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Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, December 05, 2000. Tuesday, December 05, 2000

Thanks for the kudos 

I almost didn't add anything to this page this evening because the stuff that was here flows so well. Imagine dressing like a gay man just to get women to talk to you. Hmmm. We're too geeky to fall for that one.

Speaking of alert geeks, Wes discovered one of our "hidden" domains, CreateAStandard.Com. At one point we thought we'd concentrate all our hosting on a single domain, then realized it was hopeless so we decided to go the other way and offer free hosting on *all* the random domains we've bought over the years.

Then I had a great idea for a new domain, and it wasn't taken when I looked, but some alert person grabbed it before we could. No one could complain if you really said what you think on a site hosted on this domain. Why didn't I think of this last week?

The owner of this paper just gave a rousing speech on NPR. I wish I had a transcript. If he were starting the paper today it'd be on the Web and we'd be reading him every damned day. What a great guy. His name is Percy Pascoe. Here's an editorial he wrote. I like the checkbox next to his name. I bet he doesn't dress like a gay man!

Dress like a gay man? 

Joyce Straton: "Get yourself down to the Castro or whatever gay district exists in your town, march into the most fashionable and snooty clothing store you find and demand that a gay male employee find an outfit for you. Buy what he suggests. Do not sabotage your new-found fashion sense by wondering if the outfit makes you look gay. If it does, this is a point in your favor. There is a reason why women love gay men -- and it's not only because they'll dance with fat girls."

Now now. I like to dance with fat girls, for sure, but I won't dress like a gay man to do it. Sorry. Try again.

Somehow the next article seems related..

Wired: "Some Apple lovers are so unhappy with Mac OS X's new look, they've hacked the OS to make the revolutionary Aqua interface more like the version it's supposed to replace."

New look for Radio site 

The Radio UserLand site gets a new look, the cactus is back, he's in the Swiss Alps, outside Davos.

I thought he should be wearing lederhosen, or a ski cap or scarf, but Bryan said no.

It's the finest looking site I've ever seen. Look at the dot over the I in Radio, see how it's radiating. Beautiful.

New Radio release 

We released a new upgrader for Radio. If you're already a Radio user, please try the upgrader, do a backup first, and follow the instructions carefully.

We've erased a bunch of glitches. The first-time profile of Radio now should match the docs. It's an outliner and a server. The Tools menu works. Everything else is turned off by default.

If you've not tried Radio yet, please wait a couple of weeks until this stuff is fully burned in. First impressions count a lot, we know that, in fact, we live that.

What's next? 

Now that directories work smoothly and the community is building their own, I'm starting to look at other outline renderings for Manila. Here's the next one.

New! Slideshows in Manila give Radio equivalent presentation capabilities to MORE. In those days we rendered slideshows to LaserWriters using QuickDraw. Today we store outlines on a Manila site and render them in HTML.

Any OPML-capable outliner can participate. The outlines are just DG messages that contain outlines. Just like directories. We totally don't care how the OPML got there.

And wouldn't it be cool if someone put up a server that rendered OPMLs in Flash, PDF, SVG.

Or did an expand/collapse JavaScript page that takes the URL of an OPML document?

No law says that you can't do this stuff in PHP or Java, Perl, Cold Fusion, Zope, VB, or Lasso.

This is called bootstrapping, and it can be a lot of fun!

Development philosophy 

I'm in a fairly unique frame of mind right now. I just spent three really productive days writing about a product I've been trying to create for years. Brent, Jake and myself will loop over the glitches from here, and get it smoothed out, and in a couple of weeks, Radio will be as clean and easy to evolve as Manila was last year at this time.

This frame of mind, having stayed at the very top level for a sustained period, reminds me that commercial development is a looping process. You revisit problems again and again. Sometimes things just get more complex and it doesn't narrow down to end-user functionality. That's what the last eight years have been like. Frustrating. Too many changes and disruptions to pull it all together, not just in the market but in the UserLand team.

We've spent pretty much all of this year working on Radio. Even in this period there were some confusing corner-turns, risks taken, and some decisions backed-out-of. And in doing so, music goes back onto the todo list for 2001 or 2002. We've got music playing, queuing, programming, all kinds of neat tricks, and they work. As the music on the Internet activity grows we'll be playing tunes and trying new things.

Do they loop in other communities? Hard to know. I struggle to transfer what I know into the product through other excellent developers. They don't know all that I know, but they listen and I teach. What if there had been a fork? Then presumably less of what I know would be in the product, and the chances to repeat mistakes would be infinite. More looping. (Sometimes I think Linux is nothing other than a very big looparound, and so is the Internet.)

Is looping another way of decribing bootstraps? Probably.

We've had a luxury that other outliner developers didn't. Because I got liquid through the Symantec IPO, I could fund development continuously. Our outliner didn't stop when the Mac market withered, and when the customers stopped wanting to pay.

Anyway, we have just a few more weeks before Radio is really end-user. You'll know I think it's ready for the masses when we post an announcement on, which so far has remained unaware of Radio. That's good because first impressions matter.


Last update: Wednesday, December 06, 2000 at 5:40 AM Eastern.

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