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Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, March 06, 2001. Tuesday, March 06, 2001

Brent says he had fun writing this RFC.

Tim O'Reilly: "Although the software business was a profitable one for OíReilly, weíve realized that itís not a strong strategic fit with our other efforts. Itís time for us to focus on our core mission of providing information on emergent technologies through conferences, online resources, and books."

Evan Williams: "Back in 1997, I was one of the 25-or-so people in O'Reilly's software division. I had more than one debate during that time with Tim and others in the company about whether or not O'Reilly should even be in the software business."

Here, "PC Magazine reviews six reasonably-priced packages that offer an off-the-shelf solution for under $100,000." I remember the good old days when PC Mag reviewed software that cost under $100. What happened??

Chris Gulker has a couple of notes on his blog about our breakfast yesterday. He's still using Frontier 5. Hmm. I've got some work to do here.

I always wondered what Hack the Planet was about. "In the late 70s, an engineer named Steve Wozniak decided that every person should be able to afford a computer. This is now known as the 'personal computer industry'. Woz hacked the planet."

If only Josh Lucas weren't under an NDA.

Take a tour of NYC in 360 degrees. Remember this so you can tell your grandchildren that you remember when people poured huge amounts of time and money into web tricks and did it for free.

Question: How many Ray's Pizza's are there in Manhattan? Answer. Now how many of them are the original?

Phone rings. A stranger. "According to our records you have still not voted for Proposition A." I say "Sorry, I'm busy," in an offended voice. Now I wish I hadn't hung up so quickly. I'd like to know exactly how they know I didn't vote. You can be sure I'd vote for a proposition that made that illegal.

Megnut is doing something innovative. Hint: View Source.

Lots of discussion about my Little IDL. Thanks. I've made some small changes this morning, then I want to pass it on to my friends at the BigCo's. I also wrote a little background on the politics of SOAP and XML-RPC in 2001. Yeah, I like politics, as long as it's working.

I'm a big believer in A-B comparisons. So here's the WSDL version of the Manila interface, graciously authored by Simon Fell. It's not exactly an apples-apples comparison, Simon's spec describes the interface for all copies of Manila, the ALIDL version shows all the interfaces supported by a single machine. You'll find Manila in there alongside a bunch of other pieces of software running on the machine.

One of the neatest things about the human mind (or at least mine) is that now that I've done an IDL, I understand Simon's WSDL file! Yoahahow. What I stared at with incomprehension a couple of days ago now evokes "Oh that's a good idea." Go figure. However I'd change the names on some of the elements to make them enter the mind more easily. complexType is not a good name. It unsells me quickly. Complex? Uhh no thanks. I've already got plenty of complexities. Try again.

MacEdition mourns the passing of MacWEEK. It makes my skin tingle to remember how much I used to look forward to the weekly dose of MacWEEK in the late 80s and early 90s. Back then we called it the "sweaty palms" phenomenon. In its heyday PC WEEK was the same way. When it arrived everything stopped, and I read every damned article. I wonder why. The Mac was good then. At breakfast yesterday with Chris Gulker, a former Apple person, he pointed out that betw 1990 and 1995 they didn't ship a new Mac OS. What were the thousand engineers working on? Cloning Photoshop and Quark. Oy gevilt. Maybe that's why the excitement passed. Maybe it's because immediately after shipping System 7, Apple started promoting Pink. Maybe it's because the developers didn't hang together. Maybe it's because the users didn't support the developers. Maybe it's because Apple resisted the Web? Maybe there's no reason, maybe all good things pass. MacWEEK sure was a good thing. BTW, the first MacWEEK editor was Jon Littman. Stephen Beale was the last.

Paul Snively takes issue with the idea that Apple started promoting Pink shortly after System 7 shipped. I think basically what happened is that Sculley talked about it with a bunch of reporters, and that made headlines, and created a permanent issue for Apple. Pink is late, the stories would say for years to come. He was the CEO at the time and had that kind of power. One of the funny things about Apple is that the lower-level people never accepted the authority of the execs, so if Sculley said something they didn't have to acknowledge it. It was a funny company, because I don't think the execs ever accepted the workers' point of view.

Anyway, the disconnect made Apple a strange company to deal with. No one was in charge, so silly projects like cloning Quark and Photoshop could get staffed and when JLG wanted a scripting language for the Mac in 1988, he had to go on a press tour, perhaps to prove to his people someone else cared about what he thought. My theory on the cause for the disconnect was the lurking shadow of Steve Jobs, no one took these "new" guys seriously (Sculley, Spindler, Amelio, so many weird un-Apple-like people showed up at the top). Apple people bought the Legend Of Steve, and since he wasn't there at the time, every one of them had a chance to be The New Steve. Lots of very opinionated people, just like Microsoft, but unlike Microsoft, they didn't seek outside opinions. And look at how they slip in new versions of the OS without killing old ones. It's not that hard. Hey, Sculley didn't know jack about software. I think we all agree on that.

Caterina: "Something I read online yesterday has been haunting me. It said something to the effect that marrying someone for love was a luxury that the poor could not afford, something we here in the first world take for granted."

More from Caterina: "So much good mail today from Dave's readers." That makes me feel good! I'm glad that Scripting News people are so thoughtful. Excellent.

The Nation: Liberation Musicology.

I'm reading a book on the start of World War I written in the 60s. Russia, France, England and Germany spent a few decades planning the war. I don't think they understood why they wanted war. It reminds me of the war of the music industry with its users. I don't think they have a clue that their argument isn't with the users, it's with the past. The Internet is here. All their users have it. It's like trying to fight a war after the technology of war has changed. They always plan to re-fight the last war. It doesn't end up working out that way.

BTW, since Microsoft is rushing Office XP to market, it's fair to assume that it doesn't have any meaningful SOAP 1.1 support. Why? Because we are still working on interop. They may say they have SOAP support, but it would be like the XML support the previous version of Word had. So deeply Microsoft-like as to be irrelevant. Has anyone done any development on Word's XML support? I've never heard of anyone doing it. Maybe I missed something. It was so bizarre, perhaps it was in some way XML. But interop is the reason for XML. So if you don't interop, why bother?


Last update: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 at 10:41 PM Eastern.

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