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Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, September 12, 2000. Tuesday, September 12, 2000

XML Magazine: Why I Like XML. "The important thing about XML is that it means that your software can be replaced. Now this may not sound like an advantage, unless you work for a software vendor who's being sued for antitrust, but it actually is an advantage for everyone."

Joel: Wasting money on cats. "The number of dumb things going on here exceeds my limited ability to grok all at once. I'm a bit overwhelmed with what a feeble business idea we have going on here."

Joel, you left one thing out. Who reads magazines while sitting in front of their computer?

Tipster technical overview.

ZDNet: "Sources who have gotten an early look at Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac OS X Public Beta tell ZDNet News that while the first end-user version of the new OS is more stable and feature-complete than its pre-release predecessors, it lacks many everyday features Mac users take for granted."

Financial Review: "And, sorry, the money goes into the cocaine habits of the recording company executives."

Me: "Yup back to basics. We sell software. The old-fashioned way. To users."

DelphiRss is "a set of open source native components which enable you to build Delphi applications which use RSS headlines." I learned about this software in a post that its author, Nick Lothian, sent to the rss-dev list explaining how he developed RSS support in Delphi.

ZDNet reviews the Compressor Personal Jukebox. "This bulky unit can hold a gargantuan 1200 tracks, or 100 CDs worth of MP3s. Listening to 81 hours of non-repetitive music in your car, at home, or at the gym begins to outweigh the considerable size of the unit."

Writing day 

Today is a writing day for me, the kind of writing I hate to do and always put off. I'm writing the Feature List page for Radio UserLand. I hate it because I don't think people really read feature lists, and I have to put on a kind of stiff voice, but that's not really how I write. I also have to write some new pages to hang off this page and I'll link to them as they're ready.

An early draft of the docs for OurFavoriteSongs.Com.


I took a break and read this News.Com story about P2P and how the VCs are losing interest. As usual the reporter and the VCs are missing something important, technologically.

Yes, Napster is a P2P product, largely because it puts both a client and server on the user's desktop. In the end when all this shakes out, that much will certainly be required of a P2P app. But I think there are other requirements. To be useful, it must also have an editor of some kind, an end-user editor, so you can easily share things you create.

I like to use an outliner, that's why Radio UserLand is built around an outliner. That's why it's good at doing weblogs, hierarchic Yahoo-like HTML directories, music playlists, scripts, pull-down menus. There are a lot of hierarchies on the Web, basically we've created a framework that makes it easy to map those hierarchies on the outliner, and we've provided a few plug-ins that implement some good ones. There's room for lots more.

But you could just as easily conceive a P2P product around a spreadsheet, then the interlinked documents would recalculate like a spreadsheet. I'd love to use a P2P spreadsheet, and with the right hooks, it wouldn't have to do all that Radio UserLand does, it could leverage off Radio UserLand through local interapplication hooks, through COM and Apple Events. It's now 2000 and machines run at 933 Mhz. We could start assuming the OS-level connections are fast.

Making P2P work is like picking up seeds cast on the forest floor. It's an easy architecture to build now that our knowledge of networking is mature and the machines have gotten so big and fast, and we haven't (yet) forgotten how to make graphic user interface software.

To think that all P2P software is Napster-like is to miss the point. I strongly believe (not a joke) that the P in P2P is people. Music is a great catalyst, it gets people talking, but it'll go a lot further than that.

Morning pointers 

Over the weekend Jeff Barr, the author of Headline Viewer, said it really clearly. RSS is Really Simple Syndication. He's done so much to popularize RSS. He's worked with users on both ends. If RSS weren't so simple, it wouldn't be so popular.

Jeff also has an EditThisPage.Com weblog.

Lance is back at work weblogging on the WorldLink site.

I got some sympathy email because I got a minor flame from Richard Stallman. I don't need it, thanks. He's probably the one person on the Internet that irritates more people than me. I don't find him irritating, I actually sympathize with him. He's got a program, a philosophy, and people are always picking at it, and him, but he doesn't give in. He could get a job and become a Dilbert, or run a shop full of Dilberts, but I appreciate that he doesn't. We need more radicals if we're going to do more thinking.

Three exceptionally fine bits of writing I did early this morning.

Susan Kitchens: "I remember a camping trip where I laid on my stomach and gently smoothed out the sand with my forearms while overhearing my mother and her friend discussing the awesome statistical probability of conception and existence."

Yesterday we got deep on the discussion group, talking about projection, voice dialog, hypnotherapy and birth and death. This is what I love about our group. It's one of the few places on the Internet where we can get personal in a safe way. I still am withholding, not telling my full story, but yesterday I was tempted, it almost felt safe enough. Being a public figure, to the extent that I am, I'm afraid of personal stuff being used against me. So I'll stay safe, and only say thanks to the people on the DG for having the courage to share their personal stories. Now you guys are leading me. That's a priviledge. Someday I'll tell you what this is about. It's incredibly synchronous.

When I was a teenager I started an underground newspaper called BLADAUN, which was an acronym (of course) for Birth, Life And Death of An Underground Newspaper. (Underground newspapers were the weblogs of the early 1970s.)


Last update: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 at 8:59 PM Eastern.

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