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Permanent link to archive for Saturday, August 19, 2000. Saturday, August 19, 2000

Today's News: Polar Icecap is Melting. "The last time scientists can be certain the pole was awash in water was more than 50 million years ago."

Today's event: Bandwidth Conference in San Francisco, 435 Broadway. One of our panelists had to cancel, Liz Brooks, VP Marketing at Napster. Too bad, Napster's view of the Fan of the Future is something I wanted to talk about.

Today's new feature: Right-click Menus in Radio UserLand. I gotta say this. After six years of developing Web apps, what a joy to be working on software that's just for one user. Simpler scaling issues. No race conditions. And HTML, while I love it, isn't nearly as rich or flexible as the UI toolkits on Mac and Windows.

Another reason it's so much fun, the security issues are so much simpler. There are all kinds of open customizable interfaces in Radio UserLand. You can add your own commands to the right-click menu. We could never do this in a Web app, because of security issues. In general, we don't even allow people to delete things in Web apps, even the commands we use to "delete" things, don't really delete them.

Disclaimer: The icons in the screen shots on that page are just placeholders. Jake Savin, a musician and programmer, the guy who did them, loves his Mac. Apologies to Apple, we will change the Apple-inspired icons asap. I didn't know Jake was doing this. We move really fast and independently at UserLand. Keep up the great work Jake!

One more thing, the first few commands in the right-click menu for songs are placeholders too. When you choose them you get an alert that says Not Implemented Yet. We will certainly implement the commands that allow you to comment on a song, and see other comments. (There will be an open architecture for implementing a comment server.) We will also implement a command that helps you find other fans that love the song too. Imagine that, using the Internet to find love. Not a trashy kind of love, but the love that you feel in your heart.

About the first command in that menu, I hope we can implement that soon as well. It should be clear to all that UserLand supports artists, because we are artists ourselves. We want to be paid, as musicians want to be paid. In our industry it has become fashionable to believe that good software is worthless. What a terrible turn for the creative art of making software. It would be hypocritical for us to support a similar trashing of the value of music. Our users will be reminded that if you love someone else's creativity, you must support it, in meaningful ways. In our society, this is implemented with money. It's pretty simple. Other people, some honest and some not, try to tell us otherwise, but we know better.

Finally, for today, it warms my heart when Evan Williams points to Doc Searls' weblog. The Web makes us all brothers, imho, even competitors; and sisters too. To Meg, I really liked that you trusted your Mom to edit your home page. I found out she's a geek, and that she loves you. That's so cool!

The Web is more than HTML and HTTP, it's a philosophy that has integrity. To be of the Web, means being vulnerable. Music is now part of the Web, to our friends who create music, this is something you have to recognize, if you want to create art around what's real. Let's take the next steps, we're all in the same boat, creative people want to be appreciated without being invaded. Let's encourage generosity from users. But first we must trust them. It hurts when people violate our trust, I've experienced it myself, but we have no choice, we must trust people every day. The world wouldn't work without trust. Think about it.

If you chose to be creative, you also chose to be vulnerable. That means you're going to be hurt. There's no way to avoid it.

BTW, if you doubt it, remember what happened to John Lennon. Musicians do. All creative people must think about this. No one likes to talk about it for fear of inviting that kind of fan into his or her life. Next time you think about an artist, think about John Lennon for a moment, and appreciate the risks that artists take.

Today's song: Let It Be. "And when the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be."


Last update: Saturday, August 19, 2000 at 10:21 AM Eastern.

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