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

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 

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 

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 

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 

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.


Last update: Monday, October 16, 2000 at 9:00 PM Eastern.

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