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Permanent link to archive for Friday, September 22, 2000. Friday, September 22, 2000

News.Com: "In its response letter to King, Duke University attorneys wrote, 'We are not aware of any legal authority that would require the university to ban access to Napster.'"

Andrew Leonard: "For all their carefully crafted clauses, all their painstaking attempts (particularly in the cases of the licenses concocted by commercial companies) to balance various interests, and all the endless digital hot air that has been expended in holier-than-thou license flame wars, not a single one of these licenses has yet been tested in court. No one knows if they will actually work."

New channel: Real Beer News.

Fray Day 4 is tonight. Have a great party!

Jeff Cheney has started a mail list for aggregator.root. I expect to release the code tomorrow. It's running fine. I did less work than I thought I would.

I submitted my pictures for the Behind the Curtain project. Here's the script I used to generate the slideshow, it runs in either Frontier or Radio UserLand. It's open source, under the Let's Have Fun license. In other words, have fun, or my lawyer will call your lawyer.

Ralph Hempel compares the clarity of the Crossgain site with the Lightsurf site.

Andy Oram's report on O'Reilly's peer to peer "summit."

My comments, on the Decentralization list.

Sal Soghoian, Apple's product manager for AppleScript, is participating in a discussion on MacNN.

Want to be a technology journalist? Follow these steps.

Brent Simmons is a moody bastard.

Standard: For Amazon, Honesty May Not Be the Best Policy.

ZDNet: Gnutella is going down in flames.

Cringely: Search and Ye Might Find.

One of my least-favorite phrases: "You know as well as I that.." Better: "Do you agree that..?"


Dan Gillmor is a technology journalist, a real one.

He lives in the heart of Silicon Valley. And he asks questions other technology journalists don't.

"Will Silicon Valley hit a wall? Lord knows the valley has become a paradigm of the momentum phenomenon. Yet when you look at the money sloshing around the place, it's hard to see how the Bay Area economy could take too much of a hit. That's what all the smart people say, anyway."


I've been smoking the peacepipe with Philippe Kahn. This morning he sent an email saying that his LightSurf software implements SOAP. I wrote back saying "That means that Radio UserLand will work with your stuff". He said "Precisely."

Excellent. Blades of grass popping through the fertile earth. 1980s-era software czars work together in the 21st Century.

Progress report on aggregator.root 

Fact: aggregator.root is old.

It's a maze. It dates back to the early days of guest databases in Frontier. It predates Manila. As I work on the release of aggregator.root, this is in my face at every step.

It's good to do this review, because it reminds me how much we've learned since this code was written.

Therefore, I'm rewriting it. Making it simpler and more self-contained. I want to give the working group a good start with clean code that works.

So it might be a couple of days. In the meantime, Jeff Cheney has volunteered to take custody of aggregator.root, and run a mail list for people who want to work on the code. Thanks Jeff, I accept your offer.

This is going to be a fork because we're going to keep running the old code on our aggregator, at least for now. I have to stay with the evolution of Radio UserLand, Manila and Frontier. But I want the aggregator to be part of the UserLand community.

Self-documenting XML 

Teaser: Could a courageous format find a new home with a new name? Why not?

As they say in baseball, it ain't over till the fat lady sings.

"I believe XML formats should be designed as end-user software is designed. Hack at the details, make every feature justify itself, reduce every three-step process to one if you can. Do it over and over, and then work on the top level.

"I'm like Steve Jobs on this. I think when you lift the hood you should see a beautifully designed machine that invites you to understand and then use it."

There's a lot of value in the simplicity of RSS 0.91. It isn't surprising that other working groups would like to join the tree of RSS applications, and bring them into their content flows.

The subject of human-readability came up this morning on a W3C mail list. I pointed to the OPML spec, which says its design goals are to be a "transparently simple, self-documenting, extensible and human readable format that's capable of representing a wide variety of data that's easily browsed and edited."

With all due respect to my colleagues in in the W3C, I want to make XML popular, and in order to be popular, it's gotta be easy. Ordinary Web developers should learn something by simply reading the XML file. I want a simple idea to pop into their heads. "I can do that!" Most XMLizations make me want to close the file, quickly.


Last update: Friday, September 22, 2000 at 8:35 PM Eastern.

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