com is ingenious, a ton of hard work and money went into it, and they're selling the music we want, and preserving the system for the industry. They sued them, won, got their reparations, and they still don't want to deal with them.
(Lars Ulrich doesn't understand how Napster works.)
Hank Barry from Napster was just right, Americans love music, he says, and they're loving it more now that we have Napster. That's the big story. Charge us some money and shut up. It's interfering with the fun. What a bunch of stinkers. (Barry didn't say all that, he's a lawyer, but I did, I'm not.)
The most compelling speaker, and most understated, was Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, one of the 60s bands that started it all. He never made any money from his record deals, even though his songs topped the charts. Another artist comes out.
McGuinn likes MP3.Com, he has a folk music site, and gives away the music (presumably because it's his love) and MP3.Com gets more distribution for his music. He's glad for Napster, it's meant higher sales for him (ie non-zero) and he likes the idea that people are listening to Mr. Tamborine Man, Turn Turn Turn and Eight Miles High. (I'm listening to them right now as I write this.)
Two Senators, Hatch and Leahy, seemed to know their stuff, and Hatch esp asked tough questions of the RIAA president Hilary Rosen. My Senator, Feinstein, was stuck on the copyright issues. Very anti-Napster. Makes sense (kind of) since the music industry is big money in my state, and perhaps Feinstein is beholden to their pov.
OTOH, 20 million people use Napster now, and let's hope many of them vote in the next election. The other senators were certainly aware of the potential political power of the Napster users. Maybe this time we'll use the power.
The guy from Gnutella, Gene Kan, scares me. A riveting speaker. He's the guy Andreessen invested in. While he scared me, I recognize that he's a valuable insurance policy, should the music industry prevail in their suit with Napster.
Reuters report on the hearing.
Hearings.Com has an audio transcript of the hearing. Requires membership. Draconian process.
Over and over at the hearing I heard this idea.
If musicians don't get paid they won't make music.
How do they know that?
I don't even think it's true.
It might be true of some musicians.
I know it's not true of all.
DaveNet: Shaking out content.
News.Com: Another patent mess.
Russ Lipton is getting serious with Frontier.
Frontier: How to Log to a Text File in Common Log format.
Red Herring: VCs are still funding B2C.
Next year's fodder for this site?
Forbes: Salon May Need Buyer.
Press release: Ask Jeeves and Salon in Partnership. "We are thrilled to extend awareness of the Ask Jeeves service to millions of new users through Salon.com."
ON24 has an interesting audio report on Salon.
News.Com: Musicians launch anti-Napster campaign.
To the musicians, assuming the organization has some independence (RIAA is one of the sponsors), I am a fan and I want the convenience of music over the Internet. I've paid a lot of money for music, I don't mind paying, but I do mind if you call me a pirate.
The industry has made the whole issue about Napster, and reduced that down to piracy, completely ignoring fans who pay for music. There would be no Napster if your industry had found a way to give the fans what they want.
Let the discussion begin there.
PS: According to Lawrence Lee's research, the RIAA organized a soundbyte campaign in the legal battle, which they lost, over the RIO MP3 player. They depend on the stupidity of their customers, and the support of the media, who not surprisingly, carries the piracy angle, and never covers the paying customers' point of view.
PPS: Tom Matrullo: "Mozart once heard a piece of music so piercingly beautiful that he was moved to write it down from memory after hearing it performed in a church. He had no choice. The church believed it 'owned' the music, and forbade anyone to copy it. So, Mozart pulled a Napster. The piece has been in the public domain ever since, for all to enjoy."
News.Com: Microsoft dumps Java. "The company today confirmed that Visual Studio.Net will not include Visual J++, the company's Java-based tool."
News.Com: "Microsoft said it has published the specifications for two XML-based technologies to its Web site for review. The technologies, called SOAP Contract Language and SOAP Discovery, are intended to let programmers more easily find and link to Web-based services."
Microsoft: Discovery of Web Services.
The spec was too hard to find. The home page of the PDC site should be a weblog. Today it seems we have so far to go.
Ken Dow, the editor of Manila-Newbies, and a nice guy to hang out with, lost a friend to a brain tumor, and over the weekend his mother died.
My heart goes out to Ken, death seems to be in the air these days; maybe it always is, and we don't tune into it.
Another thought, something I've experienced, death creates space, life is so strong, it's not long before there's more than there was before.
To Ken and everyone else, there's no time like now, you can't take it with you, it's not like you get out of this alive, it's later than you think, give someone a hug today, namaste y'all and..
Let's Have Fun!
Dan Gillmor points to two recent Scripting News articles, with a comment. "The traditional media should pay attention to this kind of thinking. They won't."
He's probably right, but in the long term it won't matter. Dan is the original "you get what you pay for" guy, and to me it's major progress that he's open to reconsidering that premise.
Frankel's claim is troubling for another reason. It's really close to another (sarcastic) slogan, "The best journalism money can buy." He made money the issue, so this calls into question the role that money plays in editorial coverage. Now, I won't claim that the Times sells editorial, but I've seen it come pretty close. Let me tell you a story.
In March 1999, I was surprised to be invited to an Apple press conference. I asked the PR flack if they knew what they were doing. I went to the press conference, of course. I was put in the second row, the same row as John Markoff of the Times. John looked at me, I saw a puzzled face, and perhaps some anticipation that there would be fireworks. He was not disappointed, I'm sure.
I asked Jobs the questions everyone else in the audience should have asked. They were promoting Apache to the hilt. They offered flawed statistics, comparing the performance of Mac OS X to Windows NT using Apache as the benchmark. Of course Apache for Windows sucks. Really hard. So the benchmark was totally bogus. I asked Jobs if the benchmarks were bogus. I also asked "What about your users?" all of whom use different Web server software that's not even slightly compatible with Apache. There was no transition plan offered, no message to developers and users. So you had to conclude they were either blowing off the users and developers, or the Apache announcement was total smoke. There can't be any middle ground. Either it was real or not. (I suspect it was not real, it was just opportunistic headline-grabbing, the installed base is too important to ignore.)
The Markoff piece that appeared in the Times the next day quoted the bogus statistics, per Jobs's statement, with no mention of backward compatibility for Mac developers and users. Now why didn't that appear in his story? He was there. He heard the exchange. He should have asked the questions himself, if he really knows his stuff. (If not, why not?)
I never got an answer to these questions when I raised them in a DaveNet piece in March 1999. So I have to guess. I want to be very clear, this is a theory. Jobs has a rule. If you write editorial he doesn't like, you lose access. It doesn't matter if you write for the Times or Fortune or Scripting News. Call him on his bullshit, and no more interviews or photo ops.
Jobs gets away with it because his face sells magazines, as does Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, etc. I'd have more readers if I had exclusive Steve Jobs quotes here. (There's the money.)
But I don't want his bullshit. I'm only interested in what he really thinks, not in what he wants *me* to think.
Of course if all the pubs had integrity and courage, they'd call the bullshit artists on their bullshit, and if they wanted coverage, they'd have to answer the questions, and we'd have fewer vaccuous blustery irrelevant announcements.
Can you imagine this headline in the Times: "More Apple Bluster, So Boring". It'll never happen. It's a parachute-less plane jump for the old media, and that's what they don't want to do.
I know Markoff for a long time, back when he was a reporter at Infoworld, and then at Byte, where his office was across the hall from my company's office (on Ellwell Court in Palo Alto), on to the SF Examiner, and then the Times.
He wrote a piece about LBBS for Infoworld in 1982, and I made a beginner's mistake, I asked him to hold the article until the software shipped. I got a speech about integrity. Every time I see Markoff I think of it. He was right. I tell my story, then he tells his. There's a necessary disconnect. I get it, totally.
Today, the disconnect between the industry and the press is an illusion. As I write this, Markoff, Steven Levy of Newsweek and Scott Rosenberg of Salon are at a conference in SF explaining to PR people how to get the coverage they want.
The title of the panel: "How to Suck Up to the Media."
Something is seriously wrong here. A scandal, in the open, so bizarre, so brazen.
I was invited to attend, but I find the idea repulsive. I wouldn't be able to attend without saying this. They should be writing stories, digging deeply into the lies that the industry they cover is built on, and exposing them. They should be taking a computer science class to learn how software works.
Teaching PR people how to work with them is the height of corruption. We've lost our way, we need a fresh start.
"I think the panel title was meant as a joke. It certainly doesn't represent what we talked about.
"PR is a fact of life. Do good journalists try to cut through its hype and get to the real story? Of course. But our lot in life is to be assailed by PR people constantly. And there is such a thing as a sensible way to do PR (use email, don't send attachments, be sure you're sending the info to the right person, etc). That's pretty much what we talked about this morning. Nothing sinister there.
"People like Markoff and Levy and even me must swim through a vast sea of PR. Taking a moment out every now and then to talk about the rules of the road on a mundane level isn't some kind of awful collusion; it's just a way to make life work a little better. What's wrong with explaining to publicists, 'Don't waste your time leaving us voice-mail messages we don't have time to listen to -- use e-mail instead'?"
Before signing off, a comment.
Lots of email today saying right on, lots of Steve Jobs stories out there, it's not hidden, it's very easy to expose.
Everyone knows that this kind of collusion exists in the high tech press.
Anyone who has had dealings with Steve Jobs knows that his support is conditional on him getting what he wants.
But you never see it reported.
And it's not just with Jobs, it's rampant all over the industry; and it's supported, perhaps begrudgingly, by the press. The older you are the less you notice it, perhaps.
Further, after giving it a few hours thought, I think Rosenberg proves my point. Money does buy the attention of the top journalists. If the PR people are such a nuisance, why does he put up with it? It should be easy to get rid of them. And what's behind all those distracting phone calls? Money. Often that's all that's behind it.
In the last few years the practice of throwing money at PR to support stories with no substance went to the most ridiculous extremes. At a panel discussion for Australian CEOs put on by the Davos people, I asked a VC how many of the deals his companies announced had any substance at all.
He said "1 in 3." Do the math. That means 2 out of the 3 calls Rosenberg gets have no substance, on average, assuming the VC wasn't exaggerating. So is Rosenberg really doing his job if he takes any of the calls or gives them any weight in deciding what to write about? That's not for me to decide, however it is for me to ask the question.
Thanks for listening.
PS: There are some things you don't joke about. One of them is integrity. Imagine if your doctor was on a panel with a similar title. How would you feel about that?
DaveNet: Why I Like XML.
SalonHerringWiredFool.Com got a rewrite today.
It's now a Manila site, and it's faster and easier to use, has a new tagline, and a few glitch-fixes.
The technology keeps getting better. Last year, when this first came online, it took a couple of weeks to get right. Today, just a couple of hours, and it's a lot easier to maintain.
Thanks to onfocus for this idea.
I'm listening to Cover of the Rolling Stone by Dr Hook. What a great song!
"We got a lot of little blue-eyed teenage groupies who do anything we say. We got a genuine Indian guru who's teaching us a better way. We got all the friends that money can buy so we never have to be alone. And we keep gettin richer but we can't get our picture on the cover of the the Rolling Stone."
WSJ: Webzines merge to survive shakeout. "Feed Magazine and Suck.com, two of the Web's oldest publications, are expected to announce Monday that they are joining forces."
I've been expecting this kind of deal for quite some time, and have been preparing for the day that the euphoria died and the publications of the Web would start re-thinking their business models. Here's my thinking.
Any webzine can grow right now by offering sites to their users with their branding on it. Start a farm system, as described in the Making Money piece, publish the work of amateurs.
Teach them how to write for the public. A year from now, we'll turn the best of them into pros, and at the same time avoid mistakes made by the print industry as it transitioned to the Web. And the year after, and the year after that.
The business model? Users openly design new products.
Manufacturers make the most exciting products and sell them to the users. We go back to making products that people want. Step one is to give the users a platform. That's where the publications come in. (They also get a cut of the sales.)
The Web is not a mirror of the print industry, that's why advertising is not so important. The unique thing about the Web is that it's interactive. We all know that. The challenge is to squeeze quality, high-integrity writing out of the readers, and present it back to them with your seal of quality. That's a much higher-growth proposition than employing writers and running ads as the print industry does.
I was disappointed to see that Automatic Media is using SlashDot-style conferencing for the Suck-Feed combination. I strongly believe this is the wrong approach. Better to start new Sucks and Feeds using the traditions of sarcasm and literacy that each of these pubs have done such a great job of starting.
We're doing it that way. We've started over 6000 Scripting News-type sites here in the last six months. Some are reaching critical mass. It's a thing to behold.
On SlashDot they had to add hard-to-use filtering to create a minimal level of quality. In our world, it's the other way around -- how do you find the good new stuff. That creates the incentive for thoughtful content. That's why, along with Manila, we made the investment in syndication, and in weblogs.com, to assist in finding new stuff.
Some pubs could apply this model right now, ones that have powerful readerships, many of whom could immediately start their own sub-pubs. The Industry Standard, Salon, Red Herring, Wired, Suck, Feed, Fawcette, come to mind, but there are probably dozens that could grow this way. Some are already doing it. SourceForge, Motley Fool, Gomez.
I've been emailing and meeting with people at WR Hambrecht on this idea for the last few weeks. There's not been enough motion. Perhaps we can do this for ourselves.
To be clear, UserLand would be willing to merge with, or supply software or services to, or just support, publications that open to their readers by giving them space to start their own publications.
PS: Another offer to any of these pubs. You may run any DaveNet column with your branding on it. I don't want any money. I want to start new flow. Thanks.
Of all the publications mentioned above, the one that interests me most is Salon.
Here's the pitch. They're independent, not tethered to a larger organization. Their voice has unimpeachable integrity.
They've run some excellent stuff, developing a highly regarded name, not just in the Internet space, but more broadly.
Salon best captures the early spirit of the Web, and has grown with the Web, not remained static. Wired, which was the early leader, has been decimated, half going to Lycos and the other half going to Conde Nast; and even worse, the people of the early Wired are dispersed all over the industry.
Salon ran the Courtney Love piece. It made sense for it to run there (except I wish they hadn't split it over four pages, there's that pesky print advertising model). That it made sense is the important thing. That's why it would also make sense for Courtney Love and others like her to have their own permanent space on Salon.
Another reason I like Salon is that they're cheap. The market cap is only $18 million. Totally undervalued.
NY Observer: Grisly Dot-Com Saga. "It was the I.P.O. proceeds from one company that became the ad revenue of the next company–a kind of Wall Street- financed merry-go-round in which dot-com startups became little more than a capital transfer mechanism from Wall Street to Madison Avenue."
Tim says "I had expected to spend time evangelizing him about the importance of web-enabling the Linux desktop, only to find he was way ahead of me, with a vision of web services as the next frontier of usability that made complete sense to me."
An email from Andy Hertzfeld on XML-RPC and SOAP. "We've known for years that the next step beyond that is sending executable code between machines, which SOAP and XML-RPC don't really address."
Andy also says that CGI is the basis of every interesting app on the Web today. Not sure if I know what he means, but we haven't used CGI in years, so either Andy is missing something or I am.
No matter what, I wish him the best, and hope whatever vision he shares at O'Reilly is inclusive and open.
Matt Drudge: Apple, Pixar to merge with Disney. Jobs would be chairman of the new company. "Steve will not sell Pixar without Apple," said one company source.
BusinessWeek's Ron Glover speculates on dealmaking this week in Sun Valley, Idaho. "Disney Chairman Michael Eisner will attend, as will Microsoft's Bill Gates. Steve Jobs is representing the Pixar Animation studios he heads when he isn't making Macs."
News.Com: "IBM will begin a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign next Friday, hoping a little noise will help undermine Sun Microsystems' dominance in the Unix server market."
Edd Dumbill: "Although an open source endeavor, a substantial part of the Apache XML codebase has been contributed by large vendors."
James Snell: Internet TimeLine Project.
Reuters: Napster CEO to Testify.
News.Com: Another patent mess.
Information Week: Push Technology Matures.
Jim Bouton: Did He Throw It On Purpose?
MacInTouch tells the story of ObjectSupportLib, and old friend from day's gone by.
DaveNet: Why I Came to Silicon Valley.
On the SOAP mail list, John Barton (Hewlett Packard) and Satish Thatte (Microsoft) propose a way to attach binary information to SOAP messages.
Andre Radke, UserLand's expert on SOAP 1.1, clears up terminology confusion that lead me to wonder why the HP-Microsoft proposal was needed.
Lots of interesting stuff in today's Discussion Group.
Jakob Nielson: WAP Backlash.
Thank you Angus. I agree about open source. Gifts *are* cool. Exclusivity is boring.
I just got an email from a friend who suffered a massive heart attack, and survived. He was at Stanford Hospital at the time it happened. He's now out and hiking every day, with little damage to his heart, and a new perspective on life.
Guy Lombardo: Enjoy Yourself. "When you kiss a dollar bill, it doesn't kiss you back."
Sarcasm at the NY Times on a sensitive subject. It took me a few paragraphs to figure out that the author, Matt Richtel, examining a small corner of the music-on-the-Internet issue, was trivializing the user's perspective, through sarcasm. I doubt that the interviews are real. Shameful reporting, far below the Times' normal quality standards.
Max Frankel, also writing in the Times, says "Americans will get the journalism they pay for." Interesting point. When writing about Internet issues, the Times will realize that the competition is fierce, and disrespect weakens Frankel's argument. The Richtel piece is not worth paying for, imho.
Making Money: "The Web has its own mechanism for quality. If you want people to return, you have to take the high road, the reputation you tarnish with weak opinion and incorrect fact is your own."
Great party in SF at Marc Canter's last night. Got home at 3AM. Dot-com yuppies are talking about more interesting stuff now, not such a rush to get the options cashed out, more romance, flirting and singing. In other words the downturn for dot-coms is good for SF parties. Another benefit!
We also talked about relocating the Web industry from Potrero Hill to New Orleans. Such a beautiful city, I heard at the party that a lot of people have already moved there, to buy beautiful Garden District and Uptown homes, even mansions, for the price of a bungalow on Mariposa Street.
But then I am reminded that there are two Louisianas, one that's uninhibited, with great music, food and architecture, and a big old river; and one that thumps the Bible and throws people in jail for doing simple human things.
(And it's a big death penalty state.)
At Davos, Shimon Peres gave another compelling argument for peace. Dot-com yuppies want parks, bike paths, good schools, no traffic jams, in other words, a high quality of life. Part of the quality of a life is the extent to which diversity is supported. To get on to the global economy growth path, you have to get your government out of places it doesn't belong.
(Also, dot-com yuppies probably won't come if you're at war.)
Prison must be the exception, not the rule. Sex is not the government's business. Thanks for listening.
Doc Searls: "Microsoft's .Net strategy looks like an attack on Sun to me. Just as Sun's Java strategy always looked like an attack on Microsoft. One's coming from the desktop, the other's coming from the server, and both miss what the Net is about, which is inclusion. They talk inclusion, but on their terms. So the programmers will find ways to include both of them."
Good morning! This weekend's project is to explore a new format called outlineDocument. It's basically an XMLization of outlines, which come up a lot in our work, and I felt it was time to have an exchange format that's based on XML.
As often is the case, the first demo app for the new XML format is Scripting News. This outlineDocument is statically generated every time I make a change to this page. You can read the XML file, run it through an aggregator, render it differently, or mail it to yourself or others, or whatever.
If you build something that reads this file, send me a URL and I'll link to it. But be ready for change, this format is still evolving.
You can ignore the
HTML is preserved by the format. Left angle brackets, ampersands and double-quotes are entity-encoded. Is this the right way to go? Let me know what you think.
I'm working on a spec for this format. When it's ready I'll point to it here.
I posted a note about this on the Syndication mail list last night, so far no comments.
I got a nice email from Jerry Michalski about the mini-piece I wrote last night at deadline (10PM) about amateurs taking over from the pros on the Web.
It reminded me of a NY Times story I read at SFO on Thurs (dead trees still have their uses) re About.Com's editorial meeting. They use a model similar to the one we use on UserLand.Com (I think we have a better name). Well, what impressed me is that fewer people showed up at About's meeting than showed up at ManilaPalooza in March.
About has run through many millions of dollars to get their thing going. Well, everyone here works for free, and we haven't spent more than $10K on promotion, if that much. This leads me to believe that you don't have to buy users and editors, that there are enough amateurs with talent who love to write and learn from others, for its own sake.
I said to Jerry "I couldn't believe how close Max Frankel came to figuring it out." The full blueprint is in the Making Money piece. I think a lot of people could benefit from reading the whole thing top to bottom. I just did.
OK, there's been a market correction, so you might not get the huge market cap. But perhaps Son-San was right, and this correction is just shaking out the low quality garbage, and we'll get back on track once quality becomes the buzzword in Silicon Valley, not stupid bullshit like P2P.
(Which is really just an invite back to the pyramid schemes of the late 90s the VCs made so much money with, and raised all those $billion funds on the basis of.)
For some reason I felt like asking these questions over on Wes Felter's excellent site.
I want to play MP3 files from a script on Windows.
I also need to know when the file is finished playing so I can launch another one.
I want to turn Pike into a playlist editor. I want branching and reorganization.
Is Napster scriptable?
Matthew Wilson is connecting Pike to Perl, and is almost there, but has a question.
I'm certainly going to buy one of these Philips CD players that can handle MP3 format. Coming in August.
Why not have a cuppa coffee with Surprise.
Watch this Space: "I can only talk about music for a short while and then I have to go do music."
Robert Palmer: Addicted to Love. "Your lights are on, but you're not home. Your will, is not your own, your heart sweats, your teeth grind, another kiss and you'll be mine."
The Supremes: You Can't Hurry Love. "I can't bear to live my life alone." Bummer!
I like to quote this song when asked when a certain feature will be released.
Ian Drury: Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick.
Oy, he died on March 27. Sad sad!!
Max Frankel: The Nirvana News. "There is no doubt that the Web is a much more efficient distributor of information than the two-ton truck. Newspapers must adapt to digital technologies or die. The foreseeable techniques of presenting news are dazzling, but they do not yet point to a reliable stream of income to pay for the harvesting of news."
It's a little subtle, but I strongly believe a new economy will form around news written by people who are now considered amateurs by professional journalists. The journalism profession delivers superficial stories, esp in technology, where most of the writers lack the background of even a first year computer science undergrad. Easily routed around, already routed around, imho.
In other areas, we'll rely on multiple sources, as today's reporters do, but instead of turning to icons of questionable integrity, people like Larry Ellison, Scott McNealy, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Bill Joy, we'll get the stories from the people, and assemble our own news from those sources. I want to know about the products these guys make, not their bluster and fud.
Leaders will still exist, but they will be people who also communicate electronically, without so much ceremony or pomp. I can read email that Linus Torvalds or Tim Berners-Lee post on mail lists. Why do I have to go to a press conference to find out what they think? Wasted money, for the most part.
The current print industry makes it easy. They're lazy, and until recently fairly scared of technology. Now the Web is getting more mature, and the next barrier we'll cross is the combination of quality, integrity and economics.
Frankel says "The oft-heard promise of 'free news' is an oxymoron. Americans will get the journalism they pay for."
Hogwash, I say. Teach the Web to deliver high quality writing. That's the role for people who know the news business. It's obvious, you just have to accept what Frankel does, that the Web delivers news much more efficiently than dead trees and delivery trucks, and follow the trail that leads from there.
I wrote about this in February. I still believe it, totally. Quotes, pictures and facts aren't as expensive as Frankel thinks, and we can increase the quality at the same time.
I saw a PBS show on Mandelbrot sets and fractals, hosted by Arthur C. Clarke. I had no idea they were so beautiful and so potentially important, or even what they were. They may be even bigger than the universe. It's possible that everything's a fractal, even our brains; they may be the key to understanding DNA, and like floor wax, they can even be used to compress images on computer networks like this one (the Internet).
Benoit Mandelbrot, a researcher at IBM in upstate NY, is alive and speaks English. He was on the show! Of course soon after the show was over I wondered if IBM took out patents on this stuff. Would that dampen Clarke's enthusiasm for fractals if they had? Questions questions.
Sean Lindsay on fractal image compression.
Google search for Mandelbrot.
I spent the weekend with friends that I know through Jeru. Some old friends and some new ones. I got a lot of exercise this weekend, emotional exercise too, and heard my little boy, the one that's four years old, very clearly for much of the weekend. This was lovely.
Suntanned and emotionally expressed, yesterday was a Great Hair day at SFO. That made it more entertaining. Everywhere I went heads turned. I caught people staring at me. I smiled, somewhat embarassed. This is not the normal thing for me.
With Jeru's stories fresh on my mind, I realized something, most of the people who are looking at me probably think I'm a relative of theirs, someone from their deep past, perhaps their father or older brother, or (it is this bizarre) their mother. The little child in all of us doesn't know about time, and doesn't really understand gender.
Of course there's nothing wrong with this, it's the sign of a healthy subconscious. Always looking for the other, to complete us, to save us from certain death.
What to do? Take several deep breaths and compare the imagination to what's really happening, with love, as you would with a child who, waking from a nightmare, is sure there's a green dragon under his or her bed.
"Let's go have a look," Jeru said, "I haven't seen a green dragon in a long time!"
Elton John: "Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen."
John's songs, written by Bernie Taupin, are totally for and from the four-year-old. His music gives a voice to the child, something we're taught to ignore. That's why it can be such a release (and a relief) to listen to Elton John sing.
Phil Collins: Against All Odds. "I wish I could just make you turn around, turn around and see me cry. There's so much I need to say to you, so many reasons why you're the only one who really knew me at all."
Compare the lyrics with the baby eagle story. Same idea. Without you I won't survive.
There are many reasons why music and the Internet are such an incredible combination. Here's another one.
On the radio, if they play a song that really resonates, I want to listen to it thirty times to let it sink in, to fully experience it. This happened with Them Changes by Buddy Miles. It took me five years to get the song on my hard disk, and loop back to where I was when I heard it the first time, which happened instantly when I finally had it playing on my computer a couple of weeks ago.
On Father's Day, listening to KFOG, they played Father and Son by Cat Stevens. That got me to re-install Napster, and I listened to the song over and over, and saw that my memory had been imperfect, and that when I first heard the song as a teenager, I hadn't understood what it was about.
So I don't just want to listen to music, I want to study it, and let it really sink in, soak it up, and then go on. No medium before the Internet made this so easy.
It may be the most powerful application of the Internet yet.
E-commerce? Hey stores are nice, but they're boring. Teach me something about myself. That's worth much more.
Yesterday I ordered a new computer. (933 MHz!)
I got a 75 gigabyte hard drive. Bierman laughed. "How are you going to use that Dave?"
How many hours of music is 75 gigabytes?
Chris Langreiter has a REBOL version.
Yesterday, I decided that I could live without the Lyra, but I could not live without the local filesystem, so one by one I uninstalled all the pieces I had installed on the 26th.
Which was the culprit? Real Jukebox. A dirty slimy piece of garbage. Off to the bit-bucket. My filesystem works again.
PS: My four-year-old wrote that. Of course I can live without the local filesystem.
Digital Music Weekly: Living Without Napster. "Once people embrace a new technology like this, it is very hard to get them to give it up."
On Hack-the-Planet I asked Wes for comments on HTTP 1.1. We got a nudge from W3C people that they would like to see Manila support it. Always happy to please them, esp if it's not a multi-month project.
News.Com: Yahoo slides after analyst downgrade. "Yahoo's revenue stream remains highly dependent on advertising, much of which comes from other Internet companies."
Web Review: The Blogging Revolution. Blog blog blog blog!
Survey: Are you watching Big Brother?
Over the years, often around my birthday, or holidays, I've written stories that were not about technology or politics. I feel that these are some of the most important pieces I've written.
Along the way I became part of another community, that I have not directly written about. This evening I wrote an introduction to a talk by Jeru, the teacher of that community. Please read the intro first, there's a link to his story at the end.
Today's song: Everybody Have Fun Tonight. "Across the nation, around the world."
O'Reilly: Using Perl to Read Mail. "It's been said that if you work on any program long enough, that program will eventually be able to send electronic mail. It doesn't matter what the original purpose of the program was (if you can still remember)--if you develop it long enough, some day that program will send its first piece of email." True.
Hey I'm going to do a column for XML Magazine. The editor is Steve Gillmor, Dan's older brother. What a small world! I have to write my first column by Wednesday next. I'm going to start with the Two-Way-Web piece, and bring it up to date, with links to the software. Steve comes from the Microsoft world, my job is to make sure that their coverage of XML doesn't revolve around Microsoft. Easy.
WSJ: “We’re launching WAP games, and they can’t even keep their WAP gateway up and running.”
NY Times: "An operating system has powerful juju, and running afoul of it calls down the wrath of the computer spirits."
The good news is that I spent four hours listening to music at SFO on my new portable MP3 player. The bad news is that I still didn't get out, and the chances were looking pretty bad for the 4PM flight, and all that airport time put me in a foul mood along with a few thousand other people, so I headed back to work, and I'll do the Seattle trip later. Oy.
Evan Williams: "Yesterday, on the way home, I fell into one of those SFO weather-delay, chain-reaction nightmares, and it took all day to get home from L.A."
Reminder to self: San Jose doesn't get fogged-in as often.
DaveNet: I'm a music fan.
Joan Baez: "Yes I loved you dearly. And if you're offering me diamonds and rust, I've already paid."
News.Com: Dell partners with S3 on MP3 players.
Use KIMA to "rebroadcast streaming media from your PC to any home stereo or portable radio system with 1000 feet."
It seems as if the Radio Shack wireless CD adaptor ($30) would work with a Lyra or Rio MP3 player.
MP3.Com: Portable MP3 Radio.
Rio: Digital Audio Receiver.
Doc Searls: "I have a Ramsey FM-100 that's been doing the same thing at my house for years. Mine is hooked up to the Dish satellite system, but could just as easily be plugged into the computer. When I hook it up to an antenna on the roof, I can get it up to 5 miles away by line of sight. Right now it's next to the TV and covers the neighborhood on 88.1. We pick it up on receivers around the house. Sounds fabulous. You can buy it fully built, by the way."
Elvis Costello: "But she used to have a carefree mind of her own, with devilish look in her eye, saying 'You can call me anything you like, but my name is Veronica.'"
Veronica is a 50mW FM Stereo Transmitter Kit.
X10.Com: MP3 Anywhere 2000.
David Boies: "A dominant firm or a trade association shouldn't have the ability to use its power to stifle a new technology."
Flutterby: Declaration of Independence.
On Sunday Craig Jensen linked to all kinds of stuff about Frank Zappa, one of my all-time heroes of rock and roll.
Frank Zappa: "Why is a vegetable something to hide?"
Inside.Com: "Ask anyone who works on the editorial or design side of a media Web site what the worst part of their job is. After they exhaust themselves on the number of hours they work and how little their options are now worth, talk often turns to the publishing tools they use to manage their site and how much they hate them."
David Singer: Weblogs inside IBM. Go go go!
Leigh Dodds summarizes recent discussions in RSS-Land.
Random observation, doing searches on Google this morning. Lots of new integration with Yahoo. Interesting.
Aaron Swartz has the Tcl implementation of XML-RPC validating. Thanks!
Read this article that explains how SOAP works in ASPs.
Now think of it this way. It's a howto, showing how to integrate Frontier content management with all the things that ASP can do. You should even be able to run Frontier on the same machine, just use SOAP to do the interface.
What's cool is that we now have Microsoft people writing Frontier howtos.
WSJ: Venture capital loves P2P. "Despite the dot-com downturn, Silicon Valley is embarking on one of its favorite pastimes: investing in a full-blown technology fad. This one, called 'peer-to-peer' computing, is inspired by the controversial music-sharing service Napster Inc." Oy.
A fad? How many VCs have a clue? Napster must be peer-to-peer to route around the fear of the music industry. Peer-to-peer is a big opportunity, but the race has been running for a few years. Hopefully Wall Street will not succumb to euphoria and will evaluate the companies based on what they actually do, not on the hype. As usual, Marc Andreessen is leading the hype parade.
NY Times: "Muslim insurgents battling Philippine troops in the south have a new weapon. When the shelling and gunfire let up, they send a barrage of scathing insults to Manila's forces by cell phone."
I wonder if Marc Andreessen has one of these cell phones?
Jason Levine is learning to be a doctor. "Incredibly sick kids make for incredibly effective learning opportunities."
With regrets, my east coast trip was postponed due to new business opportunities on the west coast. We had planned a Scripting News dinner in NY for this evening. That won't happen. I'll come to NY soon and we'll do a dinner then.
Today is Independence Day in the US. It's our country's birthday. To the south they're really having a revolution. And in the music business, and the software business too, things are changing, perhaps at a revolutionary pace. This is good! Once a year, at least, it's great that we can think about revolutions and overthrowing corruption and unleashing the creativity that it holds back. Namaste y'all!
It's chilly in the Bay Area today.
I was invited to appear on CBS News Friday at 7AM Eastern to defend Napster. I will do it even if it means being at a TV studio at 4AM. (BTW, I'll be in Seattle on Friday.)
Brad Pettit has a different point of view on Napster.
A sunset in the Sierras, from this weekend. Ain't it sweet?
News.Com: "Embattled online music-swapping company Napster has a simple message for the courts and for the record industry: Downloading songs online without paying for them is legal."
NY Times: Mexico begins political sea change. "Swept to power by younger, better-educated voters fed up with corruption and one-party rule, President-elect Vicente Fox Quesada today began the transition from a republic headed for decades by autocratic presidents to one in which political power suddenly seemed up for grabs."
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.