Weblog Archive >  2000 >  October Previous/Next

Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, October 31, 2000. Tuesday, October 31, 2000

DaveNet: Virtual Bandwidth

NY Times: Napster users mourn end of free music. "This is the end, my only friend, the end," wrote the fan, "No. 5446," quoting The Doors. "It hurts to set you free, but you'll never follow me." 

Reuters: Bertelsmann, Napster to Develop Music Service. "Under terms of the deal, Bertelsmann, parent of one of the five major music companies that is suing Napster for copyright infringement, agreed to withdraw its lawsuit once Napster successfully introduces the new membership-based service." 

I received a copy of an email from Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middlehoff. "The deal with Napster is courageous and visionary. Bertelsmann will no doubt be commended for it, but also criticized, and we have to be prepared for that. I am fully convinced that we're doing the right thing." 

On the Pho list, a general consensus that the Bertelsmann deal is a no-op. What changed? Bertelsmann said they will work with Napster after the court case is settled and Napster is operating a legal service. So what really happened? 

Evan Williams reports that there are 12,355 new Blogger sites this month. Breath-taking. Congratulations to the Pyra folk from the little-guys!  

One thing I've learned is that when someone rises to the top of something it's not an accident. Too many times people believe that it was a fluke, or they kissed up to someone or slept with someone, but I've been around enough people who get somewhere and have learned that it's better to assume those people know what they're doing. The Blogger folk are smart. I haven't missed that. Keep on truckin. 

BTW, we still love all the Manila sites. Speaking of love, I met the Cabinet guy at the NY Scripting News dinner. It's a New York site. More great stuff there, always. 

New channel: Jabber Central.  

Yesterday I moved the tagline one hop off the home page. With lots of new visitors, I felt it was more important to explain what Scripting News is. So when you click on the link in the tagline-spot, you'll get to the new What Is Scripting News? page. I've bookmarked that page so it's easy for me to update. 

Russ Lipton on Groove applications, including models for UserLand stuff in the context of Groove. (Disclaimer, I don't see any point in porting Frontier into Groove, that would be monumental, and not particularly interesting to me. Much more interested in integration technologies, XML-RPC, SOAP, COM.) 

I finally downloaded and installed the Groove software. I'm curious -- has anyone on the Net gone contrarian to the consensus that Groove is heavy-duty? I know I'm supposed to look deeper. The demo apps are uninspiring. I know Ray said they would be. What's the hook? How do I get started using it?  

Wired: "The news couldn't be more shocking if the Catholic church suddenly announced it was embracing contraception: Apple is moving to a two-button mouse." 

New weblog: Chicken Soup for the Zombie Soul. "Ha! I love Halloween, the living think we're just wearing good costumes! You can walk right up to them and start eating their brains, and they'll think you're just putting on a show!" 

Brian Ablaza reported a bizarre and scary problem, probably related to a bug in Apple Events on Mac OS. A fascinating discussion followed. 

Mike Carney started his weblog in June 1997. 

If you love baseball, baseball-reference.com is for you. What a resource! Wow. 

If you love money, the CEO Wealth Meter is for you. That's a lot of money! Wow. (It's actually kind of interesting. You could send John Warnock an email and congratulate him for making more than $13 million today. How many people do you know who you could send that kind of email to? I wonder if this makes him happy? Hey Michael Dell made over $382 million today. Not bad. Larry Ellison made over $3 billion today. Yowsa.) 

Edd Dumbill: P2P may succeed where tired web apps fail. I want to defend the Web apps. So few people know how good it can be. I hate to see companies do one-off CMSes. I hate to see whole communities waste tons of time because their favorite religion hasn't produced the software they want. We're going to be using the Web for a long time to come. I think the tiredness comes from expectation that the solutions are going to come in a certain way from a certain group of people.  

Hey Brent popped through, the Mac OS X software is now running Manila. 

Permanent link to archive for Monday, October 30, 2000. Monday, October 30, 2000

Survey for consenting adults who run weblogs. 

Mail starting 10/30/00 is all about Groove. I love you guys. You're all over it. While I was sunbathing in Miami. What a great life.  

Jonas Beckman has a Hello World tool for Groove. 

If you like Mac OS X, Brent would like you to look at this screen shot

Ohaha: "Most of our contributors are currently located in the Ukraine, and we also have access to the advice of some of the most seasoned Internet entrepreneurs in the world." 

Jon Udell: Let's Groove with Ray Ozzie

Do I have baseball pictures? Yes I do! 

Here are some Yankees fans waiting for a train to the Bronx. Do you see any philosophy here? Hmmm.  

Add a Mets fan and all of a sudden the eyes light up! 

I had the misfortune of sitting next to a six-year-old Yankees fan named Stephen. I admire his perseverence. He was a total pain in the butt. One of the problems of a so-called Subway Series is that we had almost as many Yankees fans as Mets fans. The Mets fans prevailed, of course, even though the Mets themselves, didn't. 

Shea Stadium has an old-fashioned scoreboard. It's an old stadium. Of course I remember when it was the newest stadium in the major leagues. Oy. 

Here's what the action looked like from my seat. 

Blah blah blah the end of the world blah blah blah. 

Motley Fool: "About.com agrees to be acquired by niche magazine firm Primedia in a $690 million stock deal, which is intended to integrate the old media and new media worlds." 

WSJ: "Microsoft will rent its software to consumers on a per-use basis for the first time next month through the easyEverything chain of budget Internet cafes." 

Brent's been working on the Mac OS X version of Frontier. The goal is to get Manila sites running on Apple's new OS asap. 

Jakob Nielsen says Flash is 99 percent bad. 

After the Greater New York Scripting News dinner last week, I definitely want to do one in the home court. Is there anything like Katz's Deli in San Francisco?  

There's a WSJ article on Weblogs, I read it on the plane from Miami to San Francisco this morning, but MSNBC didn't pick it up. If you spot it on the Web, please send me a pointer. 

Lawrence Lee found the WSJ article on Weblogs. "This link will probably stop working in a few days," he says. 

I love the Vaio, it's a great little machine but there's nothing like having a desktop with a big screen and a "real" keyboard. 

Now that I'm back, one of my first things to do is to get Groove installed on my system. Have you been using it? Want to write a mini-review? Send it to me and I'll start a mail page. Lots of catching up to do here.  

Register: Is Groove the new Napster? 

I juz gotta say one-a ting to the people who get interviewed for all the weblogs columns who read Scripting News, don't you love me? Can't get no respec. Where you think the style came from? The little wink in your link.  

Have some nice Italian cheesecake, onna me. 


Permanent link to archive for Sunday, October 29, 2000. Sunday, October 29, 2000

Inside.Com: "While AOL execs are mostly mum about the specifics, Barry Schuler, the president of AOL's interactive services group, said that the combination of new software and Warner Music content would allow the company to set an example for other record labels to follow. ''We'll use our assets to provide leadership that selling music online is not a bad thing, but an opportunity,' said Schuler. ''Our strategy is to show the way.''' 

Adam Curry: "So, I say, 'send all the info you have into my home server the minute it is ready for consumption, but don't tell me until it is fully loaded on my machine. Using this model that I could easily watch a 30 minute news program in full screen MPEG quality right on my PC at 6 oclock in the afternoon, as long as the content was sent to my home server beforehand, since I wasn't even home at 4pm when the first news packages in Hi quality where uploaded to my Last Yard connection!" This is an important idea. 

Paul Everitt on the PythonLabs move to Digital Creations. Everitt is the CEO of DC. 

Dutch article on EditThisPage.Com. "EditThisPage is een handig en snel systeem om voornamelijk nieuwsgeoriënteerde websites op te zetten, waarbij inhoud en lay-out zijn gescheiden." 

Screen shot of a simple OPML parser in Squeak by Bruce O'Neel

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, October 28, 2000. Saturday, October 28, 2000

John VanDyk was curious how much it would cost to set up a server to run the ArsDigita community software as a front-end for an Oracle database.  

Reading this article on the plane from NY to Miami yesterday made me weep.  

"If you're a New York baseball fan who loves a parade, it has to be double the fun and double the pleasure if both the Yankees and the Mets are on the floats." 

"The losing team will still be a World Series team worthy of a Lower Broadway thank-you, if only for having won a league championship." 

You bet! The Mets are amazing, fantastic, a team with a philosophy. Let's go Mets! 

If only every faceoff and misunderstanding in families, business, life in general, could be resolved by having a parade where everyone is included, honored and celebrated. 

Permanent link to archive for Friday, October 27, 2000. Friday, October 27, 2000

NY Times: Microsoft says online break-in lasted six weeks

Guido: "I am proud to have found a new home for my entire team: starting today, Tim Peters, Barry Warsaw, Jeremy Hylton, Fred Drake and myself are working for Digital Creations. We will be spending part of our time on core Python development (including Jython and Mailman) and part of our time on Python infrastructure improvements that also benefit Zope." 

I'm heading out for Miami, and will be busy having fun this weekend, so don't expect too many updates. In the meantime, the following link from ZopeNewbies caught my attention. 

Arsdigita: Building an Online Community. "As far as we can tell, there are only two open-source pre-integrate toolkits for building Web applications: ArsDigita Community System (ACS) -- our own baby, [and] Zope. Zope is an honest reliable effort built by good programmers to a vastly higher standard of engineering quality than any of the closed-source commercial application servers." 

In response I have a couple of comments. First, we ship a lot of source at UserLand, so closed-source is an unfairly perjorative term, it hurts to see those kinds of divisions continue to be promoted. And while I have respect for Zope and genuinely like the people who work on it, I think Frontier is quite a bit further ahead in this area. And I don't think ArsDigita's or Zope's engineering quality is any higher than ours. Also, we help Zope. I think Greenspun is out of step with what's going on. We're trying to get the warfare to stop. These kinds of sweeping generalizations, not based on any research, as far as I can tell, don't help. Thanks for listening. 

Now it's time to go to Miami. 

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, October 26, 2000. Thursday, October 26, 2000

Heard on the 7 train returning from the last game of the Subway Series. An older man (not me) to a young Mets fan. "Son, if you're going to be a Mets fan your heart is going broken, a lot." It's true! We know about losing. The Mets began as a team famous for losing in flamboyant, unpredictable and interesting ways. Let's never forget that. Losing is part of what the Mets are about. Other teams and their fans don't understand that. It's OK. 

NY Times article on the Yankees' victory. 

Weblogs.Com is down this evening, getting a hardware upgrade.  

Mail starting 10/19/00 includes comments from Sean Parker on Napster and P2P, and Russ Lipton on Groove. Parker asked me not to say what his relationship to Napster is, but a Google search reveals some interesting articles. 

Ken Dow is offering an "intensive, hands-on two day course on designing and managing Manila Web sites."  

I've been going for daily walks through Manhattan and am struck by all the Inside.Com ads mocking the dotcommers. One guy says "If we don't get this site on the air in three minutes we're toast." The other guy is thinking "At least toast has a business model." So the backlash isn't just a San Francisco thing. Now I wonder what comes next? 

Somehow I missed that Napster/Mac is now available. 

I spent a couple of days brainstorming with Adam Curry about the future of Radio UserLand and Manila. It's been very useful. He has dug in deeper than I thought he had. On his weblog he promises to write up the things we talked about. He was at the Scripting News dinner last night and scratched the surface of the things we talked about. My European programming friends are going to be happy to hear that Adam is working on the programmer's commune, in Belgium, and has figured out a way to pay for it. He's savvy and ambitious and asks tough questions, which is very useful. 

News.Com: The P2P Myth. The shortest-lived hype balloon? 

Several Manila-related updates went out to Frontier users last night. 

Washington Post: Clutch-hitting Piazza is a Fall Classic

Had an interesting-but-brief talk with Dan Bricklin at the Groove rollout. Dan is CTO of Trellix. He told me about a picture-editing program they're developing to work with their browser-based CMS. A Manila user asked him to make it work with Manila. I said "That would be great!" Dan said "But we have to figure out how to make money." I said "Dan your company just raised $35 million, why are you worried about that?" I guess I was teasing. Sorry. But the answer is obvious. Make money the old fashioned way. Charge for the software. I would encourage people to pay for it if it's good. Why not? 

Fortune: 50 Lessons. "The best way to monetize your customers is to sell them a product or service for a healthy profit." Exactly. 

One of the things I've noticed, not just with Dan's company, is that when the VCs get involved, they tend to lose the open-interface choice-first philosophy of the Internet. If you don't let your users choose which CMS back-end they hook into, imho, you force competition to develop. Better to have open interfaces from the start. 

Another form of openness that's going to matter as people start putting real content in their free websites, is giving them access to the databases behind the websites. The users won't stay dumb forever. 


Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, October 25, 2000. Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Radio UserLand took a big step today towards being a nicer HTML editor. It now has support for wizzy styles, bold, italic and underline, and links. No more text-cluttering HTML codes for common formats and links. Screen shot.  

No nice way to say this. The Mets lost game four, we're down 3-1 in the series. These are times when it helps to have a strong philosophy. 

Tonight's Scripting News dinner was at Katz's Deli, 205 East Houston Street at Ludlow. 212-254-2246. 8PM. It was great, as usual. I'll write more about it tomorrow for sure. 

Hey the cool thing about being in NY is that you don't have to act like you're not from NY.  

Dan Gillmor's Groove article. Now, remembering that I like Groove, there are other points to consider. It's clearly not about the Web. The first feature requests, imho, will be about bringing it closer to the Web. We want to help with that, with connections to Manila. Also the demo apps are reminiscent of the early demo apps for Hypercard and Marimba's Castanet. Another platform where the apps are up to the users. Of course Frontier was there too at one time, and so was Notes (I hear). In the end it's not up to the users, it's up to the platform vendor to decide what it's used for, and then promote that as opposed to promoting the platform. There's a lot of thoughtful work in Groove, but there's still a lot of thoughtful work that remains. That's why being in it for the long haul is so important. 

Hey I just got invited to join a Groove workspace. Yes, the invitation is in XML. Here's a screen shot of the XML file in case your browser doesn't like XML. Lots of binary stuff. 

The cover story of the latest Business Week is about Microsoft Dot-Net. After reading the article I had a strong belief that Microsoft has absolutely no idea what they're doing. The reporter worked on the story for several months. I talked with him three times. He had access to everyone at Microsoft. In the end, there's still no clear two-sentence explanation of what the hell it is. How can a company as large as Microsoft pursue something so vague? 

Here's my two-sentence description of Dot-Net, which also happens to be the value in P2P. The Web is great because it brought easy-to-use networking to desktop computer users, but desktop computers are capable of much more than browsing the Web, as are desktop computer users. The next step in the evolution of software is to re-integrate the capabilities of desktop computers with the ease-of-use of Web-based networking. That Microsoft plays an important role in this is obvious. (OK, it's three sentences.) 

I had breakfast this morning with Clay Shirky. Smart guy. 

NY Times: Mets 4, Yankees 2. "The Mets may have been helped by the return to their ballpark, but also to real baseball, rather than the bogus brand played in the American League. Like a rogue elephant, the designated hitter rule squats in the center of the World Series, leaving its odoriferous presence." 

Basically if there were no designated hitter rule, guys like Roger Clemens would have to be more careful about where they throw the ball (and bats now too). If he had to step up to the plate, you can be sure his body would eventually (immediately) make contact with a 90+ mph fastball. 

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, October 24, 2000. Tuesday, October 24, 2000

Evening pointers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

World Series game 3 is underway. In NY a sense of gloom that the bad guys are winning the World Series. I have no such feeling. Sure the Mets are in a tough spot. The Mets are always in a tough spot. That's the nature of the team. You might say it's part of their philosophy.

On the Syndication mail list a sense of gloom that the bad guys are winning the struggle for the soul of RSS. I have no such feeling. I'm sure they think they're doing the right thing. The term RSS already means something. Just because a handful of developers think they can redefine it don't make it so. Eventually they'll come to the table as reasonable people and work with us. I have no doubt about this.

Paul Reed is "working on an XML book for MS Press and am considering the benefit of having both a chapter on SOAP and another one on XML-RPC."

Newsweek: The Semantic Web. "The Web would never have happened if there had been a central point of control; if there had been, for example, central registration of Web sites for a fee."

Email on the Fortune piece Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'm starting to get email from the Fortune piece, I guess the print version must be coming out?

Glad I asked for a pointer to scripting.com. I'm gettin smart in my old age, as my parents used to say I would.

Anyway, if you're coming here from Fortune, welcome! I update this site several times a day. If you liked what I said in Fortune, you'll probably also like this article, which expands on the theme; and this one, which explains why security isn't possible after childhood is over (it was just an illusion then, anyway), and check this one out too, which explains the power of forgiveness.

Now I mostly talk about software on this site, but software is mostly for human beings, so a little humanity comes into it every one in a while (actually all the time).

Afternoon notes Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Steve Gillmor has a long interview with Ray Ozzie.

Russ Lipton has an Ozzie interview on the Groove site.

Jon Udell has an interview on the O'Reilly site.

Other stories: News.Com, NY Times, WSJ.

Lots of old friends and familiar faces at the Groove launch. It was a good show, I wish they had skipped the partners' talks, they droned on and on and on about Disruptive Technologies and Peer to Here, the kinds of stuff that fills the pages of the trade rags.

The Q&A part was the best. They talked about competitors and I asked if they thought the competition would be compatible, and Ray said that they want to work out public protocols that they can support. Ray is also evangelizing XML-RPC and SOAP interfaces for network services.

Doc Searls is in NY too.

Groove launch Permanent link to this item in the archive.

These notes are from the early morning, before the launch event.

Ray Ozzie's Groove has launched. You can download the software, get some tools, and join their community. You guys are going to be ahead of me, I can't download the software on this slow line.

Here's my spin on it. Groove is a platform for development of tools you can use in a collaborative fashion across the Internet, like chat, or a discussion group, where the events that are distributed are user interactions, keystrokes, mouse clicks, etc. You could write a draw program or a PowerPoint clone that worked at this level. They have a simple outliner tool. As I understand it, the tools are specified in XML. It's possible to add-in functionality that connects through XML-RPC and SOAP. It allows long-term conversations, people can disconnect and then reconnect and get synchronized. The messages are encrypted, making it difficult for others to add compatible endpoints.

An example in our world, you could use Groove to collaborate on the development of a website. All the team members would be part of the project, and would fill in milestones and questions as the project goes forward. Now is this better than other approaches? I don't know, we'll give it a try for sure.

What's not to like? Well, it's Windows-only now, a Unix version is promised. And there are patents involved somehow.

Bottom-line: I like Groove. The product is nice to look at, appears to be well architected, and Ray and his team appear to be in it for the long haul, and want to work with others. This is refreshing, and patents or no patents, this deserves encouragement. Let's build a network of small technology developers whose products work well together. I can see Ray nodding as he reads this.

I'll write more later, now I'm going to head over to their launch event which is a few blocks from my hotel.

Livin in the city Permanent link to this item in the archive.

It's 7AM in NY, 4AM in California. Now I get it. I live on east coast time on the west coast. Manhattan is so noisy! There are huge construction sounds in the middle of the night even in a relatively quiet neighborhood. For some reason the sounds don't matter so much here.

I've already had pizza. At 11PM I went looking, didn't have to go too far, and as I remembered even random pizza places in NY have great stuff.

My new computer is very fine, but there's one annoying glitch. Every few seconds it stops echoing keystrokes and mouse clicks. Windows 2000, Sony Vaio. I have net connection, it does it whether or not I'm connected. It didn't do this when I was in Calif with a LAN-based connection. If you have any advice, send me email, this is driving me crazy.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, October 23, 2000. Monday, October 23, 2000

DaveNet: Dinner in NY on Wednesday

I'm in NY. Lovin every minute. Let's Go Mets! 

TechWeb: Groove Gets it On

More discussion in the Where to Eat on Wednesday thread. It's looking like Katz's. "Send a salami to your boy in the Army." 

MSNBC: "Dozens of Manhattan-based dot-com companies — most of them in the downtown area known colloquially as 'Silicon Alley' — have closed their doors or seriously scaled down their operations in recent months." 

Looks like the dot-commers are screwing up NY too. Ratner's might not even be open. 

Clay Shirky: ''Ratners! You can't have really grown up here if you have trouble deciding between Ratner's and Katz's. They should name a disease after you if you drag a bunch of greasy-food neophytes to Ratner's. I will be at Katz's at 8 on Wednesday. Hope to see you there. '' 

The Manila site got its redesign last night. 

I'll be at this trade show on Wednesday. Let me know if you've got a product you'd like me to look at there. Trade shows are usually pretty boring. Maybe this one won't be?  

Qube Quorner quontinues to impress. 

Disturbing Search Requests hits a milestone. "Google has finally indexed this site and sends us about 50 visitors a day. I really want to know how people feel when they end up in a place where everyone has fun with their search terms." 

NY Times: "The Mets are in serious trouble. The Mets must win four of the next five games against the Yankees, who have won six of their last seven games." It's true that the Mets are in serious trouble. But the Mets do their best work when they're in serious trouble. 

Clemens should have been ejected from the game for throwing the shattered bat at Piazza. Here's why. Clemens' bean-ball, bat throwing tactics work. "Before that encounter in July, he practically owned Clemens. Piazza was 7-for-12 lifetime against him, with three homers and a double. Sunday night, Piazza went 0-for-3."  

I would love to see Clemens step up to the plate himself. Unfortunately the American League has the designated hitter rule, which means the pitcher almost never bats. If the Yankees weren't apologists for Clemens, if they had philosophy, they'd have saved him for Shea, a National League stadium. 

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, October 22, 2000. Sunday, October 22, 2000

The Web Standards Project website is back. "Some content, representing months of work, has been irretrievably lost, and many functions will need to be rebuilt from scratch." I've offered UserLand's help. WSP is important.  

I know how WSP feels, I had another disk crash this afternoon on my desktop. I'm writing this on my new laptop, moving all the files I can get across. I hate computers. 

I don't know how Zeldman feels, but his personal note is a reminder that when life calls, you have to answer. Best wishes to the Zeldman family and to Zeldman himself. 

A story about the love of a mother

The ICE working group has a cookbook that shows you, step by step, how to build an ICE server. It's in PDF format. This is the easy ramp to ICE we were looking for.  

Survey: We're going to have a Scripting News dinner in Manhattan on Wednesday evening, with special guest Adam Curry. Will you participate?  

I started a new discussion group for Wednesday's dinner. 

I'm calling NY hotels now, they're all booked! Oy yoy yoy. (Postscript: We found a room at the Grammercy Park Hotel. It's cheap! So I went for a suite with a park view. I know the neighborhood, it's a great location. Happy.) 

Now I'd like to focus on where we eat on Wednesday. Something Jewish please. Or maybe we make two stops, one for Jewish food and one for pizza? Somewhere around Houston or Delancey. Katz's? Ratner's? Or uptown (relatively) at the 2nd Avenue Deli? What do you think? 

Adam has been playing around with HTML Directories and newsfeeds.  

dot-geo is a "proposed new top-level domain name which has been submitted to ICANN by SRI International - .geo provides an open and scalable infrastructure to index, discover, and serve any information on the web based upon the latitude-longitude location of the data being referred to." 

Baseball Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Welll, the Mets lost, and I'm sure I'm not the first to say they deserved to lose. Mistake after mistake, it was amazing that Mets went into the bottom of the 9th with a lead, and they could have won if not for more mistakes.

Base-running errors, wild pitches, why did they take out Franco? But it was close. The longest World Series game in history, of course, the Mets always win in extra innings. Not this time. OK, there's another game tonight.

I hope they have a talk about base-running in the Mets clubhouse. Base-runners run, they don't wait to find out if a ball is fair, and they don't trot around the bases for a ball might be a home run (it wasn't). I think, I hope the Mets get that it's not the Subway Series, it's the World Series. We haven't been in it since 1986. Let's win guys.

Dear readers, these lessons apply to everything not just baseball. When you hit a long ball, don't start celebrating until the umpire calls it a home run.

NY Times: "Zeile lofted a drive to left field and promptly pumped his arm as if he'd done something wonderful. Perez felt the same way, and meandered his way past second base." Ooops.

Listening to trivia Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Baseball is a total festival of trivia. Every fact is sliced and diced in twenty different ways to fill the time. Especially a marathon like last night's Mets-Yankees game.

While watching the game I thought about O'Reilly's P2P taxonomy. (I can feel some people cringe now, in a virtual sense, some don't like it when I talk about O'Reilly, but they're a public player and what they do is subject to comment. Thanks for remembering that.)

It could be sliced in different ways. How many of the apps on their page are for Unix and how many for Windows or Mac? Surprisingly a few are for Windows and Mac. Bravo! Somehow we managed to get included officially in O'Reilly's view of the software universe.

Another bravo -- they're not all open source either.

So, in a way I've gotten my wish. I wished that O'Reilly and other open source leaders would open the Holy Land, and let the rest of us in. Jon Udell says that Tim is a meme hacker, it's kind of clever, he didn't say we're cool like open source projects, but he did find a way to say we're cool anyway. Maybe at some time in the future open source will be a checkbox, not necessarily a seal of approval, just a fact about a piece of software, like what OS it runs on or how much memory it requires.

If you think these things aren't important, think again. I spent years trying to get included in Apple's view of the software universe, after having played some kind of role in getting the Mac accepted. Eventually I retired from software after realizing that nothing I did could make the magic inclusion happen. This was good, because it opened the space for me to become an Internet developer.

Finally the Internet can be even greater if we don't have to wait for the Unix guys to reinvent all the stuff we've already made. That's worth a slice of cheesecake, imho.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, October 21, 2000. Saturday, October 21, 2000

DaveNet: An Open Holy Land.  

OK, so how does Wednesday sound for a Scripting News dinner in NY? Some place with a TV set and lots of room and good food. We're going to get loud. I think Adam Curry will be joining us from Amsterdam. Where should we have it? I need some help here. I'll be staying in Manhattan, of course. 

World Series: Yankees win 4-3 in 12th. (Game 1) 

Hey on the Groove site they're saying the announce date is on Tuesday. Excellent. I'm going to be at their launch event.  

Tour Cuba in photos on NetDyslexia. 

Thanks to the NetDyslexia guys for doing a version of Weblogs.Com that works well with Netscape 4.  

O'Reilly's P2P directory is a fair start. Not sure if things break down that way. I cringe at the description of Radio UserLand, it's so much more, but it's our fault, the website hasn't kept pace with the software. I was glad to see Manila included in the Writeable Web category.  

On the XML-DEV list we're talking about practical startup projects for the Semantic Web. It's a good way to get to the core of what people think it is, to remove the abstractions, and look for a way to demo it. Perhaps the project that O'Reilly has started would work better as a Semantic Web directed graph, because just in the things I know, I see the taxonomy they've chosen falling down. Shouldn't Jabber and BXXP be in the same class as XML-RPC and SOAP? I think they're on a continuum. And shouldn't ebXML be there too? ICE? The more I think about this the more I think it's about organizing all the current projects on the net that are trying to do something new. And I don't see an obvious place to put Groove. (I'm such a tease.) 

Survey: How do you feel about the demise of ThirdVoice? 

Today's song: The Goodbye Look. "The surf was easy on the day I came to stay on this quiet island in the bay. I remember a line of women all in white, the laughter and the steel bands at night." 

Looks like someone hijacked Microsoft.Com? Wes says no. Someone registered a long sentence-like domain name that begins with microsoft.com. I'm confused. Not a big surprise. Happens a lot when you get to be my age. 

Fairvue.Com: We didn't start the Weblogs. Fantastic! 

Tom Van Alten: My most-used home software

Salon: Inside the Texas Death Machine. "What we were trying to do in this piece was shine a light on a hidden corner of America," Abramson said, "and let people know what it is that happens in the 20 minutes before someone is put to death."  

BBC: Quake blows away design problems. "The grizzly blow-em-away computer game Quake II has been modified to allow architects' clients to 'run around' virtual buildings - without the guns and monsters." 

Fortune: "It turned out that yellow sticky notes might be a great way of getting attention from the press, but was a crummy way of communicating with thousands of people. Very few Web pages were visited by enough Third Voice users to get a real discussion going." 

I'm getting a new laptop tomorrow. Lucky me! 

Fawny.Org: "The Internet kids need to grow up and start taking care of each other." 

Fox News: "'This is what I call the coward's hat,' said a beaming Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, holding up a baseball cap that appeared to be half-Yankees, half-Mets cap." 

The Baseball God: "Vendors sold baseball caps that were split in two, one side with the green and gold As look, and the other side with the black and orange Giants look. The logo in the front was split in two, half a gold A and half an orange SF." 

Permanent link to archive for Friday, October 20, 2000. Friday, October 20, 2000

This is frustrating. My hard disk crashed this afternoon. Five wasted hours, followed by many more hours (tomorrow) restoring bookmarks and settings and sigs, getting back all my cookies, getting everything working again. While I was getting it back up, I was emailing with Doc from my laptop.

Thanks for responding to my pushback. Happy to talk about it. Right after posting all that stff my hard drive crashed (W2K). The problem is that ALL SOFTWARE SUCKS and we should all be working together to make it not suck. The open sorce gys are dreaming if they think they can do it all. Jean Louis Gassee once said sell what yo have (My U key is really flaky on this laptop). So until open source can deliver all that you need, yo're selling yorself out by saying open source rah rah rah. I love you Doc, keep on trckin.
This is exciting. I bought tickets to go to NY. Leaving Monday. I'll go to a big press event on Tuesday, and see the Mets play on Thursday. Friday I fly to Miami, strictly for pleasure. We should finally be able to do a Scripting News dinner in NY. Wednesday night? Someplace with a TV so we can watch the Mets kill the Yankees. 

This is revealing. Talked with my mom today about baseball (she's in NY, a former Dodgers fan, an original Mets fan, like me and everyone else in our family, it's the one thing we all agree on). She says she hates the Yankees too. Why? Because they were an all-white team when Jackie Robinson was breaking the color barrier with the Dodgers. I gotta go with her on that. The Yankees have no soul. Obviously. 

This is painful. My wisdom teeth which I keep on postponing dealing with are not happy. My face feels swollen. This is because I'm planning a big trip.  

This is embarassing. I searched for Manila, and our Manila came up before the one in the Philippines. Another embarassing search. I looked for "easy browser-based content management" and Manila was nowhere to be found. Ooops. 

I'm participating in a very intellectual conversation on NetDyslexia. Not! 

Waiting for the World Series to start. Tomorrow. 

Waiting for the rain to start. Any minute. 

One incredibly easy way to kill a mail list. 

Doc Searls on the Internet: "Who wired it? Try the open source development community, including the free software movement from which it grew. If you want to see a model of a craft-driven world in which every 'worker' is a free, autonomous and effective agent, there it is." Oy. 

Some people misunderstood my comment above. "Oy" is a statement of disapproval. Doc writes for a Linux pub. I guess he has to make it seem as if open source developers saved the software world, and that open source projects are some kind of utopia. It's unrealistic. What's real? Doc uses a lot of software that's not open source. In fact, most usable software is not open source. While I admire and love Doc, and was cheering his piece about Nader (what a fool) I think Doc puts on the blinders for his bosses, like so many do. So there! 

This is why I value Doc as a friend.  

I decided to set an example and made a list of software I use, in frequency and whether it is open source or not. 

Soundbitten: How Scient helped Verde.com go from launch to bankruptcy in less than 60 days. What a shame. Instead of spending millions with Scient for a one-off CMS that didn't work, they could have gotten Frontier for $899 and been writing stories in a couple of hours. 

Wired: Computers, Real Cheap! "Jim Willard was watering his front yard when he first had the idea for the paper computer." 

CNN: "'We went into it with our eyes wide open,' said Dan Beldy, a Hummer Winblad partner. Beldy was referring to the Silicon Valley venture firm's decision to take an ownership stake in San Mateo-based Napster last May." 

The Standard: "At a September campaign stop in Sunnyvale, Calif., Gore was working a rope line when he spotted a guy holding a handheld device. 'Wow, is this the new Handspring Visor?' he said, grabbing it. 'Is it a beta version? Has it shipped yet?'" 

Angus Glashier is back. It was the wizzy editor that did the trick.  

Jeff Walsh on yesterday's DaveNet.  

To Jeff: It is a blessing to own your own time. I hope I didn't say that TM isn't worth having, it is worth having. Owning my own time is great. But I could own my own time with less money, I know that because I have always been this way. At times I get sucked into doing things I don't want to do, but even when I was broke I generally did what I wanted to do. However I've never felt secure. But I thought if I had a lot of money I would feel secure. Oooops, as they say.  

James Vornov: "Obviously, when you control wealth you have power to direct the use of that wealth. You can build schools, fund research, help the poor."  

To James: People don't love people who have so much money that they can build schools, in fact they generally despise them (they still take the money). Better to use your vote to create government that builds good schools. In any case, James doesn't respond to the point of the piece. Money doesn't buy security. Buying schools, funding research and helping the poor won't make you feel secure either. 

More mail

Today's song: Que Sera Sera. (It's on Napster, totally worth singing along with.) 

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, October 19, 2000. Thursday, October 19, 2000

DaveNet: Transcendental Money

Mail starting 10/19/00

The NY Times has a special website for the Subway Series. More than one article talks about Civil War. This is good. No need to buy earthquake insurance. I'm going to buy plane tickets tomorrow. Definitely gotta go. 

Today we had an all-day all-hands meeting starting at 9AM to talk about the top level of Radio UserLand. Is it a Web writing tool, a Manila-website editor, or the browser and writing tool for the World Outline? Yes to all. Now how to arrange the commands and windows so all its power is comprehensible to a newbie? That's our challenge.  

Fairfax: Adobe.Com domain name relocates to China

Cory Doctorow explains why Intel's P2P workingroup meeting was a dud. My own theory of What Went Wrong is that Intel didn't lie well enough. Like Larry Ellison in Que Sera Sera. But a lie is a lie whether you smile or give away warm fuzzy teddy bears. I actually prefer lies bold and in the face, saves the trouble of debating whether they're lies. That P2P needs a centralized authority is the lie, btw. 

NY Post: Red Hot Tix for World Series. "Fans are going to have to dig into their deep pockets if they hope to see the Bombers play the Amazin's. Tickets are selling from $1,500 to $4,500 for box seats, $800 for nosebleed seats in the outfield, and as much as $800 in the bleachers. Tickets in the upper deck and the bleachers have a face value of between $160 to $50." 

Susan Kitchens tells the story of her trip to Ground Zero, with pictures. 

Zeldman: "Network Solutions informed us that a character named Jeffrey Zeldman was attempting to modify the DNS record, and requested that Jeffrey Zeldman verify that Jeffrey Zeldman had permission to make this request." 

What ever became of the joke-telling camera? 

Luke Tymowski: "Writing about the Qube also requires access to current products. Imagine writing about the great pyramids in Egypt having only seen a picture of one — you won’t get far." 

Luke also says he gets mail saying he's "a loser because they take me to be some sort of Dave Winer flunkey." I often wonder if the people who send me abusive email turn to people who are associated with me, people who work for UserLand, or who run sites I point to, like Luke's. In Jeff Shelton's essay yesterday and Luke's today is a hint that they are getting abusive emails.  

A word of encouragement to people who write publicly, passing on something that was said to me a few years ago by a journalist. Look at the Letters to the Editor page in magazines. You'll see abusive people saying nasty personal things about public writers. This isn't a new thing. If you go through it, you'll be a better writer. Not sure if this is true, but mean readers are a fact of life. Email makes communication easier, and that includes abusive communication. 

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, October 18, 2000. Wednesday, October 18, 2000

Don't look now, but the Frontier site has a new look. Now that it looks so pretty, I'm starting a rewrite of the home page. It's long overdue.  

A theme is developing. Our witness is the cactus. On Scripting News he's in the desert southwest. On the Frontier site he visits Egypt (hence the pyramid hint I dropped a few days ago, heh heh he). I guess he'll be in the Philippines on the Manila site. Now, where else should our friendly cactus go? Fun and interesting places, I hope! 

Wired: "Only Steve Jobs could turn a dreadful earnings forecast into an exciting and hopeful glimpse into the future." 

Bill Humphries has an XSL stylesheet for OPML documents.  

Adobe.Com has been hijacked. Thanks to CamWorld for the info, and a haunting email about how hard it has been to get Adobe in the loop. Here's what www.adobe.com looks like this afternoon. (It's a hack, the links go nowhere.) 

Python Labs: Python 2.0

Financial Times: "The question of whether software should be patentable, which divides industry and governments alike, is to be formally addressed by the European Commission." 

Thanks to Jim Roepcke for the screen shot of Scripting News on the OmniWeb browser on Mac OS X. 

Jeff Shelton: Where does ZopeNewbies go from here? I think it's time for a Big Group Hug for Jeff, who totally embodies the spirit of both Manila and Zope (although I can't speak for either really). What a great job he's done. Now he wants some help, let's figure out how to make Zope Newbies better at serving the needs of the newbies, and at the same time keep it humane for whoever picks up the ball. 

What is BountyQuest

What is BrightIdea.Com

Forbes: Zaplet snags $90 million. "Lotus will have to build their own unless [Zaplet's] patent will convince them to do a deal much like Microsoft licensed Java initially to make it part of the Web browser." Oy, I guessed that patents are at the core of their strategy. HTML email is a nice idea. I doubt if Zaplet invented it. 

NY Times: "Still, Mr. Alsop insisted that he remained a big believer in the future of the Internet. 'This is an immutable thing," he said. "There are still plenty of multibillion-dollar firms left in our future.'" 

John VanDyk's cat: "It sure is difficult to keep meowing for 45 minutes but he finally heard me and let met up." 

Susan Kitchens: "On Saturday morning, 7 October, I ate breakfast and scribbled some notes before I went to see Ground Zero in the White Sands Missile Range near Alomogordo, New Mexico." 

Oy yoy yoy. It's a Subway Series. BFD. The Mets have a philosophy. The Yankees suck. But here's the thing I will always love about NY -- its unapologetic arrogance. "New York City is back at the center of the baseball universe, where most of its citizens undoubtedly believe it should be." Now that's a philosophy. The Mets even in the bozo years, knew that we were in the eye of the storm, or the center of the universe, whatever you want to call it. When I went to high school I rode the 7 train to Grand Central, where I switched to the 4 train to the Bronx. So I am familiar with the route. I even rode it to the Bronx when the Mets won the World Series in 1969, when the Yankees fans were happy that the Mets won the series. Let me tell you this. No Mets fan will be happy if the Yankees win. The Times goes on to say "there is nothing inevitable about these Yankees." You got it babe. 

To the many Mariners fans who read Scripting News, good job! An impressive team with lots of spirit. Someday the Mets will beat the Mariners in the World Series. I can feel it in my bones. 

PS: I managed to get a *free* ticket to Thursday's game at Shea, it's game five, so it's pretty likely that unless the Mets sweep the Yankees I can go. Now it's a matter of finding the time. I think I can. NY here I come? 

From Faisal's quote file, under U: "The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding," attributed to John Updike. 

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, October 17, 2000. Tuesday, October 17, 2000

The new dual-view discussion group is now available on all UserLand-hosted Manila sites. (We're finding and fixing some small bugs before releasing the feature to Frontier customers.) 

Today's baseball: Mariners vs Yankees. A must-win game for Seattle. CNN asks "Does anyone outside of Seattle want to see the Mariners in the World Series?" Yes!! Baseball is serious. It's about philosophy. If there's a media circus, you'll get a big mess in NY, people will lose their lives, the infrastructure will crumble. Now you may wish that on NY, but I don't. So I'm rooting for the Mariners all the way. 

Fortune: "Once considered gods of the new economy, venture capitalists heartily endorsed some of the most disastrous excesses of the dot-com era. They may not have learned their lesson--but we should." 

Jamcracker, an ASP aggregator, raises $100 million; Firedrop raises $90 million. (Still looking for a pointer.) 

Gnutella in a Nutshell: "Imagine that I ask you a question, and you know that the answer is no. But instead of just telling me that, you proceed to ask everyone that you know what they think the answer is," Johnson said. "And they ask everyone they know ... and on and on." 

Skotos StoryBuilder builds on XML. "StoryBuilders can choose to edit the raw XML files or they can choose to use slightly prettier web-based interfaces – but in either case, [the XML is] always there." 

Dick Berry: The iceberg analogy of usage. "The look and feel of an interface is analogous to the syntax of a language. They describe how a user can interact with a system but not what the user can ask the system to do." Right on. 

On the Decentralization list, I posted an outline of our plan for distributed content at UserLand. The goal is to provide maximum convenience for people with all levels of expertise and persistence of net connections. Also important is thin-ness of the cloud. It should be possible to quickly implement it in any dynamic environment. 

Spicy Noodles: "extensions.postgreSQL is a DLL for connecting from UserLand Frontier to a PostgreSQL server process. The extension is cross-platform, it works with both the Mac OS and Windows version of Frontier." 

ESPN: "Already, Hillary Clinton's advisors are debating whether the U.S. Senate candidate should profess herself a lifelong Mets fan or a lifelong Yankees fan." Pfui! 

Salon: "Yo, if it ain't New Yawk pizza, it ain't pizza!"  

Today's song: Meet the Mets

Wetlog: "I decided to clean my ears." ROTFL! 

I think I'll clean my ears tonight.  

In defense of Mac OS X Permanent link to this item in the archive.

NY Times: "But Mr. Ozzie's company, concentrating on the Windows world, has deferred work on an Apple version. Mr. Ozzie said there was no point developing programs for the older Mac System 9 and that he judged Mac OS X as not yet mature enough to start work on."

I sent an email to Ray. "Develop for the Mac APIs. Mac OS X runs Mac apps. Further, if you develop for the 'Carbon' libraries, your software will run native on OS X."

Other comments. Markoff got it right, the user interface of Mac OS X is a problem for Apple. It's different from the UI of the Mac. I don't expect Mac OS X to be an end-user product for at least two-three years. It would be a mistake for Apple to pre-install Mac OS X as the default OS on new Macs until it's much smoother, imho.

On the other hand, Mac OS X makes a very good server OS. This makes total sense. It's BSD at its core. That's why my company's strategy is to ship a server-based app for Mac OS X, we think the market is perfect for this, right now, not in two-three years.

An easy powerful server, with user friendliness that Mac users like. Lots of strange concepts here for Unix folk. Yup some geeks like color and appreciate pretty interfaces. And people can access the apps over the Web.

(Our app is Manila, btw.)

Another quote: "A visit to Apple's Mac OS X Web site reveals pointers to only a handful of test programs that take full advantage of the new system. And none of them are from major software companies."

To John, who remembers when Microsoft wasn't a major software company, why do you care whether software comes from a major company? When was the last time a major company created a new exciting application? This benchmark of acceptance is rarely challenged.

Pushback to Apple Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The conversation is restarting. This is good!

I got an email from an Apple person asking me to explain why they should care about my software.

To paraphrase, "What have you done for the Mac in the last few years?"

Excellent question. My company has continued to debug and enhance its Mac software, and keep it moving in parallel with our Windows software, without annoying delays between versions. To us, the Mac is a first class platform.

Second, I've been an Apple developer since 1979, twenty-one years, so I think I know something about Apple culture. Apple has generally placed more value on converting developers who don't make software for the Mac. So if you want me to help the Mac, I'm glad to do it, but please fix this bug. It would be nice if we were rewarded for supporting the Mac.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, October 16, 2000. Monday, October 16, 2000

Yo! I'm in Fortune today. Look at that picture. Geez Louise. "When it all shakes out, sure, I guess a lot of people are going to be very rich. But you know, I was lucky to get kind of rich myself a few years ago. So I have a sort of, I think a relatively mature appreciation for what value there is in having money. It's not the last thing you have to do in your life." More here

Geez Louise! THE METS WON!!! National League Champs, Y2K. Philosophy rules! 7-0. Great pitching. Almost a brawl. More philosophy. Bring on the Mariners! You gotta believe. 

AP: Microsoft announces Windows in Cars. "Microsoft also introduced Car.Net, a set of standards it would like to see automakers and other companies adopt for in-car computing. Car.Net is based on open computer industry programming languages and standards - not Microsoft-only products." 

Salon: Nader packs em in at the Garden. "Bush and Gore Make Me Wanna Ralph." 

I saved a copy of Scripting News before yesterday's redesign. I like leaving a trail behind. It'll be interesting to look at in a couple of years. 

Sometimes having a database integrated with the content system works better. (The usual disclaimers apply, Murphy runs all websites, our system screws up too.) 

Murphy got the JavaLobby site today too.  

It seems Murphy is the sysadmin at the NY Times too. 

More change is coming Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Have you wished for a better discussion group behind the Manila editorial system? If you're like most of us Manila users, yeah, you have. So later today, or tomorrow (Murphy-willing) there will be a new feature in your Manila site.

You'll be able to turn on a topic-based user interface. Then you'll get both a chronologic view (the old way) and a topic-based DG browser. Important point, it will default off. You'll have to edit your prefs to turn it on.

Here's what a thread looks like in the topic-based browser. You get all the messages on one page. Whew.

And there are new templates for the discussion group. You can make them look any way you want. Our initial way is kind of cheesy. Show us how it really should look.

We hope this will make Manila work better for you, for members of your editorial/design teams, and for members of your communities.

Different strokes Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Brian Carnell on Free-Conversant. "Consider a quick comparison with Manila. [UserLand] recently announced that Manila now supports a separate template for the home page. A good feature, to be sure, but Conversant takes a much more sensible approach and allows me to create as many templates I want and assign them on a directory and even page-level basis."

We considered a deeper approach to multiple-templates in Manila, it would have been just as easy for us to implement. But our target user for Manila is not a developer, and generally doesn't think like one. I believe that the second template feature solves the problem in 90 percent of the cases, and for people who need more control, I'm happy that Free-Conversant is there and that Macrobyte is doing so well. (BTW, Frontier, which Manila is implemented in, allows as many templates as you want, with object oriented overrides, it's our developer-level offering.)

I think there's a scale of complexity in browser-based website editing. In some ways Blogger is simpler than Manila, and Manila is simpler than Free-Conversant. Choice is good.

Breathing the same fumes Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I was looking for the website for the Agenda conference, which is starting as I write this, in Phoenix (I'm in CA) and this is what I found first. Then I found a John Dvorak piece.

John Dvorak: "The same bunch of people go to the same conferences with their same friends and see the same demos and hear the same sales pitch and come out thinking the same thoughts. Their thinking is further reinforced as the same people boost and promote what they have heard amongst themselves. The laughable pen-based computer fad began this way, as did palmtop computing, set-top boxes, and the PIM revolution that brought us the now-defunct Lotus Agenda and Symantec Grandview. Well, these people are at it again."

I wrote a piece about the same Agenda. "Our infinite loop -- the condition we fail to test. In the past, have we ever seen the future correctly? No. We forget that every time we've tried to head-trip our way into the future we always get it wrong. The future happens anyway. It isn't ours to see. We joke about the missed calls, the wasted energy; but we still miss the point and keep going round and round the loop."

What will Agenda be about this year?

The browser mess in Y2K Permanent link to this item in the archive.

More pushback on the Scripting News redesign. To be expected, every time we move the complaints come. No surprise there. I have a couple of thoughts. Do you have any idea how much Netscape's demise cost us? (Not just UserLand, but writers, designers and developers of content tools.) They left a big buggy browser in the middle of the market. Do we have to work around their three-year-old bugs forever? Hmmm.

Look at the survey results. People like more color. Can anything be done about Netscape? Let's also mention this to people who think open sourcing a program is always the right answer. Playing Monday Morning Quarterback (it is Monday morning after all) this is one of those times when open source was not the right answer.

Eric Sink: "You are going to get flamed royally on this one."

Uh huh. Developers with courage and integrity write code, not flames, and think of new ways to give users what they want. Other developers walk away from a difficult situation, leaving users and other developers with a fetid mess to sort out. It happens all the time.

I support Mozilla. But I don't forget that Netscape had a lot of users and developers and they got screwed. Most important (to me) is that the Web got screwed.

The rare exception is the developer who sticks with it, and fixes the bugs and gives the users what they want. Ray Ozzie told me the story of Lotus Notes after the IBM acquisition. He could have walked and Notes would have suffered. He stayed with it, missed the early Web boom, but Notes grew. Andreessen, if he had courage and integrity wouldn't have punted. My opinion of course. If you want to allocate responsibility for the current browser mess (no one wants to talk about it, but how can you avoid it?), at least some of it belongs to Marc.

BTW, the redesign looks good in Mozilla, NetPositive, Opera, iCab.

The "problem" is easily solved Permanent link to this item in the archive.

If you're still using Netscape 4, god bless, please read the plain-jane version, you'll like it better, for sure.

And from here-on this disclaimer applies. I know the rent is in arrears, the dog has not been fed in years, it's even worse than it appears and this site renders slowly in Netscape 4.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, October 15, 2000. Sunday, October 15, 2000

Tucker Goodrich: "Yes, I was a little surprised when I saw [the NY Times redesign], but not as shocked as by the new Scripting.Com site!" 

Yes we did a redesign. BTW, in case you don't know, the catcus is a recurring theme in UserLand products and on Scripting News. It made a brief disappearance, but now it's back in all its glory, in a cute cartoonish style, with muscles! As I said a few days ago Bryan is totally 100 percent UserLand-compatible. I love the redesign, and believe me this is not the last site we're going to re-do. I have my eye on the top of the pyramid, a site that's going to blow you away, when we're done, but I don't want to spoil the fun, we'll keep the suspense up for a bit. 

Survey: Do you like the redesign? 

The Mets beat the Cards 10-6. The Mariners beat the Yankees, 6-2. 

I've also retired the Scripting News slogan Ask not what the Internet can do for you.. It's still an important guideline, but it's had a long run, I won't forget it, I hope you won't either. The new slogan is a familiar friend, it's a perfect message to send to someone who's getting ready to flame. "I know the rent is in arrears, etc." I'm using it in my email sig too. I hope to have an artistic collage to go along with it, as with the Internet one

Another BTW, if you don't love the new design, you can bookmark the low bandwidth version of Scripting News. 

Here's what Scripting News looked like last summer. (With broken picture links.) Here's one from May 1998. Here's a header from 1998 (Marc Canter did it in a few minutes in PhotoShop.) Now I think this is the very first graphic header I ever did. Designed to look cheesy, and it did look cheesy, don't you think? Here's a Scripting News from August 1997. And one from June 1997. The most popular pages on 6/26/97. 

Shawn Fanning: "Good morning, Senator Hatch. Thank you for inviting me for my first visit to Utah and my first appearance before a Congressional committee." 

Bryan Bell: "I think I got the Weblogs design under control now. I worked hard to get it to fit in an 800 pixel wide screen." Thanks Bryan! 

Now there's still pushback on the Weblogs.Com upgrade from people who use old versions of Netscape, which according to euroblogs (is that arf?) can't handle nested tables without locking up the machine for a minute (why not switch browsers?) so I put together a very plain favorites page for Weblogs.Com users with old browsers. I know there's irony, I hate it when the NY Times upgrades their site (see below) but we must make our sites beautiful to be competitive in the race to get weblogs to the moon and beyond. We must do it. There's no going back.  

Oy they changed the design of the NY Times website. My brief op-ed. This is a software issue. I learned how to use the old site. You're penalizing me for being an everyday user. This is how software users feel when you shuffle things around. It's when they start thinking about switching brands. (Fortunately for the Times, there's no chance of that, I'm hooked, a lifetime reader.) 

Thanks to Rohit for the pointer to this Guardian article on AmIHotOrNot? I registered, so you can rate me too

I got tired of seeing the old Pike button in various places in the Manila user interface. (Pike is the old name for Radio UserLand, we changed it because there was a scripting language named Pike.)  

So I replaced it with the Radio UserLand dude, courtesy of Zeldman. Unfortunately a lot of code includes it with the old height so it gets all smooshed. No problem, we have a content management system, so the glitch shouldn't stick around all that long.  


Permanent link to archive for Saturday, October 14, 2000. Saturday, October 14, 2000

New sexy Manila feature: Home Page Template. Allows you to add features to the home page without adding them to every page on the site. Works with static sites. Not localized yet. Available on all UserLand-hosted Manila sites. 

Brent got it done just in time for the Mariners-Yankees game. Now there's dedication, on a total baseball weekend. 

Cards win 8-2 at Shea. Mets lead series 2-1. Signs of philosophic malaise in NY, as the library lions at the Public Library (5th Ave & 42nd St) each don caps of one of the NY baseball teams. Not a good sign. Hint to NY residents: If the Mets and Yankees win their series, get earthquake insurance. 

New weblog for Frontier United Kingdom Users

Duncan Smeed: "Good luck with FUKU." 

Pictures of real-world Cobalt Qubes. 

Robert Young, Chairman of Red Hat: "The software industry that Microsoft has been the role model for is built on the premise that customers are not to be trusted with the technology that they are building their organizations on." 

My opinion: The software industry that Microsoft has been the role model for is dead, if it ever existed. 

Rate me on BlogHop: the bestpretty goodokaypretty badthe worst (Green is best, red is worst.) 

You can add your site to BlogHop on this page

OPML for all Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Oliver Travers wrote an OPML document for my ghost writing project that might in some way be part of O'Reilly's book on P2P. If you have Radio UserLand, choose Open URL from the File menu to read it as an outline.

BTW, to people who think OPML is weird, we do weird things at UserLand, and then they become mainstream.

A few months ago a reporter asked if Scripting News was the first weblog. In a way it was, but really Tim Berners-Lee had the first one. That's how central weblogs are. What we're doing, and Blogger, and now Zope, is upgrading the tools for the core purpose of the Web, which is to inform people in a timely basis.

After meeting Doug Engelbart, I know that I didn't have the first outliner either. Then I realize I was building on the work of two great men, one of the previous generation (Englebart) and one of mine (TBL). And Philippe Kahn, Dan Bricklin, Mitch Kapor, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfeld and Steve Capps. Oh boy I could keep going. We're an industry, we're growing up, we're not kids anymore, many of our accomplishments are behind us, but many more are still ahead (I hope).

So when I say "Go go go" to Blogger, I mean it. The big picture is to create a Web for the people. Distribution, great writing, technology and style make the difference, those are things the big media companies have that we don't, yet. When they do a deal with Conde Nast, a seed is planted. A lot of smart people write for Conde Nast. Blogger is good software. When they see the power, in their hands, not controlled by a big media company, they might get the idea that they don't need the big media company.

Rambling, when I was a writer for Wired a well-intentioned person said "Dave everyone needs an editor." It didn't take me more than two minutes to realize this wasn't true. I don't need an editor. My words stand alone. They mean nothing at all, except here's a human being speaking directly to you, person to person, no middlemen. That's a revolutionary thing. It's what the founders of the US envisioned, over 200 years later. It's so precious. So if people prefer Blogger, I support that. I of course am human, and I like my software to be appreciated too, and I know it is. So that's happy. Excellent.

Anyway, we're weird, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I always hesitate to predict success (there are so many naysayers), but someday I believe that if you're serious about writing for the Web and using the Web and providing services for people who use the Web, you'll be supporting OPML, or something very much like it. We already do.

Today's song Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mountain: Mississippi Queen. "Went down around Dick's place, around Louisiana way, where lived the Cajun Lady, aboard the Mississippi Queen. You know she was a dancer. She moved better on wine."

New discussion group UI Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The new discussion group interface got a major new feature yesterday. Now there are two views, a category view and a chronologic view. You can try it out on the Radio discussion group. Jake wrote a doc explaining the new features. After testing, feedback and refinement, we're going to upgrade all UserLand-hosted Manila sites, and then provide it as an upgrade to all Frontier users.

Integrity Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'd love to take today off and go for a massage and a hike, but it ain't gonna happen. Two things on the plate. Number one, I have to finish my article for WorldLink, it's going to be on integrity on the Web. A perfect place for that story, because the WEF has to deal with all flavors of Web writers, and we can do better at getting opinion clearly expressed and set some standards for disclosure of conflicts and background info on the people who are writing. There should be a simple way to find out Who Said That. The Web doesn't have the limits of print in that area. I'm especially interested in know who's paying the analysts to say what they say about the vendors who pay them.

The Radio cloud Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The second project is to work on the release of the cloud that runs behind Radio UserLand. Since there's so much new interest in Zope in our land (this is good!) I hope that we can get a cloud running behind Radio that works in Zope, and like XML-RPC, in every other major scripting environment. The cloud is thin and simple, and the docs will be fun, I hope.

We're also going to release the source so Frontier and Radio can act as clouds. The goal is to create an open source foundation for P2P, to cut through the hype, and give the geeks a way of taking control of the technology, which is how Murphy intended it to be, as far as I know.

Ray and me Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Before I get to work, some people may have missed my comments after the two-way demo with Ray Ozzie on Thursday. Here's what I said.

"Ray has a philosophy, a good one, and nice software. They run a Manila weblog internally, and he's been reading Scripting News since 1997. I will certainly write about their software when it's announced, it could be very big, maybe as big as Netscape 1.0. It's different from what I expected, but I understood it immediately."

I'd add this after having 24 hours to think about it. UserLand will support Groove. It'll be easy. There are a lot of places where Frontier, Manila and Radio can connect into Groove.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, October 13, 2000. Friday, October 13, 2000

A new hamster-like dance

Today's Zeldman's Glamorous Life is about his mother. A beautiful human piece of writing. I love Zeldman because he's generous, takes risks, and pushes boundaries. I also love my mother. She is healthy, alert, and reads this page. Hi mom! 

A new Manila feature is in the pipe, coming soon -- a special template for the home page of a site. A much-requested feature, now we totally need it for Weblogs.Com, which has a rich home page, which is complicating other pages on the site. This is the kind of feature that many sites may not need, but if you need it, you know it.  

We're also prepping the next rev of the Manila discussion group. In addition to having a topic view, it will also have a chronologic view. We're doing templates for all the elements of the discussion group so that designers can get in there and make it beautiful. 

Tristan Louis has suggestions for RSS 0.92. 

Jake has a list of new channels registered on My.UserLand. 

Snoopin around looking for P2P-related domain names

Radio UserLand: Manila Editorial Outlines. "A new command, Open Manila Site, opens a Manila site as a document." 

Mail starting 10/13/00. Death penalty, SOAP and schemas, public ghost writers, Real Networks. 

Tim O'Reilly: "I stood up in the meeting yesterday and asked for the sense of the group whether this proposal was going in the wrong direction, and was met with thunderous applause." 

ZDNet: "This is a little rougher than I thought it would be," said Intel's Bob Knighten.  

Forbes: "Should the Patent Office decide in OpenTV's favor, Amazon could be forced to either pay licensing fees for one-click shopping or abandon it altogether. Ironically, that's the same position Amazon has been trying to put Barnesandnoble.com into for the past year." 

According to Evan Williams, Pyra has a deal with Conde Nast, not sure what the deal is, but congratulations to Pyra, good work. They're growing so fast, and adding new features, that's cool because weblogs are important. Go go go! 

Stop in at WhatDidYouHaveForLunch

Sun releases the source code for their office suite. 

Clueless email sigs that contain non-disclosure agreements are not OK with me. I don't accept NDAs from strangers. I think they add these at the server. Ridiculous practice. Sometimes they appear on messages on public mail lists. Lawyers. Grrrr. 

Congrats to Garret Vreeland on his new site.  

Mets won last night. It got squirrely at the end. Philosophical slippage? Stay focused guys. The Mets return to Shea with a 2-0 lead in the series with St Louis. 

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, October 12, 2000. Thursday, October 12, 2000

Pointers of the day Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The Mets game isn't on TV here, but you can watch the play-by-play in text on CNN.

Salon: SDMI Cracked.

Reuters: Ben Rosen leaving Compaq.

XML fans who use Manila are really going to like this. We're starting a project with SoftQuad to get XMetal working with Manila, alongside Radio UserLand, through XML-RPC. I had a great phone talk with Michael Fergusson, their Director of Advanced Technology, and they've already started working on it. Cooool!

Do you dare interact with the Interface of Mystery?

Jacob Levy, who is no stranger to Scripting News, is working on an open source project called e4graph.

Chris Locke: Build a better buggy whip. "I’ll come aboard if you’re planning a major emphasis on HTML. This Web thing is going to be really big." He looked at me sorta funny and admitted that, yes, he’d heard of HTML. "But it isn’t ISO-compliant, is it?" he asked.

MacWEEK's QuickLinks is quickly becoming one of the best weblogs. I read it every time it updates.

Even the Weblogs.Com DG looks good in the new design.

We ordered two new servers yesterday, adding 2 gigahertz to the UserLand cloud. They'll arrive in a couple of weeks.

Tipster is getting interesting.

Ray Ozzie Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I got a thoughtful email this morning from Ray. We're meeting later today, I'll get a briefing on their new software. Ray wanted to be sure that I could accept an embargo, and of course I said yes. So I may gush with enthusiasm as others have, I guess that's OK, but you won't be able to find out what their product is on Scripting News or any other UserLand service, until they announce it.

However, at this point, I can comment without fear of violating a trust. I hope there's a way for us to embrace Ray's work and keep true to our users and our mission. Groove is going to be a big product, whatever it is, I can hear that from the comments I've heard from other people who have been disclosed, people who I respect.

Ray and I are both veterans. He's a rich man, and has a long track record in the software industry. Unlike many people who cashed out quickly, Ray stayed with his product for years. I assume he's taken a similar long-term view on this work.

We want to more than co-exist, we want to leverage their work, and vice versa. I think we can change the rules in the software business, so much lip service has been paid to partnerships. I only want to work with other technologists on real cooperative terms, ones of empowerment, not disability.

I don't see signs of trouble, quite the opposite. But if I do, that will wait until they announce their product.

Postscript: We talked for three hours, exchanged demos. Here's what I can say. Ray has a philosophy, a good one, and nice software. They run a Manila weblog internally, and he's been reading Scripting News since 1997. I will certainly write about their software when it's announced, it could be very big, maybe as big as Netscape 1.0. It's different from what I expected, but I understood it immediately.

O'Reilly, Kool-Aid, Real and Me (And you?) Permanent link to this item in the archive.

At the same time, O'Reilly has offered to let me write a chapter in an upcoming book about P2P, a book with chapters written by lots of other people I respect, including Ray.

This is too good an opportunity to pass up, even though I have regurgitated the P2P Kool-Aid, what the heck, so much of our stuff is P2Pish, I can write about that, right?

That's the good news, and thanks to O'Reilly, it's a sign that the freeze may be thawing. Now, it's 30 pages and due at the end of the month. Oh geez, I need a ghost-writer. That's a lot of copy.

I have so many ideas. I'd like to write about the humanity of P2P, how it's about people, community, empowerment, breaking down barriers to people working together. If we want it to be, it could be the next layer of the Internet, less formal and easier than writing for the Web. If I work for one company and you work for another, how do we connect our work even though our companies have all kinds of firewalls, technical, administrative, legal, political, emotional, economic.

Here's an example. A few weeks ago a person from Real Networks signed on the Radio UserLand mail list. I saw the registration float by and made a point with my team that now the competition is using our software, but that won't change anything we say, but we should all be aware of it.

Well this morning, the Real guy, Brian Lenihan, posted a message on our discussion group introducing himself and explaining how much he likes our software. "Today, we make the MS Word of audio players. I find myself longing for simpler times. RU has rekindled the excitement for me. If the RealJukebox was slimmed down, bug free, and had an embedded scripting language such as Python, I would be delirious. Failing that, RU is my medium of choice."

Now there's a door opening, and it's a lot more than just two companies exploring compatibility. It's a new system made possible by the Internet. There's the spirit of P2P, it's People working with People. Brian is a person, so am I. We work for different companies, but there's no reason we can't appreciate each others' work, points of view, and do things to enhance each others' products. That will be the true revolution of the Internet, if it can happen.

So it occurred to me that the People could be my ghost-writer on this project and produce a very interesting chapter for the O'Reilly book. What do you think?

Please, no shortcuts Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Uplister is sending email to Radio UserLand people with offers to get them to use their software. This is not a very solid philosophy. It's easy to send an email, it's hard work to build community.

A better approach would be to work out a way for Radio UserLand people to get a benefit from using both our products. I think everyone would appreciate that. Standards, compatibility and respect for users, and for each other.

FYI, we approached Uplister privately as soon as they came out and offered to work with them on compatible formats. They said yes, through one of their advisors, a longtime friend from Apple. We didn't hear anything more, until last night when I started getting emails from users saying that Uplister was approaching them directly.

Dear users, please understand that when you ask us to be open, we want to do it, but we also know that there are leeches looking for shortcuts, not particularly wanting to work with you or us. Business is war, to many.

Postscript: The Uplister people sent an apology to the people they spammed. I also spoke on the phone with an exec there, and we began a dialog on compatibility. Good outcome.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, October 11, 2000. Wednesday, October 11, 2000

P2P P2P -- We got P2P! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

DaveNet: P2P -- The Afterlife.

An observable number of people thought I was talking about Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. I wasn't but it makes sense in a way.

Advogato on P2P. "The distributed feel of the Web comes from the fact that the client aggregates all the Web servers in the world under a consistent interface with reasonable navigation between different servers. Why not a more distributed network, as envisioned by many hypertext visionaries?"

6/11/00: "One day the trend may be trend-free. That will be an interesting day, as we all struggle to prove that our software is 100 percent pure and free of all trends."

Reuters: INoize offers Napster Alternative. "[INoize is] different from other peer-to-peer networks because it allows sharing of streamed music only in a patent-pending encrypted framework as opposed to file copying."

Papa Doc continues to set new standards for excellence in webloggin. "So it's more and more apparent that in the new world we're building — let's call it peer-with-peer, or PWP, to drop the preposition 2/two/to — our primary sources are each other." Right on right on.

Priorities Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I missed most of tonight's Mets-Cards playoff game because I watched the debate between Gore and Bush.

I also missed the vice-presidential debate that everyone raved about last week, I had dinner with Doug Engelbart instead.

Tonight's debate was excellent. Bush spoke confidently about foreign policy, and echoed many of my beliefs. The US gets into trouble when we get arrogant. It's better to listen and participate. We're the Microsoft of world politics.

Gore was restrained, and I appreciate that, as a voter, and as a person who has trouble keeping quiet myself. From this I got that Gore wants to be President, more than he needs to be heard on every single point.

Gore mentioned Quayle, which I found in poor taste, Bush did not mention Clinton, which would have been fair. Gore cornered Bush on Texas' poor record on health insurance for children.

Bush also brought the death penalty into the discussion, shocking that an apparently intelligent person thinks killing people is a solution.

A lot of discussion about global warming. To me it seems there's nothing we can do about it. Bush pretty much said that.

(The Mets won, 6-2; the Yankees beat the Mariners, 7-1.)

Redesign continues Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'm having a great time working with Bryan Bell on the redesign of our sites. Weblogs.Com is stable now, doesn't seem to be crashing anyone, please send mail if this is not true.

Today Bryan finished the first rev of the redesign of the DaveNet site and is working on Scripting News now.

Where will we go next? Not sure, we're playing it by ear.

The secret to success: Bryan knows Manila inside-out. And he has a UserLand-compatible attitude.

Uncategorized stuff Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mark Aldritt: JavaScript OSA 1.0b7. Mac OS X Native.

More great mail.

Cobalt announces the Qube 3. (Luke discusses it.)

New sample script reads all the XML files in the Netscape 6 folder into a table structure in Radio UserLand or Frontier.

Jorn Barger on Jakob Nielsen.

Dan Gillmor's weblog is growing in readership at an enormous rate. It's been #2 on the most read sites for the last week.

Someday not having a personal website will be like not having a personal business card.

Salon, Alan, Kate, Steve and me Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Salon is running excerpts from Alan Deutschman's upcoming book about Steve Jobs.

"'Hi, this is Steve Jobs. I'd like to get together and chat with you.' Steve's voice sounded cheerful. What did he want? Was this some management theory of his, calling random midlevel employees and picking their brains for a while? Or was he pissed off by the DaveNet column?"

Poor Kate Adams, she was interviewed for the book, and Kate is a very honest and direct person, and a great writer, and get this, she's working at Apple again.

If Steve reads this, Kate is no longer a source for me, and we're working on a Mac OS X version of our software, which should come at an interesting time for Apple.

Upside: Religious themes dominate 'Second Coming'.

PS: After much surfing, I found the story Kate wrote that made it into Alan's book. Note that her name doesn't appear in it, so I couldn't find it by searching for her name. Doh!

A new UI Permanent link to this item in the archive.

OK, first the bad news. The user interface for the Manila DG has always sucked. (Our focus was on the CMS.)

Now the good news. It's on its way to not sucking as much.

Jake has been working behind the scenes on a new topic-based interface, more like other Web-based discussion groups.

It's deployed on the Radio UserLand site, as an experiment and to get feedback.

After we test it a bit, we'll roll it out to all UserLand-hosted Manila sites.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, October 10, 2000. Tuesday, October 10, 2000

DaveNet: P2P We Hardly Knew Ye

SF Chronicle: "Cisco Systems, the second-most valuable company in America, paid no federal income taxes for its latest fiscal year thanks to a little-known corporate tax break on employee stock options." 

Searching for We Hardly Knew Ye on Google yields some interesting results. It's a loving way to say goodbye. 

David Coursey got it right about Java in May 1997. 

Of course wehardlyknewye.com is not taken

What is Kool-Aid? 

NY Daily News: "One time New Yorker, Robert Bierman, 40, roots for Mets at San Francisco stadium yesterday. His son Alex, 5, is for some other transplanted New Yorkers -- his home team Giants." Note the NY point of view. Very arrogant. Makes me homesick! 

Brent Simmons posts some tips for Radio UserLand people who edit Manila sites. We're going to move more in this direction.  

Survey: Yesterday we released a redesign of Weblogs.Com. We'd like to know if it works in your browser. 

Luke Tymowski: "The new Weblogs.Com site looks good in IE5, Mozilla, w3m, and Lynx. It’s identical in IE5 and Mozilla, which it should be." 

NY Times: Why the Cardinals Could Be Trouble. Sorry dude, having a clear-channel radio station and being the southern-most and western-most team for a few years means nothing. However there is an interesting subtext in the piece, the idea that Mets fans might prefer a subway series. I find the idea dangerous. I'd prefer not to risk it. Bring on the Mariners.  

But the Cardinals might have a philsophy after all. "I'm from Missouri," is a great one-liner. Do you know what it means

Brent also teases us. Which site is the one you hate the most? You have to tell us! Or at least run a survey. 

Brent has his irritant, I have my own

Great stuff on Doc's weblog. He says he'd probably put some money in Lynne's tipjar. But what if there are 8,000 sites that have tipjars. How much would you put in which ones?  

Hypothetically, if I point to a piece on Lynne's site, and as a result she gets a tip, should I get a piece of that?  

Inc: Bananas, My Brand, and Me. "This brand thing is weird," she says. "I'm still getting used to it."  

Permanent link to archive for Monday, October 09, 2000. Monday, October 09, 2000

New design on Weblogs.Com. Already some problem reports.  

Thomas Jensen and Chris Langreiter have XML-RPC for REBOL. Both are linked into the XML-RPC home page

John Lim: Web Services with PHP using XML-RPC

When I see a quote file I always check to see if I'm there. If I am, it gives me a pretty direct clue into the pov of the person who did the quoting. 

Lynne Siprelle: The Tip Jar

Jon Udell: From Messaging to Syndication

Sheila: "Dave's evil twin is a Mariner's fan." Keep dreaming! 

Information Week: "Just imagine advertising which said something like, 'In the future, we intend to remain the best, but we'll ensure your right to choose.'" 

Why I Like XML: "I like XML because I like choice, not just for me, but for people who use my software." 

BusinessWeek: When Software Wreaks Havoc

Scientific American: Speech without Accountability

Microsoft: Why Great Technologies Don't Make Great Products

NY Times: Niche Radio Finds Its Footing on the Internet

Sean Floyd: Random Fortunes in Manila

BookNotes quotes Alice Walker. "No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow." 

Frontier/Mac OS X update. Brent and Tim are working on it. We're getting close, we think. We're going to do a private beta with five or so Frontier experts to shake out the bugs. We think Mac OS X will be a great platform for running large Manila installations. The first beta could be ready sometime this week. 

One reason to vote for Nader, even though he "can't win." If he gets five percent of the vote, in 2004, the Green Party will get money from the US Government.  

I'm just about finished with the first OPML web app, which I talked about briefly yesterday. For every Weblogs.Com member with favorites, there is a static OPML file that links to the favorites file of each of the favorites that have favorites. Does it sound recursive? Of course, everything in OPML is recursive (that's one of the reasons outlines are interesting). I also have a nodetype for Radio UserLand that allows you to walk the network in a single window. When I have it all tied together I'll post a screen shot. It's easy to use, even though it probably sounds like it isn't.  

More Doug Engelbart wisdom. Over and over he says we have to create a system for evolving our own system. That's why he calls his business the Boostrap Institute. Again, I have the same philosophy, though I didn't recognize it at first. I always believe the process is what I'm doing, not the software. Sometimes the process leaves bits of code and data out, so they can be added later, when it's clear how it should work. And sometimes a bit of code and data are just there to support experimentation, and later much more happens around the interfaces that are bootstrapped. 

XML-Hack: W3C publishes XML 1.0 second edition

ConsentCache is running a weblog covering privacy issues. 

According to Luke today is Thanksgiving in Canada. Wow, that was quick. Pretty soon it'll be the New Year, and then what? Y2K++? 

Survey: Has it snowed where you live yet? 

According to the Curmudgeon, teams with three or more ex-Cubs cannot win the World Series. That's the Cub philosophy. The Gritty-but-Cheerful Losers of the National League. He says this is bad news for the Mets who have four ex-Cubs. Well, the Mets could lose of course. I don't think it's likely, but you never know with post-season play.  

Survey: Which team will win the World Series? 

Mail Starting 10/9/00. Nick Sweeney asks "Is the spirit of a team different from its philosophy?" Yes, of course. The spirit is what's below the surface of the emotions and physical presence. The spirit is the observer of all that. A philosophy involves the intellect, it's the conscious form of the spirit. A team's philosophy explains why you came to the game. What is it that you wish to explore with your team and the other fans? 

The Mets are an unusual team in that we had a philosophy from Day One. Casey Stengel made sure of that. The Mets philosophy is that we don't have to win to be true to our philosophy. If not this year, it'll happen soon enough. Also part of the Mets philosophy is years of drifting in and out of love. But there always seems to be a Mookie or Benny just around the corner, to capture our hearts and pull it out in extra innings, regardless of how many ex-Cubs are on the team. 

The Mets are not just like every other team. An essential element of the Mets Effect is the losing. So many fans walk out when their team loses. These are not fans, and teams with such people calling themselves fans cannot pretend to have any philosophic depth. 

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, October 08, 2000. Sunday, October 08, 2000

Mets win series 3-1, on 1-hit shutout by Jones. Giants wait till next year. Next stop -- St Louis!  

Oy, Yankees win. Grrr. I never thought I'd say this.. Go Mariners! 

Do the Mariners have a philosophy? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

BTW, to Sheila, who thinks the Mariners have a philosophy, please recall what the city fathers (and mothers) did to their stadium in March.

At the time, I wondered what would be next Seattle civic monument to be demolished.

It takes several generations if a philosophy is to develop, and the instant you demolish your stadium, unfortunately, you must start over. I didn't make the rules.

Late afternoon feature Permanent link to this item in the archive.

After I get back from a walk I'm going to finish a feature that allows Radio UserLand people to browse the Weblogs.Com favorites structure. It's OPML all the way.

Oooops, I forgot I have to watch the As beat the Yankees. This may have to wait till Monday or Tuesday.

Thanks Sam! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I just spotted this Open Letter to Dave.

What a nice thought. Thanks man.

Never say never Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Cameron Barrett: "One of the conclusions the audience came to at the Content Management System roundtable at the O'Reilly Open Source Conference in Monterey, CA back in July was that there will likely never be an out-of-the-box CMS package or solution that will fill the needs, requirements and functionality of most of people or companies seeking a solution."

I don't agree. If you study lots of sites, you'll see there are a common set of requirements. "Never" is a long time. Usually when you think something will never happen, it's already happening. Life is funny that way.

I'm betting that content management is a mass application. Otherwise we're going to be stuck only with pubs that can afford expensive and hard to keep running one-off CMSes. I don't think it'll shake out that way.

CMS-Vendor discussion Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On the CMS-Vendor list, Stephen Tyler posted a lengthy summary of the issues between content management systems and various kinds of crawlers, including the bursty kind, RSS readers, users with defective site-grabbers, and the search engines.

I posted a response where I explain our immediate concern with the search engine crawlers, and note a performance improvement in the engine behind Weblogs.Com.

Weblogs.Com performance Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Here's how I found the optimization for Weblogs.Com.

I looked at the calendar, and noticed that almost half of the sites hadn't changed in over a week. Some hadn't changed at all in months. Yet we're reading every one of those sites every hour, to see if they've changed, and changes seem to become less likely as the weeks and months go by.

The new algorithm is more patient. If a site hasn't updated in over seven days, it only sends out one request every 24 hours. They don't all come at once since we retain the time of the last update, we only send the request out in the hour they last updated, which should scatter the requests fairly evenly over a 24 hour period.

When an inactive site becomes active, it might take 23 hours before we detect the change. That's the tradeoff. If you want us to check every hour, update at least once a week.

Since the inactive sites also tend to be slower (lots of timeouts) the net increase in performance was over 400 percent. This means that Weblogs.Com finishes its scan after three or four minutes. It was getting close to fifteen minutes per scan!

Today's baseball poetry Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Signs of philosophic weakness in NY.

"If it can't be the Yankees, God forbid, then I hope it's the Mets because it's still New York."

See what I mean about Yankees fans?

God does forbid. Ambivalence yields earthquakes. Let me tell you a story. Pick a team, go down with the ship, if necessary. Of course when a team has a deep philosophy, that's often not necessary. (And there's always next year.)

A reader unfamiliar with the philosophy of the Mets asked if Bobby Valentine was a spiritual leader.

"Not really," I said. "But Casey Stengel, now there was a deep thinker and a man of peace."

Marc Canter, a man without a team, asked "What's the philosophy of the Mets?"

"Love," I said.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, October 07, 2000. Saturday, October 07, 2000

Mets win in 13, up 2-1 in series. 

Doc Searls wrote an open letter to eBay's Meg Whitman. 

Tim Cavanaugh: "Although I did contract with [Business 2.0] to write an article about Reverend Jackson and his organization's Silicon Valley Initiative, the story printed in the magazine does not represent — and in fact directly contradicts — the reporting I did and the conclusions I drew in the two drafts I turned in to the magazine's editors." 

Jeff Barr: "I've left Microsoft and restarted Vertex Development, my consulting identity." (Jeff is the author of Headline Viewer.) 

Kishore Balakrishnan has an idea that we should all graph our mentor lists. I'm flattered that he includes me as one of his mentors, along with Jakob Nielsen. But it would be interesting to see who we all look up to. 

In a fit of idearrhea yesterday, I posted three messages on the Radio UserLand discussion group. In the first, I ask what's the two-minute grab-you-by-the-collar feature in Radio UserLand? I think I know what it is, now the question is how to put in your face so you trip over it in minute one, and experience it in minute two, without requiring you to read the docs. 

In the second post, I recount the conversation with Doug Engelbart, and how much of it revolved about addressibility inside outlines. We have the problem fairly well licked for whole documents, but how to point into a document? Outline structure suggests one way to do it, but it has a big problem when the doc is reorganized. We will start simply, with labels on outline elements that are attributes. 

I saved the best for last. We've been noodling and fussing over a feature request from Stan Krute, he's looking for a way to share editing rights on outlines stored in the cloud. We took a few wrong turns, and came back to earth where we always do, Manila. The feature described in my post is now implemented in Manila, so my next project is to write a tutorial to show you how it works. That'll appear at the top of Scripting News when it's ready. It could be an interesting weekend since Manila now speaks OPML, and that's the native format of Radio. 

Permanent link to archive for Friday, October 06, 2000. Friday, October 06, 2000

DaveNet: Dinner with Doug Engelbart.  

I want to work with search engine vendors on XML formats that say which pages changed, so I started an eGroups mail list for this purpose. It's for CMS vendors. Users can join too, but the discussion will be focused on common needs between the vendors. Please pass the pointer to the list to people who do content management software or search engines. Thanks. 

Word of the day: Lagniappe

Bryan Bell: "You might think that this theme is simple and stupid, and I can understand that because it is meant to look like a Frontpage site. However it has a feature that I haven't released on a theme before." 

Brent Schlender: "A funny thing has happened since the turn of the millennium. The IT business has in essence become the Internet business. And suddenly Bill and Andy don't seem to matter as much anymore." 

Wired: Patent battle takes TV turn

Salon reviews Stephen King's On Writing. 

More mail. Great stuff, it keeps comin! 

How I do it: mailPages.root.  

NY Times: Tendency to Embellish Fact Snags Gore

SJ Merc: "In the past year, as the buzz around Loudcloud has gotten louder, a number of companies have adopted new names that sound suspiciously similar." 

Inside.Com: "The site intended to explain Zope to 'newbies' runs not on Zope, but on a rival program Manila. A public acknowledgment that one product doesn't solve all problems for all companies? Now that's revolutionary." I agree. 

BTW, the site they're referring to is ZopeNewbies, hosted with pride by UserLand.  

Reuters: Salon's Talbott calls for Web Marketing Co op

Oy, Doc's back went out. Get well soooon. 

More on integrity Permanent link to this item in the archive.

More thoughts after writing the piece about integrity on the Web earlier this week.

Hopefully not too far down the line, we'll have a concise statement, not unlike the GPL or the US Constitution, that says what integrity means in online journalism.

First, I can hear the print journalists saying that it means the same thing as it does in print, but I'm afraid it doesn't. There are differences. Here's an example.

If you write for the Web, as I do, you'll get challenges to your ethics or integrity every day. How do you deal with those? Can you ignore them? What if there's some substance to one of the challenges? How much arguing do you have to do? Is this something we can help each other with? How does the substance get dealt with, without leaving you completely paranoid about expressing opinion, for fear of being dragged into the ditches defending your integrity?

How and where do you disclose conflicts of interest? What's considered fair notice? The Web offers more bandwidth for writing than print. A website can contain many more paragraphs than a print magazine. Now, it seems, there's no excuse for not fully disclosing conflicts.

On the other side, there's no longer an excuse for not disclosing qualifications. If you're writing about technical subjects, what's your background? Education? Experience? Do you come from PR or engineering? Who's writing this piece? In general we know so little about the people who have so much power to form opinion. Again, without the space limitation of print, what should the reader be allowed to know about the person who's writing? (Also this is good for the authors, they can promote their books, or other writing they do.)

Further, I may have missed this, but is there already a standard guideline doc for integrity in journalism? Is it just common sense or is it written down somewhere? Is it on the Web? I'm embarassed to say that I don't know if there's a definitive document for integrity of all kinds of journalism.

Another question. If you run a publication, your reporters may have impeccable integrity, but what about they people they quote? If you know they're on the vendor's payroll, is your integrity challenged if you quote them as if they didn't have a conflict of interest? I suspect this is the question the pubs don't want to be asked. (They'll have to do more work, get real quotes from people without conflicts. But of course the value of their work will go up substantially, which is another way of saying there's negative value of an apparently objective source who is highly conflicted.)

Problems with crawlers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Web crawlers are creating serious problems for us. Tens of thousands of hits a day on our servers. We have a theory that they don't know about virtual domains. When they decide to go back to a server, they should use the IP address, not the domain name. Even a static server might have trouble keeping up with the amount of traffic they generate for us.

To be clear, the search engine crawler should figure out that xxx.editthispage.com and yyy.editthispage.com map to the same IP address, and should queue up all requests by IP address, so as not to pound any individual server.

We've had to turn off the crawlers using the robots.txt convention. If any search engine company fixes this, let us know and we'll let your crawler through to our sites.

Even better would be to work out an XML-based format for us to tell you which pages changed, so you can avoid requesting pages that haven't. It's not just a good idea anymore, without some coordination I don't think we can support search engines. Let's get over this scaling wall by working together.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, October 05, 2000. Thursday, October 05, 2000

I had dinner this evening with Doug Engelbart. I wish I hadn't waited so long to do this. Until this evening I didn't realize how much my career was a replay of his. We're still re-doing things he did in the 1960s, even after 20+ years of digging. He had a lot of good ideas for Radio UserLand and the World Outline. Not superficial ideas, but to-the-core, why aren't you doing this type stuff. I hope he gets really involved with what we're doing. The next step is to exchange demos. I'm sure I'll write more about this. What a score! 

Flipping your home page just got easier. 

Mail starting 10/5/00. 

John Dvorak: Killing the Web. "The elegant simplicity of plain HTML is being shoved aside in favor of the increasingly complex XML scene." 

This morning we did the photo shoot for the Fortune article about the dot-coms after the boom. 

I missed the vice-presidential debate

Well, the Giants can wait till next year. And there will be many opportunities to learn deep philosophic lessons in NY later this week.  

Wired Magazine interviews Napster attorney David Boies. 

Weblogger.Com has a hilarious Manila theme

Wow, I must have missed this one

A fan site for the Creative Labs Nomad MP3 player. 

MP3.Com did a survey on CD owner's rights. "America's frequent Internet users have a great deal of respect for an artist's and record company's right to keep their product from being illegally disseminated. However, they do not believe that as consumers they should be forced to pay additional royalties when they listen to their already purchased music over the 'Net." 

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Court skeptical of Amazon's claim. "The notion of cutting out steps doesn't seem to me to be very new," said U.S. Circuit Court Judge Raymond C. Clevenger III during yesterday's 90-minute hearing.  

Another weblog piece that doesn't include Manila. Grrr. 

The Biermans and baseball Permanent link to this item in the archive.

UserLander Bob Bierman went to the Yankees-As game yesterday and got his picture in the SJ Merc, along with his son Alex. I thought Bierman had a philosophy! Sigh.

Wait it's even worse than it appears. Bob tells me that Alex is both a Yankees and Giants fan, and Bob is a Mets fan. Now it's OK, I guess, for a father and son to have different teams, but to be a fan of two teams indicates philosophic dysfunction. Let's hope Young Alex finds his True Inner Fan, he's a smart independent young man, with lots of time.

And Bob tells me that their picture is also in today's NY Daily News! He's trying to find a copy. Now most of us go to a baseball game and somehow our faces don't get in the paper. Bob and Son hit a double. And who says there's no god?

Positioning of Radio UserLand Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I believe that the positioning of Radio UserLand as a music system isn't working anymore, if it ever did.

Consider the current position: "Radio UserLand combines the organizational flexibility of outlining with the power of Web services and community, providing easy-to-use tools to manage the Internet music revolution, for individuals and organizations."

Now, I like that, if only because it is sassy, ironic, and true. But it's merely a portion of what Radio UserLand does. I would like to have The Killer App that does this for music on the Internet, but at this time, I don't believe we do.

So I hit the reset button. What the heck is this thing that we created? Take a deep breath. The answer comes.

The Internet Outliner Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The Internet side is easy. Radio UserLand supports every Internet protocol, old and new, that's in current use. FTP, SMTP, POP, HTTP, XML-RPC, SOAP. It has deep support for HTML and XML. This piece of software communicates like no other software ever has, out of the box, it's a node on the Internet, client and server.

The Outliner side is easy too. Outline elements can be expanded, collapsed, reorganized, deleted, copied, sorted, searched, joined, split, promoted, demoted, hoisted and dehoisted. It's the first UserLand outliner that's as easy to use as ThinkTank, Ready and MORE.

And the two sides are joined, in a beautiful way, through the World Outline concept and others, such as the Weblog and Live Outline tools, even the Chat tool takes advantage of the outliner.

The one element that is not accessible through the Internet Outliner position is its nature as a platform for Internet applications running on the desktop. This is the core reason why we did Radio UserLand, to elevate the desktop to peer status, to soften our dependence on "the server" -- to allow power users (a forgotten concept) to manage their own information, in recognition of a rebuilding of the Glass Palace concept, one that begs to be routed-around. The glass palace isn't just in music, it's in the centralized servers operated by Yahoo and eBay, as examples, and their inherent scaling weaknesses. Radio UserLand is the Fractional Horsepower HTTP Server I've been talking about for years. It is to Apache as the Apple II was to mainframes.

Radio UserLand, and other "P2P" products, put the power of the Internet into the hands of users. Perhaps that idea is communicated through the UserLand part of its name?

As I talk with other developers I respect who are working on actual products in the P2P space, and are building on SOAP and XML-RPC, as if they were real protocols (pinch me) I feel an urgency to clean up our positioning, so our software can play a role in this emerging market, in a friendly way. The people I'm talking with are all people who have great track records producing hit products. A market is happening. We don't want to dominate it, that's not the nature of this market (thankfully) -- there should be no dominant product that overshadows all other products. So when I look into the heart of Radio UserLand I see that there's an Internet Outliner beating, steadily.

More on the debate Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Two op-ed pieces in today's NY Times help clarify it.

Bob Herbert: "Mr. Gore, as he closes in on his dream of winning the White House, might consider tempering his fighting style with a touch of modesty and grace."

William Safire: "The eye-rolling, snorting, head-shaking, moaning, derisive displays of disbelief struck me as puerile and disrespectful."

Gore does seem more presidential than Bush, after all he is is a sitting vice-president. He's more presidential until you get to the chortles and deep sighs. Imagine Gore doing that with a head of state.

I wanted to hear what both candidates had to say, Gore got in the way of that. There will be two more debates, I hope to hear more about Bush's tax proposals, without Gore reciting his slogans over and over. And when his adversary is speaking, keep your mouth shut and listen attentively, as if what he was saying is important, because it is.

If he's going to be the next president, start showing respect for the electorate, and that begins with showing respect for his opponent.

Did he? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Scott Rosenberg: Did Gore invent the Internet?

The literal Gore quote is: "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

Josh Lucas wonders whether "creating" and "inventing" are the same thing. I don't think they are. Invention is greater than creation. I can create something, like a sandwich, but that doesn't mean that no one has created a sandwich before I did. So to quote Gore as claiming to have invented the Internet is a stretch, and inaccurate.

Now, analyzing Gore's statement, grammatically, there's not much to take fault with. It's a very confusing statement. The verb is "took," which in this context, is kind of a no-op. What did he take? An initiative. OK, that is something that politicians do. Did Gore play a role in the Internet "initiative" that created the Internet? It seems so.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, October 04, 2000. Wednesday, October 04, 2000

Amy Wohl on today's Mail Page: "Apple once again finds themselves in the situation where they have too much of something they wanted to sell (the Cube), but which customers don't especially want to buy, and too little of popular products (iMacs and G4's)." 

OK, the Mets didn't win today. That doesn't mean they lost. Think about it. How many teams with as deep a philosophy as the Mets are you aware of? I gave this some thought on the drive home from the game. Which teams actually have a philosophy? Most of them wouldn't know one if it hit them in the face. Seriously. The Mariners? Certainly not! The Giants? They can't make their minds up whether they play in the Polo Grounds, Candlestick or this new ballpark. Geez. Let me know when they figure it out. I can think of two teams, who, like the Mets, are philosophical: the Cubs and the Red Sox (which is fairly amazing since they're in the American League, which barely qualifies them as a baseball team at all). Unfortunately neither are in the playoffs this year. The Yankess? Oh give me a break. They're a dynasty, perhaps, but philosophers? No way.  

BTW, Mariners fans delight in beating the White Sox two games in a row. A hollow victory. If you beat a team with no philosophy, what have you actually won? 

Red Herring: "Conxion has built a veritable VIP customer base that includes Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, and CBS. Its founder and CEO Antonio Salerno spends part of each week fending off the behemoths attempting to take over his baby. What's the attraction? It's the service Conxion provides." Hmmm. 

Signs of life on the Syndication mail list. 

Upside: Court goes easy on Napster. "So because Napster is used for piracy, it can't be saved for other uses?"  

I stumbled across this FAQ page at XML.Com, and before I read the answer I thought "I wonder what an XML browser would look like?" 

OS Opinion: The failure of Linux. "Some software houses have been made to feel guilty about charging for their wares, as if their talent and effort are somehow less important than the will of the community. I think most experienced programmers would agree that it is not only silly but morally wrong to deny someone a fair price for a good product, and yet that is all too often what the Linux hordes do to smaller software companies." 

News.Com: Red Hat talks big at open-source conference

Business Week: Mac users on Mac OS X

MacCentral: Apple hiring freeze. "I'm still proud to be part of this company," Jobs reportedly told employees. 

Red Herring: ASP stands for Awful Stock Pick. "Stock prices for the few bold pure-play ASPs are reaching microscopic levels, and analysts are predicting that only a handful of today's ASPs will survive after a massive round of consolidation." 

Hey, if you work at an ASP company, consider offering your customers Manila. They might love you for it.  

Manila Managing Editors can now choose which browser-based editing tool is used on their site. 

Radio UserLand: Tools and File Menu Callbacks

I watched the presidential debate last night, and got so pissed at Al Gore, I wanted the moderator to tell him to shut up, or Bush to tell him to shut up, and they didn't so at times I yelled at Gore on the TV set. It didn't work. Gore's heavy sighs and chortles while Bush was speaking didn't win any points with me either. Bush was good. If he didn't kill so many Texans I'd probably vote for him. I can't stand the thought of Gore leading my country. BTW, presumably, the reason they didn't mention the death penalty is that Gore believes in it too. (So maybe I will vote for Bush.) 

Brent Simmons: "If you were raised on the West Coast, just make a regular sandwich. You don't know what a good sandwich is, so it doesn't matter. Ignorance is bliss." 

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, October 03, 2000. Tuesday, October 03, 2000

DaveNet: ebXML, SOAP and Apple

If you're a baseball fan and in SF tomorrow, here's the chance of a lifetime to blow $600, and see the Mets beat the Giants in the first game of the playoffs. Our seats are in section 113, directly behind home plate. Row E, otherwise known as fifth row. And there's more! You'll be attending the game with Marc Canter and myself. Marc is the founder of Macromedia, and you know me. None of our friends want to spring for the $600, but these are the best seats in the house and the Mets are sure to win. Plus Marc will tell you all about interactive TV, and I'll bore you with my vision for P2P. Send me an email if you're interested.  

Today's song: I can see clearly now.  

John VanDyk's Metadata Plug-in now has a caching architecture. "This dramatically speeds up metadata macro operations." 

Kate Adams has pointers to Mac developer mail lists.  

News.Com: Japan warns Apple to stop pressuring retailers

Segfault: "An anonymous source from Microsoft revealed today that the SOAP standard is a hoax. According to the source, SOAP has been a Microsoft in-joke for over a year." 

NY Times report on yesterday's Napster hearing. 

WSJ: Business-method patents controversy. "Tuesday, two House Democrats plan to offer a bill they say would make it easier and quicker to challenge business-method patents, in part by proposing a controversial step: making such patent applications publicly available, unlike applications for other types of patents. The bill would permit a challenger to present evidence why the patent shouldn’t be granted." 

Network Computing: 10 most important people of the decade

Andrea Frick: Reunification Day in Germany. "Even a few months before the wall came down, nobody would have dared to predict that a revolution like this was going to happen or even remotely possible, and it was even less probable that it was going to be a peaceful revolution without any bloodshed." 

ThinkSecret: "Customers with 'cracked' Cubes were forced by Apple to sign nondisclosure agreements before receiving replacement units. These confidentiality documents, in very specific terms, stated that the customer could not discuss the issue with others or report it to any news source." 

NY Times: "For years we stuck our head in the sand," said Kim Polese, chairwoman of Marimba, a software company, and a Gore supporter. "But we've changed. People in the Valley have clicked into politics." Good quote. 

Evan Williams on Yahoo's advertising on eGroups. 

Mail pages Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Remember the old mail pages on Scripting News? I retired them after opening the Discussion Group in October 1998.

Yesterday I worked on a new script running in Radio UserLand that does what the Mail Pages used to do. It's nice for me to let the DG take a rest. It's opened a bunch of possibilities that weren't there before.

I'm going to work some more on the feature this morning, and if all goes well, I'll send out a DaveNet later (on ebXML, SOAP and Apple, two mini-essays that ran on Scripting News in the last couple of days) and gather comments in a mail page.

People forget that the DG was controversial when it started. The mail pages were good. There's a reason why -- because there was a filter. Now that the tools have gotten better, they can do more of the work for me. And compared to being on the defensive every day, the work of the mail pages seems a lot nicer to me now after two years of michegas.

The Mail Pages are working Permanent link to this item in the archive.

It came together easily. Great tools make the difference.

Here's how it works. There's a new Mail Pages website. When I get an email that I think belongs on the site, I forward it to a special email account. Then, over in Radio UserLand, I choose a command from a new Tool I wrote this morning, it moves the email into an outline on my desktop. I do a little editing and cleanup and save. One command, and the site is updated.

The old system was more complex. It was also tightly bound to Eudora/Mac. The new system depends on email to do the interapplication transfer between my emailer and Radio UserLand.

So I'm using an Internet standard and a mail server running in Seattle to connect two apps on my desktop. It's pretty fast! (Rube Goldberg would love this.)

Wizzy editing fallout Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A colorful bug report from an EditThisPage.Com user.

Ken Dow on the same feature: "Just to be clear, I think this is an excellent and welcome feature, but it really needs to be under the Managing Editor's control."

They're both saying pretty much the same thing. After all these years, we can laugh when people take themselves too seriously, and appreciate people who show care, and see both sides. There's a lot of value in saying it nicely, but we can hear people even when they don't.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, October 02, 2000. Monday, October 02, 2000

DaveNet: Integrity, Money and the Web.  

The Picasso story in The Paper was even more interesting. He didn't pay the bill. He just did a sketch for the restaurant. A Picasso sketch was worth more than $9K, obviously. I corrected the DaveNet piece so I won't get emails on this into the next millenium.  

A big Manila enhancement Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Tonight we're going to deploy a new feature for UserLand-hosted Manila sites, and distribute it through updates to Frontier servers running Manila outside UserLand.

Before I hype it, let me say that it only works for people who edit their sites with MSIE 4 or greater on Windows.

The feature is WYSIWYG editing. When you edit a page in a Manila site, if you're the type of person who doesn't like to look at HTML tags, now you won't have to.

Hey it's shipping. Here's a screen shot of the wizzy editor, and a shot showing the ugly stuff it hides. Here's the page I was editing, just to prove it's for real.

While you wait Permanent link to this item in the archive.

While you're waiting for wizzy editing in Manila, if you're a developer working with Radio UserLand, you definitely must check out the new Tools feature that shipped earlier today.

Guest databases come to Radio UserLand, and a new folder called the Tools folder. Each database can have data, nodetypes, HTTP responders, XML-RPC handlers, SOAP handlers, a suite of scripts, a menu of commands, a thread that runs in the background and a Website Framework website. Every trick the pros use. And the really cool thing about Tools is you don't have to link these babies into the right places in Radio.root, that's done automatically. It's never been easier to extend the environment. If you're a Frontier 4 user, hanging out waiting until all the michegas is sorted out, now's the time. Go go go!

A breath-taking experience Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Knock at the door. A courier. Please sign for this. On the outside of the envelope, "Attn: Service Agent". It's from Wilson Sonsini, a famous Silicon Valley lawfirm. Service agent! (I'm being served.) Not a good thing.

Should I sign for it or not? Maybe Conxion is suing me? Maybe I've infringed on a patent? As I open the envelope I wonder how my life is changing.

All for naught. I forgot to send back my release for the merger of Peer Logic with Critical Path. It's a late notice. Easy to deal with. Just like the water bill, or PG&E. I signed the form and mailed it back. Life is good.

ebXML will not use SOAP Permanent link to this item in the archive.

SD Times: "The SOAP architecture, in which Microsoft has played a leading role and which had been under consideration as a possible transport mechanism for the messages by the TRP group, was rejected as being too closed an architecture for the stated open and collaborative direction of the ebXML initiative. Instead, the ebXML initiative chose MIME-XML technology to wrap and send the message."

This wasn't a surprising development. The goals of ebXML, as far as I can tell, are much more complex than those of SOAP. Further, the things that ebXML does that SOAP doesn't, put it squarely against BizTalk and UDDI, all the extras Microsoft and the B2B vendors are adding to SOAP. (That's probably what the "too closed an architecture" comment is about.)

These are of no more concern to me than the things ebXML does. I am not a B2B technology vendor, and I'm happy to have compatibility with Microsoft's software at the SOAP level, for now; and I think that some parts of Microsoft will produce software that our stuff will connect to.

I'm looking for a mass market, something like the Web browser was in 1994, but coming from lots of independent developers working together. I get excited when I hear that people like Philippe Kahn and Rohit Khare (and three other genius-level developers who must remain nameless at this time) are building user-level products around SOAP, and nothing more than SOAP.

SoapWare Permanent link to this item in the archive.

SOAP is a remote procedure calling protocol, as I see it, it's not doing the same things as ebXML. I'm sure their goals are noble, and the software and services they deliver will be useful, but I'm interested in the Internet as a creative environment, so I see SOAP differently, to me, it connects user-level tools into clouds of content. My vision is far more focused than the Dot-Net vision, and the (apparently competitive) ebXML vision.

It can be so simple, just do the things we were doing with COM and Apple Events, but do it over the Internet. No lock-in. Happy users. And to open source developers, this can be a basis of friendship. IBM's SOAP implementation is open source. Let's get all the environments wired up and validated, and start building great reliable clouds for all the users who will soon be running SoapWare on their desktops.

(I checked, SoapWare.Com and SoapWare.Net are taken.)

Random notes Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jim Flanagan: "The Internet interprets Dave Winer having a bad day as damage and routes around it."

Our servers are getting pounded by spiders again. I wish they would crawl during off-hours, not primetime.

Survey: How do you feel about the vacation for the DG?

Tog: Why is Apple in Trouble?

Fortune: 50 Most Powerful Women in Business.

XPL is an "open source initiative, to make a programming language that is an application of XML." Interesting idea.

Dictionary.Com on "integrity."

Hey, it looks like I'm going to the Giants-Mets game on Wed. Let's go Mets!

Info Today: eMedicine Receives Patent for Internet Publishing Software. “The software is unique—it is the only enterprise software that allows all production to take place on the Internet.” Hmmm.

NY Times: I was a Playboy reader for the FBI.

Oh the joy of being read by a thoughtful person. Doc hits the nail on the head. There is no Microsoft in Web content tools, nor is there likely to be. Remember about the Internet and outages, and what it does to them. This is part of the "grain" of the Web too.

Baseball and politics Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The Major League Baseball playoffs start tomorrow. Braves, Cardinals, Mets, Giants, Yankees, As, Mariners, White Sox.

Isn't it weird that we have so many major league baseball teams, but only two major league political parties?

Instant Runoff Voting might get us more political parties.

Radio UserLand Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A new feature on OurFavoriteSongs.Com. It can now render OPML files in HTML. This opens a small door for the Radio UserLand people to write for people who don't have RU. It's a necessary bootstrap, not a purist's solution.

BTW, I'm still thinking about what Radio UserLand will be when it grows up. The Tools feature gives the users a chance to think about what I'm thinking about. (It should go out today, Murphy-willing, of course.)

The CMS list and me Permanent link to this item in the archive.

What Cam says on the CMS list is a partial telling of the story. He had special terms on my participation, that were off the wall, so I said no, I'll read the archives, which is working out pretty well. However, I wish the archives were up to date. It's only reflecting messages that were posted last Thursday.

BTW, imho, every list has a different culture, and I try to respect that. FoRK is a free-wheeling list. It's a good place to bring tough issues, you'll get flamed, for sure, but a large number of smart people are there, and the list cuts through the BS pretty quickly. The CMS list is quite different. I mostly listen there, to get an idea of what system developers are thinking about, I've learned a tremendous amount just from lurking on the list.

Perhaps there's a need for a CMS vendors list, also professional, where vendors talk among ourselves about standards and other issues we can address as a group.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, October 01, 2000. Sunday, October 01, 2000

Dear Susan, congratulations on shipping your Bryce Book!  

Today is my Jamaican Uncle's 55th birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Vava. Hey, it's Jake's birthday too (#31). 

It's a happy day when there's a new Bryan Bell theme

CNET user comments on Vignette StoryServer. 

A skillful rant from Evan Williams on why popularity matters.  

FYI, we have rankings according to hits for UserLand-hosted Manila sites, an all-time list, and yesterday's rankings

BTW, there was a lot more stuff here this morning, but I took it offline, it's turning into the next DaveNet piece. Planning to send it out tomorrow morning, primetime. 

Look at the functionality Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'm still puzzled by Jakob Nielsen's last AlertBox, and also by his response to Evan William's critique. It's also being discussed in this thread on Metafilter.

My two cents. Cut through all the confusion about what weblogs are, and focus on the functionality of the software, then it gets simple. What does the software do for you and how does it work, how accessible is it, and does it give you control? Does it grow when your needs grow?

I wasn't there when word processing became a market, so I don't know if they had these kinds of debates. Perhaps word processing software was not considered useful because some people used word processors to write love letters or other writing that people thought was trivial or insignificant or hard to read.

I agree with Jakob about Tomalak and Doc Searls' site. Radically different approaches, and both provide a useful service, and both use roughly the same technology, as do other sites with perhaps less interesting content.

(It'll be interesting to see if Tomalak, which has a tradition of being non-self-referential, will point to this discussion in its various locations. Resolved: He pointed to the Nielsen article and the Metafilter thread.)

So, to Jakob, we need a name for the category of software we make. If Manila is to be considered useful in the context of writing on the Web, what features should we add (or take out, harder to do because of the installed base), and what should we call the category? This might be a place where you can make a contribution to defining what we do, and perhaps we could create software you and your readers would find more useful.

Jakob's response Permanent link to this item in the archive.

"I am all in favor of simplified tools like Manila. After all, the less brainpower users have to expend on the tool, the more cognitive resources they can devote to thinking about the content. However, I do not think that simplifying the mechanics of creating content will be sufficient to solve the problem I was discussing in my Alertbox. Word processors are a great analogy: the best available human factors studies indicate that people do not write any better in a word processor than when they draft their text by hand and have a secretary type it up. You save the cost of the secretary, that's all.

"In reading some of the commentary you pointed to, I was amazed that some people thought I was advocating teaching little kids raw HTML. When I say 'teach to write hypertext', I was referring to a deeper understanding of the term than simply the current implementation. The first hypertext systems were implemented in 1967 (my own work in the hypertext field started in 1984, so I am a relative late-comer. The best hypertext systems were built around 1985-1987. I am assuming that the Web will reach that level in another five years."

I asked him to explain. "I am thinking of systems like Intermedia (from Brown University), KMS (from a small independent software vendor), and NoteCards (Xeorx PARC). I don't think any of them are available any more (after all, they ran on proprietary platforms and only worked on LANs, not the Internet). All of these and many more are summarized in my book Multimedia and Hypertext: The Internet and Beyond (published 1995 - the book is basically a summary of the first 50 years of hypertext research, 1945-1995)."

Stan's response to Jakob Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Stan Krute: "Word processors let me tweak and hone and organize in ways quite impractical via some draft-secretary process."

I agree. My experience using writing tools is that I get to endlessly tweak and refine, and the writing gets better for all the tweaking.

And that's my reason for making tools to support writers. That people use them for other purposes is fine. I'm not going to read every post of a sixth-grade class, but their parents might. There's value in all kinds of writing, not just the best writing.

And all writers need tools.


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