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Permanent link to archive for Saturday, December 16, 2000. Saturday, December 16, 2000


Gettin started: What is SuperOpenDirectory?

A message I posted yesterday to Radio users, explaining how we developed the directory capability, and the role SOD played and what role we expect it to play in the future.

One interesting thing about directories is that they are at the intersection between Manila and Radio. But then they're not limited to our runtime environment or authoring tool, because the format they agree on is open -- it's called OPML.

Talking with Jeff Barr, the author of Headline Viewer yesterday, about future directions for syndication, I asked him to look at OPML. At some point we're going to teach My.UserLand to understand and generate OPML. Intuitively, I think OPML is part of the future of syndication technology.

BTW, this is the reason we were able to bootstrap RSS, having both a tool for generating it and one that consumed RSS, and having a website with content, there was no chicken and egg problem, we had three sides covered -- the tool, the aggregator, and content. It's a three-cornered hat.

Same with OPML, as long as we can both generate and consume it, we can bootstrap, without waiting for anyone. That's how progress is made. Mail lists often come to a halt, but nothing can stop a developer with an itch that needs scratching, and is willing to give up evenings and weekends to get the job done.

Managing a dozen directories 

I haven't been counting but it's too hard to manage all the directories I'm maintaining. I'd like to manage even more, but it's got to get easier first.

Dreaming: I'd like to have a folder on my local disk that contains all the directory outlines. When I want to add or change a link I'd edit the file, save the change locally, and have it percolate into the cloud.

As with most things these days, it's all about user interface, the technology is easy. This could be the sucessor to upstreaming, which works but has a few flaws.

Related, a new sample tool for Radio, shortens the process of FTPing pictures to a server.

Closing the book on RSS 

Jeff and I see eye to eye, I think, on what happened with RSS. The people who took control represent a small minority of the people who use RSS. The community was poorly organized because of the messy way it started, and was vulnerable to a small group that wanted to take it in their own direction. There's nothing wrong with the direction they want to go, but it was wrong to cut off evolutionary development of RSS from its simple beginnings, or to confuse people about what it is. RSS has a philosophy, a strong one (brain-dead simplicity), that is reversed by the new spec.

Has RSS lost its mind? Yes it has, imho. Two RSSes is one too many. It would be like having two Frontiers or two Excels, or two Pythons. Not workable. But right now there are two incompatible RSSs.

I would like to close this fissure, and ask humbly, on behalf of the users of RSS, that Rael Dornfest and his team change the name of their spec to something completely different, so that RSS can be what it is -- nothing more, nothing less.

Their work is just beginning. Somehow they have to sell the installed base, or at least get their ideas in front of them. They would do better if I could report on their progress on Scripting News, and be an enthusiastic supporter (and critic) of their work. We get a lot of traffic from people who are interested in this stuff. With a different name, I could promote their work without fear of hurting RSS by adding to the confusion.

An algorithm for product naming 

Programmers have a lot of trouble coming up with names for products and formats, but there's no need for that, they just need an algorithm.

As I conceive the product, I write myself an email about my hopes and aspirations for the product. I do it in the most positive terms, I don't worry about selling anyone other than myself. I just write. Then I read. Look for strong adjectives. Make a list. Somewhere in that list is the product name. If it's not apparent what it is, I get out a thesaurus, and write down synonyms. By that point there are usually a few names begging me to use them. If not, then there's a problem with the product, I assume, and I go back and reconceive it.

Repeat until you have a concept and a name.

Blown away 

I was blown away by the results of yesterday's survey.

I asked about full-time net connections because I was curious to find out if we have critical mass among Scripting News readers to try some real-world experiments in P2P. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that we do! Now I have to convince you to install some software, and let's get some cool stuff flowing around our own little Internet. I continue to be inspired by you guys and gals.

Seasons Greetings 

Tis the season.

I see lots of venting on various weblogs. Tis the season for frustration. Add to the normal stress of parties and presents and families and hurt feelings, in the US, we had a very extended political season, that stretched into the holiday season. It was very scary. Rocked our foundation. My advice, let it go. Realize that you just have one vote, and it might not even be counted. You have no power, neither do I. Once that's established then our real power is revealed. The power to love and accept each other, and through that, to accept ourselves.

A few years ago, when I was very confused about love and sex, a good friend said "Dave this may sound corny, but you can love yourself." I argued, "No way, love is a two-way thing." Now I laugh. I was right, and so was my friend. Ultimately the love inside is the only love you can really experience, as a powerful adult. You are both yourself and your lover. Think about it.


Last update: Saturday, December 16, 2000 at 7:29 PM Eastern.

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