Weblog Archive >  2001 >  June Previous/Next

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

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, June 30, 2001. Saturday, June 30, 2001

John Rhodes: "The days of rabid profits for Microsoft through certain software sales channels are almost gone. It doesn't seem that way to us, but Microsoft knows this." A must-read. 

I agree. Microsoft's new services model is the most ambitious Hail Mary ever in the software business. It won't work because the users have had a taste of Napster, and they remember how cool it was. Or maybe the users won't care. But get this -- my issue was and still is Smart Tags. I don't care if MS wants to own everything else. Either the users and govt will let them do that or not. I want to keep writing and making tools for others write for the Web. That's my business, and in order for that to work we need the Web to remain a high-integrity publishing environment. That's my issue. 

Further, we will support HailStorm and Passport, if it's possible for us to do so. But we will also support whatever AOL does, or Sun, IBM, and most importantly an XML-based storage and membership system defined by independent developers that's open and clonable and decentralized. If it's not possible to do this and co-exist with Microsoft, well, we'll cross that bridge when we get there!  

Hey what happened to Scoble? He pieced together the tea-leaves on Microsoft's interest in open source. And he got the story right, even down to the O'Reilly connection, and I guess this embarassed Microsoft. Now there hasn't been an update to his weblog since Tuesday. I asked Scoble what happened. "I can't talk about it, Dave."  

I had comments here about Microsoft's role in Scoble's disappearance, but I decided to let people investigate and make up their own minds, rather than tell them what I think happened. I have the same tea-leaves to read that everyone else does.  

NY Times: "..the court could order Microsoft to license the entire Windows operating system code to several companies, each of which would have full rights to produce its own version of the software, much as I.B.M. did with its personal computer hardware platform in the 1980's." This is incorrect. IBM did not license its hardware platform in the 80s. They were cloned. 

Mike Donnelan is searching for the real monopolist. Geesh just think about it -- they're still at large!  


Peterme continues the KnowNow bash-o-rama. It's funny he's right. KnowNow used to know what they don't seem to now know.  

Did you notice that Salon's roundup on the Appeals Court decision didn't include the point of view of a single practicing software developer? We got a lot of respect from the court, they wrote at length about independent software vendors, but this hasn't caught up with the press that covers our industry yet. (For perspective, imagine an important decision about medicine that didn't include the point of view of a doctor or a user of health care.) 

Another example. A NY Times think piece about software and monopolies and network effects in the Internet economy, and they only talk to lawyers and economics professors. No technologists. Welcome to the invisible profession.  

It's Saturday so just for fun here's a meta-survey, a survey about a survey! 

Permanent link to archive for Friday, June 29, 2001. Friday, June 29, 2001

Good morning sports fans! 

The week in review: Microsoft Microsoft Microsoft

Survey: Do you think Microsoft adds features to their operating system in order to eliminate competition?  

Kuro5hin: "They're not winning because they have a quality product, they're not winning because they're skillful at business, and they're not winning because they're lucky; they're winning because they cheated." 

The Standard: "Despite what you've heard, ethical lapses by the Microsoft judge did not undermine the antitrust case against the software giant." 

6/16/00: "In other words, the strategy, which is clearly illegal, appears to have worked." 

Dan Gillmor has a copy of an email from Steve Ballmer to all Microsoft employees re the Appeals Court decision. 

BTW, on a macro level, something is seriously wrong in high-tech. Moore's curve keeps getting steeper, networking technology is advancing at a huge pace, yet we're in a deep recession and it's getting deeper. This should not be happening. My belief is that the flow of new user-oriented networking software has been disrupted, that's why it's slowing down. We've stopped coming up with new things for the users to do with networks. There are two reasons for this, imho. The VCs have drawn the wrong conclusions about the causes for the dotcom bust. They weren't investing in technology, they were starting publishing companies and retail outlets. This is not the proper role for technology investors. The other reason is that under the guise of "innovation" Microsoft has scared off all its competition. My company is one of the few that doesn't mind throwing everything into a market that, by conventional wisdom, is impossible to reach because of the existence of Microsoft. 

David Brown. "When I started at Microsoft, I worked on LAN Manager, a networking package that competed directly with Novell. We were focused with laser-like intensity to beat Novell at their own game. But we couldn't -- Novell was entrenched, and since people had to buy and install LAN Manager in the same fashion they bought and installed Novell NetWare, people went with the established product." A must-read. 

I explain part of UserLand's roadmap on Hack-the-Planet. 

Dori Smith's list of Mac HTML editors. "This is the software category that supposedly doesn't exist." 

Register: Usenet Creator Dead

Hey it's Friday, so we have a new XML format for Frontier. This one serializes and deserializes tables. Why do we need this format when XML-RPC object serialization works so well? This format is specifically designed for Frontier and includes all the data types we support, including scripts and menubars. We got tired of doing one-off XMLizations for each application. This should work in all cases. The first application for it will be glossaries in Smurf Turf (a codename). 

Hey it's Friday, and that means if you want to read Jake's Brainpan you'd better not be using MSIE.  

Reuters: "'When you damage the brain or lose some of the aspects of mind or personality, that doesn't necessarily mean the mind is being produced by the brain. All it shows is that the apparatus is damaged,'' Parnia said, adding that further research might reveal the existence of a soul." 

Deborah Branscum reporting from Stockholm. 

More new Manila courses by Ken Dow. He's the best. 

Bryan is totally on a roll. 

On this day in 1999 Slashdot was acquired by Andover.  

Picking up the thread from yesterday, getting some pushback from O'Reilly folks. Guys and gals, clearly Frontier should have been in your XML-RPC book, and not just in the foreword, which I wrote. Without Frontier there would not have been an XML-RPC to write a book about. I'd love to support the book fully without any reservation, but the route-around is pretty clear. Why should I help sell your product when you exclude ours? (I do help sell it, anyway.) That this discussion has to happen now is completely embarassing, but the book is out, for everyone to see, with your name on it. This is what O'Reilly thinks XML-RPC is. Are UserLand's products part of XML-RPC? Unequivocally, yes

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, June 28, 2001. Thursday, June 28, 2001

Good morning lovers of the Web. 

Will things return to normal here? I hope not! 

DaveNet: A good decision for ISVs

NY Times: "Microsoft has a 93 to 94 percent monopoly over the operating system market, a 96 percent share of the office applications suite business and an 88 percent share of the browser market," said Ed Black, president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, and an opponent of Microsoft. "Hailstorm and Passport blueprint a huge strategy, which uses the same monopoly practices which have now be found to be illegal." 

OJR: Content Management for the Masses

A new Bryan Bell theme, perfect for school weblogs. 

Thomas Madsen-Mygdal is excerpting the decision, showing text that affirms the lower court rulings. Thanks Thomas. 

Heads-up: Motto Change. (Explained.) 

NY Times: "The court did uphold parts of Judge Jackson's findings that the company violated antitrust laws in its efforts to protect its monopoly position, but it ordered that a new judge rule on the penalties for the company." 

Other reports: BBC, Guardian, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Motley Fool, Standard

NY Times: Jack Lemmon dies. "Through most of his 60 movies, Mr. Lemmon was the least glamorous and most approachable of movie stars — the good-natured, ordinary guy next door with a slightly skewed moral compass. He was a master of sardonic comedy and could convey urban frustrations so deftly that audiences identified with him and thus were able to laugh at themselves." 

Microsoft PR: "Dave, I think we need to cancel the 9AM call. Looks like there is some other news that trumps smart tags."  

News.Com: "Handing Microsoft a major victory in its antitrust case, a federal appeals court has vacated a lower court's ruling calling for the break-up of the software titan." 

Reading the decision now. There's a lot of cause for hope. The Appeals Court invalidates many of Microsoft's claims about its monopoly power in operating systems. I haven't gotten to the part about the browser yet. Update, it gets better. They seem to agree with Jackson's Findings of Fact re Microsoft's use of a monopoly in one market to attain a monopoly in another. Update, got to the part on Java. Every developer should read that section. The software industry is changing (for the better) before our eyes. Bravo to the judges! 

Dan Gillmor is reading the decision too. 

Today's song: "Turn the clock to zero buddy, don’t wanna be no fuddy duddy. We're starting up a brand new day." 

Motley Fool: "Graphics and animation software developer Macromedia says it will take 'aggressive steps' as it looks to cut costs in the face of slowing demand for its products." 

Evan Williams on Exodus: "Every time I've gone in there in the last few months, it's more and more barren. Computers are disappearing. Racks are emptying. Whole cages are clearing out. Scary. Especially since Exodus is in the confidence business. People pay them the big bucks to rest easy that their servers are protected." 

Something to believe in Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I want to share a little story. I know Connie Guglielmo through her husband John Leddy, who like Brad Pettit and Steve Zellers, worked at Symantec after I left, for the part of Symantec that I founded. When I first read her wonderful Smart Tags story I was fooled and thought I was reading an accident that revealed that her publisher had less than perfect integrity. I sent her an email. She responded, and we went back and forth a few times. At the end of the exchange, glowing from finding a kindred spirit from my past, getting help from a reporter of high integrity, I said "Maybe we've found something to believe in."

Even during the dotcom boom, while cynical carpetbaggers swooped in and turned the Web into a no-integrity tangle of "business models," we had something to believe in -- ourselves and each other. Now we got a chance to find out who "each other" are, this issue bonded people at all kinds of publications, from the Wall Street Journal and San Jose Mercury News, to ZDNet and News.Com, and Manila and Blogger; and probably included some people at Microsoft, although it's unlikely we'll ever know who they are.

Yet, as with the CDA nightmare, which was overturned almost exactly four years ago, one editorial voice, conspicuously, did not speak -- The NY Times. We waited, both times, for them to stand for the value of free expression, and both times were disappointed. I can forgive Microsoft, and do; but I can't overlook such an obvious omission. Why didn't they stand up for the integrity of the Web?

O'Reilly's XML-RPC book Permanent link to this item in the archive.

O'Reilly's XML-RPC book is now shipping. "XML-RPC, a simple yet powerful system built on XML and HTTP, lets developers connect programs running on different computers with a minimum of fuss. Java programs can talk to Perl scripts, which can talk to ASP applications, and so on. With XML-RPC, developers can provide access to functionality without having to worry about the system on the other end, so it's easy to create web services."

Gotta complaint though. Looking in the index, I didn't find UserLand, Frontier, or me. The only mention of Frontier is the confusing name given to the first Perl XML-RPC module. For the record, UserLand was the first to implement XML-RPC, in Frontier. (Radio also has full support.)

When I reviewed the first draft of the book, I found that the authors had completely left us out of the story. When I saw this I rushed to write the foreword to the book. At least the publishing people at O'Reilly had the foresight to make the offer.

So I know I'm helping them sell their book, and I hope it's a big success, and maybe they'll help us get the next one off the ground. I don't think we should have to do anything to keep from being written out of technologies we create. We're running a business here too, as O'Reilly is -- and we help them sell books, it seems fair they would help the pioneering product that made XML-RPC possible. That's reciprocation, and it's a key part of the Web. To O'Reilly it's time for a "brand new day." What do you say?

BTW, they have someone else talking about XML-RPC at their Open Source Convention. I offered to do it. Never got a response.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, June 27, 2001. Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Tomorrow's Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is dropping Smart Tags from IE6. Brief comments here. 

DaveNet: Microsoft drops a bombshell

Eric Raymond, Eric Kidd, Wes Felter, David Stutz and David Reed comment on today's Microsoft announcement. 

John Rhodes: "Microsoft doesn't care much about shared source or Smart Tags and we are wasting our time following their marketing trail." 

Miguel de Icaza: "Man, the plot thickens! More .NET confusion galore!" 

By the way, Scoble figured this out on Sunday. He read the tea-leaves perfectly. The Microsoft PR people went into a tail-spin. eWeek picked up the story on Tuesday. What a success for Weblog-Land. Give the man a Pulitzer. 

Brigitte Eaton: "I hate my pets." 

Cayce Ullman: SOAP for Python v0.9.7

A vision of Office 2004. 

A cool domain that's not taken. 

Looks like Microsoft rushed today's announcement. There's not a clue about it on MSNBC, NY Times, Wired.  

News.Com: "In a move as political as it is technological, Microsoft said Wednesday it will use its new 'shared source' philosophy to help spread the software plumbing of its Microsoft.Net plan beyond the Windows operating system." 

ZDNet: Microsoft edges into sharing code

Infoworld: Microsoft shares code for .NET tools

Greg White explains a registry hack on Windows that enables Smart Tags even for sites that have opted out.  

Evan Williams: "Smart Tags are now turned off for all Blog*Spot sites." 

I was surprised and pleased to see Evan do this. He had commented earlier that he'd wait and see. Well I guess he didn't wait very long. Very nice.  

"The ugliest bit of engineering" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I looked over our entire Web content framework, from responders to Manila, the result of five years of really hard work, and there are no klooges as ugly as the code that turns off Smart Tags. It's absolutely the ugliest bit of engineering we have. On every hit we have to try to be an HTML parser and find the <title> of the document and correctly insert the tag without adding too much overhead to our already overburdened servers and without breaking the HTML, now and in the future. Any other way of doing it is just too much work when you're hosting thousands of free sites. So where are the standards purists at Microsoft on this? Couldn't they have done it with an HTTP header? That could have been clean and efficient. Or made it opt-in for the webmaster? Or just forget the whole friggin thing.

KnowNow Launches Permanent link to this item in the archive.

You can know what until now, only KnowNow knew...

KnowNow: "Real-Time Enterprise Solutions that Drive Business Across the Internet."

I sent an email to Rohit, "Could you possibly have picked a worse day to launch?"

But no matter, I still love him, and Adam and Sally, and wish them the best of luck. Watch the company. They're smart people.

Dan Gillmor: "Imagine, for example, that you're looking at a map of major Bay Area highways. The map is embedded in a PC spreadsheet or Web browser. Every 30 seconds, it updates the average traffic speeds noted by road sensors at various locations along those highways. I saw such a map earlier this week in Mountain View, at the offices of KnowNow."

Megnut: "Looking over the site, I feel two things: relief that I'm gone, it's just obvious that the corporate style at KnowNow is not my style; and a bit of sadness, because I loved the idea of building kick-ass real-time web applications. And KnowNow provides the tools to do it. I imagine we'll be seeing some really amazing things being built with this stuff in the next year or two."

Joel: "Listen, bubbie: if I can't understand it, and I've been writing software for twenty years, then I don't know who will."

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, June 26, 2001. Tuesday, June 26, 2001

The Smart Tags Weblog: "I started this site to coordinate work to disable Microsoft's smart tags feature on as much of the Web as we possibly can. I decided to do this as people have been sending me stories about work going on in various server environments to make it easy for users to do so. I got an email from a webmaster who works for the Australian government wanting to know how to do it. There must be a place where we can exchange information about this. It's in that spirit that I started this site." 

East Side Journal: Microsoft drops the ball on smart tags

Sheila: "Dearest Bill,

3DJohn writes: "Along with everyone else, I've been watching and roiling over the IE6 Smart Tags thing for several weeks now. Tonight it just occurred to me that perhaps Microsoft is being Too Smart By A Half. It seems to me that some well-funded company or coalition of interested parties who are stridently anti-Microsoft could provide their own set of Smart Tags specifically targeting Microsoft websites with appropriate commentary that would sandbag all of the bloated MSBS posted there with simple, truthful annotations... or worse. In a war fought with killer lasers, a simple mirror can become a powerful (and extraordinarily inexpensive) offensive weapon. (By the way, Scripting News needs an update on the current motto at the top of the page.)" 

eWeek: "But Scoble was not buying this for a moment, saying that while Microsoft may well have meant to remove the list from the beta, 'it indicates to me that they are seriously considering shipping the .Net runtimes on Linux.'" Scoble! 

Joseph Palmer: "I suspect that last night's set of smart tags have been muzzled, toned down, reduced in scope." 

I've been getting so much cool email. Now that they've shipped and we've done another round of debating on the smart tags mail list, it's time to start doing instead of talking.  

So I wrote a script that turns off Smart Tags for any site that's served through Frontier's built-in web server, which of course includes all Manila sites. I published the source of this script on the Samples website, with a request for comment on the Frontier site. (The script also works in Radio.)  

There's a bit of philosophy in the script. To balance Microsoft's must-opt-out policy, we also make it must-opt-out. If you want Smart Tags you can have them, but you must turn them on, they will be off by default for every UserLand-hosted site, and we'll make it easy for every Frontier system manager to have the same policy. In one bit of work thousands of websites will turn off Microsoft. Not bad, eh? 

Here's a screen shot of postFilters.disableMicrosoftHacks

Mike Duffy explains how to disable smart tags in Apache. 

Hey it rained here yesterday and it's going to rain again today. That's the rarest of things. Great things happen when it rains in the summer in Calif.  

The Economist: "Unlike television broadcasting, streaming video over the Internet gets more uneconomic the bigger the audience." 

Dan Gillmor: "The Times' response to its loss in court reminds me of the kid who brings the bat and ball to the pickup baseball game, gets mad a striking out and goes home, taking the bat and ball. If he can't win, nobody will play." 

Four years ago today the Communications Decency Act was overturned by the US Supreme Court.  

Bill Gates: "The free exchange of ideas on a global basis is something that is important for the US politically and economically. Let's not undermine the world-wide trend toward free expression by setting a bad example when it comes to free speech on a computer network." 

Wired: MS Monopoly Vigil Intensifies. "The latest buzz: Expect a decision this Friday. A court clerk wouldn't confirm or deny it, of course, except to say that the judges typically try to finish their cases 'by the end of the summer.'" 

You can sign up to be notified of the Microsoft decision via email. I signed up of course. 

Scott Rosenberg: "Microsoft will choose new directions for its technology, and the very directions the company insists its users are clamoring for will -- by sheer coincidence -- move power over content and commerce into its own hands." Scott continues: "The smoke of today's AOL/Microsoft war obscures a secret agenda the two companies will never admit to publicly: They don't like the Internet -- and never have."  

Susan Kitchens doesn't seem to care that the Web is falling apart before our eyes, and has just improved her site with static rendering. Keep on truckin Susan. Right on right on. 

Hey things picked up on the The Silicon Valley Roundtable. I'm pitching Bruce Perens on ignoring Microsoft for a while and working with commercial developers who are not Microsoft.  

The eGroups user interface is still available in the UK. 

Permanent link to archive for Monday, June 25, 2001. Monday, June 25, 2001

NY Times: Court Sides with Freelancers in Electronic Rights Case. "Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of The Times, said today the company 'will now undertake the difficult and sad process of removing significant portions from its electronic historical archive.'" 

The Times has created "an online form and set up phone lines for freelance contributors who want their work to remain available — (212) 556-8008 or 8009 and (888) 814-2698." 

According to the Mac OS X weblog, FreeBSD developer Jordan Hubbard is taking a job at Apple, and he's really excited about it. Mac OS X is built on FreeBSD. 

Looks like Marek's RadioPossibility is getting going. Manila hosting, 30 days free, $10 per month thereafter. 

Some guy named Michael: "It seems that your 'web-logging' friend 'Dave Winer' managed to make it on a 'very-undesirable' list. I will pray for him and all those like him who, whether intentionally or not, spread filth instead of useful information." 

DaveNet: Does Microsoft own the Web now? 

More discussion on the Smart-Tags mail list

Sjoerd: "The Internet Explorer 6 Preview pages are updated. Check out the new Smart Tags page and download the Smart Tags for the Everyday Web; 'Brought to you by MSN'." 

Survey: Will you install Smart Tags? 

The Silicon Valley Roundtable has started with posts from Craig Mundie, Bruce Perens, Brett Glass and Dan Gillmor. 

I posted my first comment on the roundtable. Their discussion group software doesn't appear to support per-message pointers, so I can't show you what I said, I'll have to tell you. "All this legal mumbo-jumbo leaves me cold. Most reasonable open source developers use LGPL. We use the MIT License for our open source stuff at UserLand. Craig, why should anyone care what Microsoft thinks about open source? You're against it. That's not a big surprise." 

Albert Delgado reports on the NECC meeting in Chicago. "The message was that in the use of Manila in a school or district setting, there is a role for the programmer, the designer and the contributors of content. It was also mentioned that with Manila, one doesn't need a programmer or designer, since there are great themes built into the program, and thus a teacher can produce content with no HTML experience." 

JY Stervinou points to a Perl script that downloads an eGroup, he's not sure if it still works for YahooGroups. 

Today's song: Hyakugojyuuichi!!!!!!! 

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, June 24, 2001. Sunday, June 24, 2001

Scoble: "I'm pretty sure Microsoft will announce soon that it'll ship the .NET runtimes on Linux." 

And then I got an email from a .NET tester saying "The Target Operating System (TargetOS) list is: Linux (kbLinux), UNIX (kbUNIX), Windows (Windows), Macintosh (kbMAC), Windows CE (WinCE)." 

Whew -- the UserLand-Google outage has cleared. Our sites are indexed again. Yesss! 

Here's an example of a query that would have gotten you nothing yesterday, today it gets you the info.  

Update: Our stuff is gone again. Oh mama!  

Update: They're back. 

Having fun with the referer logs. Searching for "naked woman in public" actually hits a DaveNet piece.  

John Van Dyk: "Next time I get any bright ideas about the roof, could someone please stop by and hold me down until the idea goes away?" 

Slashdot.org has been down for much of the weekend. 

Aaron Swartz has pictures from Apple's WWDC. 

I've been getting emails from Yahoo about deactivation of inactive mail lists that I started. None of the lists, so far, have much real content in their archives. I have no problem with Yahoo deactivating them, but please give us an easy way to get the content off the servers before the files are deleted. 

Two surveys yesterday, a mixed response from the Microsoft survey. A slim majority says they're confused by Microsoft. And in a landslide, 75 percent of the participants say that life itself is confusing. Perhaps the other 25 percent have some kind of religious faith. I want to find a way to ask the question of whether people approve of what Microsoft is doing, confusing or not. 

Dan Gillmor: "Businesses are beginning to realize that ad-hocracies, typically small groups, are the place where some of the most creative thinking gets done. People out at the edges of organizations, communicating with each other and their counterparts at other organizations, inevitably find ways around corporate bureaucracies."  

Joel Spolsky, an excellent ex-Microsoft guy, says of Adam Bosworth: "As usual Adam is incredibly right, and he's high-bandwidth, and if you can't follow what he's saying, don't apply for a job at Fog Creek!" 

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, June 23, 2001. Saturday, June 23, 2001

Survey: Does Microsoft confuse you? 

Getting ready for the Silicon Valley Roundtable next week, after digesting the latest news in Microsoft's war with open source, thinking about their roadmap. They want to pull developers into DotNet, take that as a given. They lost a lot of developers to Java and open source. Indisputable. Now they start a PR campaign against open source in the hopes of wooing some of the developers back? Hmmm. Serious developers like romance and money, not bluster and threats. Imagine if you were courting a woman and she already had a boyfriend. You can't win her heart by calling the other guy a virus, a cancer, or Pac Man. Hint: Try flowers and candy. Tell her she's irresistable.  

Robert Palmer: "She's so fine there's no telling where the money went." 

In yesterday's piece: "There's no example of an adversary of Microsoft's who truly zigged to their zag, took advantage of the opportunities they left behind, the unserved constituencies." Another hint. Those are HTML developers. Designers, writers, geeks who create apps that run in the browser. Like Matt.. 

Matt Haughey: "It's tough out there, I'm hooked on the web, this is what I want to do for the next few decades. I was here before the money came raining down from the sky and I know the passion will stay long after it's gone, but it's hard to stand out against the other recently laid-off applicants." (Matt's resume.) 

Survey: Does life confuse you? 

ZDNet asks Do Java programmers really need SOAP? 

Sun's Anne Thomas-Manes recommends that Java developers do use SOAP. There's already a lot of interop. Get out from behind the wall of RMI and integrate with apps written in other languages and environments.  

Fortune: "All this makes Bill happy. And when Bill's happy, Steve is happy. And when Bill and Steve are happy, the whole company seems to hum." 

The Bay Area's natural air conditioning kicked in last night. This morning it's cold! Brrr. Feels so good. 

That's the good news. Now for the bad. At 5AM, just as the sun was coming up, with all the windows open, the house fills with skunk smell. The air was cool but it stunk like a skunk. 

Steve Gillmor interviews Adam Bosworth on the future of XML. "If someone sends you a SOAP message and you want to know how to send them back a message, there's no standard yet to say how to send them something back."  

Hey Adam! Check out the element in RSS 0.92. Sneaky eh, kind of like WSDL, but simple.  

Google now has an image search.  

MacHack: "'Hey, Steve! Wait until you hear about this great idea you just had!" 

Matthew Rothenberg: "Most of Adobe's core graphics applications will be Carbonized in their next major revs." 

SJ Merc: Microsoft Pitches Developers

Permanent link to archive for Friday, June 22, 2001. Friday, June 22, 2001

Good morning and welcome to the second Microsoft-Free-Friday. I hope you're all trying a new browser today. There are some excellent ones out there. I'm using Opera 5. It's fast! 

DaveNet: Don't Be A Deer

Doc: "It seems that John Lee liked to have his hair cut at home, and the barber was glad to oblige. But one day when he came over to John Lee's house, there was a corpse in the front parlor, laying on the couch. When the barber went over to have a closer look, the corpse — which belonged to a gaunt white man — appeared to have been dead for some time. When the barber went into John Lee's bedroom, where the old man sat ready for his haircut, the barber said, 'Did you know there's a dead guy in your living room?' 'Aw,' John Lee replied, 'That's just Kieth Richards. He always looks like that.'" 

OK, I gotta fess up, I did try to view Jake's Brainpan with MSIE. He's got the best implementation of Microsoft-Free-Friday I've seen so far. Hurry up and check it out. A little over two hours remain in the Pacific time zone. (There's always next week.) 

CF_XMLRPC is a "set of tags that implements the [XML-RPC] specification in ColdFusion." 

MacCentral: Wozniak's fireside chat. Hmm, looks like he's standing at a podium in a Holiday Inn in Dearborn Michgan.  

I'm participating next week in the Silicon Valley Roundtable

ArsDigita Corporation and Philip Greenspun have amicably settled all of their disputes. 

Larry Yudelson wants to make a rich text editor for Mozilla. 

Dan Gillmor on Opera: "I would like the browser to create entirely new instances of itself when I open a new page, rather than creating a window inside the current one." 

Paul Andrews is back, from Seattle. Welcome! 

Brent writes about performance on Mac OS X. 

Barista: "It seems that there are some at the company who feel that they are missing out on a great 'perk' when engineers are able to work from home. The new policy is that you have to be in the office Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for at least 8 hours and the hours must overlap 11am-4pm." 

Tom Matrullo: "Intellectual property has been driving the species for some 5 million years. In the past 100 or so years, it's increasingly been saddled with the chore of lining the pockets of middlemen and parasites who, sans this lining, would lack sufficient intellect to open a can of beer." 

Adam is on antibiotics and forced bed-rest. Somehow I just can't imagine him sitting still that long. I'm on antibiotics too, but I can get out. Yesterday, one of the hottest days of the year, I planted coreopsis, petunias, marigolds and am getting ready with some impatiens. Went swimming eight times. 

I'm working on a new thing I call #upstream.xml. It's a spec you drop in a folder that tells Radio how to route changes to the folder and its sub-folders. I've been getting ready to do this for at least a year or two. It's tricky code, I'm writing it slowly, but it's fun and it works. I've got the FTP driver running, today I'm working on the XSS driver. 

xmlhack: SOAP over BEEP

Chris Kaminski: "With smart tags, Microsoft is effectively extending its role from being a supplier of tools people use to view content to being the executive editor and creative director of every site on the web." 

Here's an idea we've been incubating for six years. In Frontier, if you put a name in double-quotes that it knows, it does a replacement. This glossary is hierarchic, so it loops out levels until it hits the root, so you can over-ride global definitions locally. A one-level version of this glossary is the Manila shortcuts feature. It all happens in the CMS, on the server, not in the browser, fully under the control of the writers. Now that Microsoft has raised the issue, it makes sense perhaps to formalize a proposal for developers of CMS's to do distributed glossaries. This is something we've been working on steadily too. Our global glossary is a web app, and Radio 7.0 users automatically update Radio's glossary every night to get the latest changes, via XML of course. So we've got a working flow system already built.  

If you have Radio or Frontier, jump to user.html.glossary to see your top-level glossary. Play with it. It works.  

5/15/96: "Some people have objected to the use of double-quotes, saying it interferes with a writer's process. But I'm a writer, and I love it! I've never heard a prose writer complain about this, just script writers. If you quote something that isn't in the glossary, the renderer leaves it alone. Sometimes it enables text that I wasn't expecting it to. I usually chuckle, and then put a backslash before the double-quote, which turns rendering off for the term. But often it surprises me by doing exactly the right thing. I laugh even louder when this happens!" 

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, June 21, 2001. Thursday, June 21, 2001

NY Times: "Carroll O'Connor, an actor trained in Shakespearean drama who achieved his greatest triumph playing Archie Bunker, television's malapropian, working-class bigot from Queens, died on Thursday at a hospital in Culver City, Calif. He was 76 and lived in Malibu, Calif." 

Theme song: "Girls were girls and men were men." 

"It was easy for us to be 'nice' kids," [O'Connor] wrote. "We were not preyed upon by dope pushers, our pop music did not issue thunderous invitations to a semisensate flight from normality. Our music used to be played by skilled orchestras; intelligible singers rendered tunes about dancing in the dark while orchids bloomed in the moonlight and nightingales sang in Berkeley Square and stars fell on Alabama — silly sentiments, but carried along by intelligent melodic phraseology, and if the words were doggerel they were often wonderfully compelling. I know my comparison is cranky, but there it is." 

John Lee Hooker: "No matter what anybody says, it all comes down to the same thing. A man and a woman, a broken heart and a broken home." 

A Microsoft opinion on Smart Tags. "To suggest that the author knows best how to write effectively to each individual reader is silly, yet that's what I understand of your position."  

I wonder how the US government is going to feel about Microsoft making their writing more effective for the individual reader? 

Imagine if Big Brother could have made Orwell's 1984 more effective for each individual reader. 

GoogleButtons look like they were designed by someone who cares about users and writers. 

Eric Norlin: "Who the hell said I was trying to write effectively for each individual reader?"  

Nick Sweeney: "Did Lincoln need Smart Tags in Gettysburg, to speak effectively to each individual reader? Will Microsoft be Smart Tagging the Bible? In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." Excellent! 

James Spahr: "Go read McLuhan and then tell me with at straight face that Smart Tags don't alter an author's message." 

Paul Thurrott: "This sentence includes the word nice. As I typed the sentence, I wondered why a little Smart Tag squiggle appeared under the word. Nice, France, was the only connection I could think of, and sure enough, that's what the tag referred to. The Expedia Smart Tag kicked in, asking me whether I wanted to book a flight to France." 

Post comments and questions re Smart Tags on the new mail list Rahul Dave started yesterday. 

I felt strongly that Seybold, a high-integrity organization that works at the intersection of publishing and technology, should have something to say about Smart Tags. I had dinner last night with Craig Cline, Thad McIlroy and Liz Grady from Seybold to talk about Smart Tags. This is one of my responsibilities, as I see it, as a Seybold Fellow, to raise issues that Seybold can then respond to. Craig, who is the top editorial guy at Seybold, says he will write a bulletin about Smart Tags tomorrow, and of course we'll carry it on Scripting News.  

Nicholas Petreley: "You can't compete with Microsoft without first making a deal with Microsoft over something as basic as where your customer's data is stored and how one must access it. If that thought doesn't bother you, given Microsoft's abuse of its authority in the past, then by all means, embrace what you must view as the beneficent dictator of the future of network computing." 

News.Com: "A new feature introduced in the latest test version of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system requires people to establish an account with the software maker's Passport authentication service to use new instant messaging and telephony features." Heads-up, I think it's going to be worse than that. 

Gary Robinson: "It is dangerous for one company to have control over the world's access to the Internet." Amen. 

Mark Hurst: "Microsoft's upcoming release of Windows XP contains a feature that attempts to suck all meaningful experience out of every page on the Web." 

Can you imagine a telephone company that inserted helpful tips into the middle of a phone conversation? 

Heise: Microsoft verzichtet außerhalb der USA auf Smart Tags. According to Babelfish, they're saying that Smart Tags is only for the US version of MSIE, for now. 

News.Com: Ballmer meets with Cheney. "Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer on Tuesday paid a 'courtesy call' to Vice President Dick Cheney to discuss a range of issues but did not bring up the imminent U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on the government's landmark antitrust case against the software maker."  

ZDNet: "The Web Credibility Project, launched earlier this month, will focus on how health, travel, advocacy, news and shopping sites disclose business relationships with the companies and products they cover or sell, especially when these relationships pose a potential conflict of interest." 

ESPN provides an excellent example of philosophy in baseball. "On the advice of a Tibetan Buddhist holy man, Giorgio, 37, left a Red Sox cap on Mount Everest's summit last month, then burned a New York Yankees cap, all in hopes of breaking the curse, said to have been set when the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees." 

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2001. Wednesday, June 20, 2001

AP: States Discuss New Microsoft Suit. "The state attorneys general who pursued the antitrust case against Microsoft are privately discussing a new lawsuit, concerned that the software giant's latest products will unfairly hamper competition, two leaders say." 

Sean Gallagher: Microsoft Shared Development Process is a Tough Sell. "Bill Gates said that Microsoft would still be the one to 'productize' anything that comes out of the SDP. In other words, Microsoft would consume the brainpower of its clients, and sell it back to them as software and services." 

Salon: "On June 7, four hackers released a software program that threatens to do for TV shows what Napster did for music and DivX may do for movies. The code, called ExtractStream, allows users of TiVo digital video recorders to move compressed copies of television shows from their beloved TiVo boxes into their computers, and beyond." 

It was hot today. 100+ degrees in the shade. Where's the natural air conditioning the Bay Area is famous for? 

Chris Manken: "Yesterday I participated in a world-wide meeting about Smart Tags at my company. I was there as in the role of small-fry with info. When I had finished my explanation of Smart Tags, they were horrified." 

LA Times: "So with Napster in retreat, music fans must be buying more albums in stores, right? Wrong. Retailers say their record sales are down 5% to 10% this year compared with the same period a year ago." 

MacCentral: "The annual MacHack Conference opens at 12:01 AM Thursday morning June 22 in Dearborn, Michigan with a public reunion of the original Macintosh development team." 

News.Com: Exodus warns will fall short of estimates. "They have some good customers, including eBay, Yahoo, Oracle and Travelocity." And UserLand. 

SJ Merc: "Zander said Sun was reluctant to predict when tech demand will pick up because it will take a while to work through the hangover from the tech boom, which was driven by excess venture capital, a telecommunications buildup and corporate America's fear of being Amazoned." 

Daniel Gross: "Unfortunately, the aggressive first movers may not be around to reap the ultimate profits." 

I got a notice that my site has been reported to The Net Authority for various violations of their guidelines. That's quite an honor, thank you. (Follow-up, over on Flutterby they think that The Net Authority is a joke.) 

Lego porn series 2

Here's a good page to redirect to on Microsoft-Free-Fridays. Look closely. 

Disenchanted: "Without discipline, a web log is a total waste of time. 'Blogs are typically confusing, directionless, and tiring to read. What they need is a role and a re-orientation."  

Some people use the telephone or email ineffectively or without honesty. But this doesn't reflect on the integrity of the medium. 

Sjoerd thanks me for crediting him with finding the bug in Microsoft's pitch about Smart Tags. No need to thank me Sjoerd, as you say, that's part of integrity. I saw lots of other people take credit for the screen shot you posted on your site. That's sloppy and unfair. BTW, this kind of sloppiness is one of the foundations of the weblog world. People take ideas without credit all the time.  

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, June 19, 2001. Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Steve Wozniak: "I use iCab. It's a little incomplete but works fine for me. I like the fact that iCab respects HTML standards and instantly analyses and points out the HTML errors in web pages. I check all the options to observe the standards rather than violate them as do IE and Netscape, so some pages don't look the same. If MS had observed the HTML standards then we'd have quality web pages that look the same everywhere, and webmasters would be a bit more precise and professional." 

Late last night I ran a DaveNet piece. Be sure to read it if you're interested in integrity and web-writing. In several email exchanges this morning I realized that it's necessary to have integrity in software to make integrity in web-writing possible. Rules that technology vendors must follow in order for the medium to have integrity. So far the browser vendors have mostly been staying in-bounds. But Smart Tags is over a line. We could write down the principles so we could clearly evaluate any new technology, and provide a set of guidelines to the browser developers. We could probably do it in an afternoon, an interesting afternoon.  

Forbes: When all else fails, sell sex

Be the first to find the next "cancer quote" in this Infoworld interview with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer. 

New mail list: Social Models for P2P Networks

Microsoft's Shared Development Process provides "a mechanism for fast, focused and profitable collaboration on key technology initiatives between Microsoft and industry partners." 

In May I visited Copenhagen with Evan Williams and Justin Hall and other Americans and evangelized the daylights out of weblogs. Now there are Danish weblogs. Yahoo! I want to build a list of them, so send pointers please

RageBoy's IQ test. "To enter, your IQ must be over 18! If you're dumber than that, please leave now." 

Brent: "Here's a dime, call someone who cares." 

Derek Powazek is evaluating his referer log.  

O'Reilly: "We asked the team at Apple to tell us about the Cocoa application environment and how this technology will benefit developers." 

Yeah I do this kind of annotation too. It almost meets my criteria. It has a different URL, and that's good. And it's clear where I'm talking, but the annotator isn't identified. One of the prices of annotation, imho, is that you reveal who you are, so we have a chance to evaluate where the comments are coming from. Does this annotator work for Microsoft? That would make a difference. Maybe he works for Sun? So many of the would-be annotators want to be anonymous -- and that's chicken-shit. If your comments are worth reading you should be willing to say who you are. 

An eQuill markup of today's Scripting News, but it doesn't work in Opera. I know these things now because it's my default browser. I'm becoming a hard-ass. I like it.  

BTW, Lucas Gonze, owner of the Decentralization list asked yesterday, offlist, that the discussion on Smart Tags stop. But the discussion continues. Oy. 

Grand Central provides a "Web Services Network that enables companies to connect, integrate and manage their business processes with those of their partners and customers." 

I was briefed on Grand Central late last year under non-disclosure. It's Halsey Minor's new company (he's the founder of CNET). I wrote something about it, in telegraphy, I'll go dig it up now.  

Internet 3.0: "How will money flow in version 3.0? First we need easy-to-program financial services available through SOAP and XML-RPC. A bank implemented in software. New companies will form, ones that leverage the communication tools to an advantage, to create products that are uniquely tuned to customers. Internet 2.0 brought us online car purchases, eBay, bill-paying, banking. Those were profound changes. Version 3.0 will refine this by giving us better tools for working with the new power." That's Grand Central. 

Thilo Ernst: "It would be interesting to know how Schmidt with his passion for exact, encyclopedic knowledge and firework-like associations would have perceived the Internet age. If it weren't for the lack of a decent time machine, you might have very interesting conversations with your great uncle." Yes. 

AP: "After President Bush and the US Supreme Court refused to delay his execution, a murderous Texas drug kingpin was put to death Tuesday. Juan Raul Garza, who died by lethal injection, became the second federal prisoner executed since 1963." 

I asked Lance Knobel what Europeans are likely to think of Smart Tags. "I think it also falls foul of European -- particularly French -- concern over American hegemony in the cultural arena. The reason cultural products are largely exempted from WTO regulations is because of French concern for their own culture." 

John Robb: "SmartTags are a weapon in a struggle of titans. Microsoft is at war with AOL. The Web isn't the battleground, it's in Microsoft's camp." 

WSJ: "The talks between Microsoft and America Online that collapsed this past weekend bore a striking resemblance to the discussions that led to their uneasy alliance to swap technologies in 1996." 

On this day last year I was in heavy-duty euphoria mode discovering the magic of music on the Internet thanks to Napster. Hey thanks Napster. Johnny's in the basement mixing up the medicine. 

Permanent link to archive for Monday, June 18, 2001. Monday, June 18, 2001

DaveNet: Integrity in Web-writing

Thanks for asking, but no

Kevin Werbach: Triumph of the Weblogs

JD Lasica: "Folks, pluck out the font size from your CSS and your readers will thank you." 

Lee Gomes of the WSJ explains that his story was not doctored by MSNBC. 

Coool. I may have found a bug in Opera 5. Here's a screen shot of the performance monitor on my machine. I noticed that Opera was using a pretty constant 20 percent of the CPU even when idling. Sure enough, when I quit Opera, the monitor started hovering around 0 percent when idling (that's how I like it). So maybe there's some configuration option I should turn off. BTW, I made Opera my default browser, so when I click on a link in my emailer it automatically launches Opera if it isn't running.  

I thought you'd all be pleased to know that I went to the doctor, got some antibiotics and was told that I don't have any immediately life-threatening diseases. I'm feeling pretty good about that even though I'm still sick as a dog.  

AP: "A newly formed company hopes to tap what Alaska's North Slope has in abundance--isolation, cold temperatures and natural gas--to create a huge Internet data storage center." 

Jim Romenesko quotes Megan Doscher: "I am the MSNBC editor at WSJ.com. The British paper's story about MSNBC editing one of WSJ's articles isn't true -- an early version of the Microsoft story was published to MSNBC by one of our editors, and unbeknownst to us, it was never updated with the final version. We got two pieces of reader mail on Friday morning telling us that MSNBC was 'editing' the story, and we checked and realized the production error and fixed it right away. We also explained what happened to the two readers who wrote in. Actually, the version that appeared on MSNBC was also the version that appeared in both the two-star and three-star editions of the print Wall Street Journal. It was different only from the (very late) four star." 

Internet.Com: YellowBrix to acquire iSyndicate

Macromedia: Sitespring. "The flexible Web-based application for managing all aspects of the Web site production process." 

News.Com: Microsoft, McCartney join hands

Sing along with Paul. Admiral Halsey notified me

John Robb: "I found a new technology that may help Radio users set up Websites on dynamically allocated IP addresses." 

Internet.Com: Yahoo Enters Webcasting Marketing Services

More thoughts on Smart Tags and new browser features on the Decentralization list. 

WSJ: Microsoft uses open source software. "Even while mounting a new campaign against open-source software, [Microsoft] has quietly been using such free computer code in several major products, as well as on key portions of a popular Web site -- despite denying last week that it did so." 

Register: "MSNBC has been caught doctoring copy originating from the Wall Street Journal to make it more favourable to the news channel's co-owner Microsoft. The changes introduced by MSNBC also had the effect of removing references to Microsoft competitors." 

Today is Sheila's birthday!!! 

Denver Post: Filtered underwear fights flatulence

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, June 17, 2001. Sunday, June 17, 2001

NY Times: "Will Poole, vice president of Microsoft's digital media division and one of the company's negotiators, said that AOL threatened to sue Microsoft on antitrust grounds in the absence of an agreement. 'In the end, AOL asked much, offered little and told us they wanted to sue us over XP,' he said. 'AOL didn't propose a win-win deal. They proposed an I- win-now-you-lose-later deal.'" 

Victor Stone: "While the Web content providers all laser-beam their energies to killing, or crippling or 'opening-up' a single, (sucky, buggy) feature in the next Microsoft browser they find threatening to their way of life (and celebrate the 'victories' along the way) the actual way the Internet works (or doesn't work) is being hammered out behind doors shut so tight it makes a WTO influence peddling meeting look like a Woodstock revival." 

I talked with Victor on the phone this evening. He's a recent Microsoft departee. I explained that keeping the lines clear between content and the wars companies like AOL and Microsoft fight is essential. They're going to fight their wars no matter what. But I want to keep a clean space for writers to do whatever they want with this medium. I'm not so stupid as to believe that Smart Tags is the end of the road. The Microsoft people have used precedent a lot in their arguments. So it's reasonable to assume that Smart Tags would just be another precedent a year or two from now when they start selling the inside of the browser window the same way they sell the desktop and Start menu. It's fair to think that that stuff belongs to them. But the content of my web page and yours does not belong to Microsoft or AOL. It's not theirs to sell. 

And you gotta know it's going to be even worse. In two years we're going to be arguing with Microsoft about whether we need our own computers to store our content. And whether we need to use their software or if it's OK to use our own. Victor's response may make it seem as if we're not aware of what the road ahead looks like from Microsoft's point of view. I listen carefully and read tea leaves and study history. Their road and my road may not be the same. They may have things in common, but they took a turn somewhere. Just wait until the full XP picture emerges. They'll be fighting in court for years. Their users are going to hate them like they hate the record companies. While that's going on the Web will still be an open platform and it's going to stay that way.  

News.Com: "Get ready because it's going to be a big fight and its going to last around 10 years," Barry said.  

Michael Fraase explains why Smart Tags may not be legal outside the US. 

Joel Spolsky: "I've been playing with MP3pro, a new file format that is exactly half the size of MP3s, with higher sound quality." 

Speaking of higher sound quality.. 

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, June 16, 2001. Saturday, June 16, 2001

The Internet is a buzzin. Scoble has the scoop. Microsoft relents under pressure? Smart Tags to become a feature of the Web intead of a flow-builder for Microsoft? The proof is in the "gallery". I'd still like to see the feature be an opt-in thing for websites. We might even try it on one or two of our sites to see how it works, but not with our main editorial pages, and certainly not with our store. Having to do a fire-drill to turn off a feature we never wanted is humbling. We're lucky because most of our sites are content-managed. Most site owners don't yet understand what this is about. If it's true this came as a surprise to Microsoft, it's time for a reality-check, talk with some web developers. There's a big disconnect. Giving the benefit of the doubt. I'll post more in a follow-up on the Decentralization list, tomorrow, because.. 

I'm still sick! Missed a party tonight. I'm bored out of my mind. Trying to stay out of trouble. Reading Player Piano. Drinking lotsa fluids. Wishing I was healthy.  

Hey I read Kevin Werbach's report on weblogs in the Release 1.0 newsletter. Nice. It would be great if this piece, of all, were on the Web so the bloggers could read it. 

Peterme writes about the "Winerization" of Evan Williams. If my grandfather, Baruch Winer, could just see that. (He died in the 80s.) Hey it would be great if Peterme would get a little Winerizing himself. (My kid brother's name is Peter, btw, I can't take people named Peter seriously. It's in my ROM.) Last night I was talking with Sheila about the visions our ancestors had for us. My grandfather sent me extra money when I was starting my first company and in a deep financial hole. My parents didn't know about it. (Now they do, happy Father's Day!) My mom was worried I'd turn into a bum. (Like my uncles and her uncle, an eclectic but respected German novelist, who my grandmother thought was a bum.) Both my grandfathers had a vision for the family, and I was the one starting a business, so they pitched in and helped. Both of them were business guys. So while I have a funny last name (yeah I know, it's been my last name all my life) saying that Evan is Winerizing is good news for Evan. Why not? One thing us Winers have in common is good ideas. If I do say so myself. And some kind of an idea about business. 

Cameron Laird: Using PySOAP

Don't miss the Official ICANN Movie

Mark Nottingham: "xpath2rss is Yet Another HTML->RSS scraper. This one's different in that instead of using regular expressions, as most do, it uses XPATH." 

On this day last year, a howto on settling the Microsoft case.  

"It would be unfair for the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court to overturn the decision. To ignore it would leave the software and Internet industry at the mercy of Microsoft. They are a large company, but they're just one company, and the Internet is about more than companies, it's about free expression for individuals and other forms of human organization, that transcend the well-known limits of corporations." 

Permanent link to archive for Friday, June 15, 2001. Friday, June 15, 2001

Welcome to the newest member of the UserLand team! 

Yes I'm still sick. This flu thing has migrated to my vocal chords and won't give up. Vitamin C, lots of rest, I feel happy, but tired. "Don't travel!" says UserLand COO, John Robb. Now he's sounding like a Jewish mother! 

Robert Herrick: "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." 

A bit of philosophy. What happens when someone dies. People are kind to memory of the person. What a waste. The person you're being kind to is dead. Be kind to people who are alive. Blow their minds. See what comes back.  

As I've said, without many details, there's been a lot of death around lately. On the Web too. In a sense, everyone who participates in the Web as a writing medium (not just reading) is going through a grieving process now, whether we're aware of it or not. The Web as we knew it is gone. The thing we shared, the vision, the hope, it's hard to find in all the confusion. But at some point the grief stops being everything, and you go on and find what's new and alive. One thing's for sure, if you're reading this, you're alive. So let's have fun! 

Heads-up on a possible motto-change. I'm thinking that "It's even worse than it appears" has had a long-enough run. The point has been made. Murphy rules. I am His humble servant. I have an idea for a new slogan. "There's no time like now." It's a beautiful concise statement. Let's focus on the uniqueness of this moment. And let's do it instead of talking about doing it. Or trying to do it. It's Buddhist and in the spirit of the American frontier. Let's dig the hole now, we may not be here tomorrow.  

Dan Gillmor has more questions about Smart Tags. He's going to talk with Microsoft about this. Thanks Dan.  

More in Dan's column: "Microsoft, tone-deaf to the damage it's doing, seems surprised at the furor it touched off when CNet and the Wall Street Journal reported this latest attempt to grab even more control over desktop computing and online capabilities. At least the tags will be turned off by default, according to Microsoft, which also says Web sites will be able to disable their use when people are browsing their specific pages. Again, we'll see." 

Dan, there's no question that this is wrong. You can't "disable their use" because the user can tell the software to ignore the meta tag. (Which I have put in Scripting News, view source to see how it works.) Even so, it's a huge cost to update all our sites to include the meta tag. Should we send the bill for this needless work to Microsoft? They have lots of money, I hear.  

From a source who requests anonymity: "In recent releases of Internet Explorer 6.0 betas there's a 'Toolbar button' that lets you toggle the SmartTags on and off. So, it looks like it'll be very easy for end users to turn these on now." 

Matthias Gutfeldt has a Smart Tag FAQ page

Jake Savin has a JavaScript that implements Microsoft-Free-Fridays. You can put this into your page template when you add the meta-tag to opt-out of Smart Tags.  

Finally, confirmation from Microsoft's PR firm that they've been lying about the webmasters' power to opt-out of Smart Tags. In the same batch of email I got yet another product manager contradicting the screen shots. I sent an email to Charles Fitzgerald saying I would withdraw my objection to Smart Tags if they made it an opt-in by the webmaster in the HTML code for each page, not an opt-out. Otherwise the PR meltdown is just starting. The feature was a bad idea. Hit the reset button and let's start a conversation about upgrading the web by empowering webmasters instead of sending them scurrying on an expensive fire drill to turn off the latest Microsoft insult. 

Cringely: "After the success of Netscape, every venture capitalist in the world wanted to fund an Internet company. They threw tons of money at anyone who could claim anything like a track record. Those people took the money and generally failed because they were fulfilling some venture capitalist's dream, not their own." 

Wired: Is Salon the last one standing? Too bad Salon didn't embrace amateur journalism, the thing the Web is so good at. Instead they applied the print formula to the Web. It didn't work. Hey it's not working for print either, as the bean counters squeeze the journalists out and replace them with entertainment. It's more profitable. Like democracy, if journalism is to have any hope, it must become participatory. And of course the participants must be responsible. Maybe there's not much hope. You decide. 

From the It's-So-Ironic Department. A menacing crowd on Metafilter said we had to provide a way for people to opt-out of the XML listings on Weblogs.Com. OK, so last Friday I did the work, wishing that the "feedback" had come while I was writing the app in 1999, or at least come in a friendly way now, almost two years later, since I don't remember all the assumptions in the code and had so many other things to do. Weblogs.Com is a free service, of course, done with love for the Weblog community. Oy, these people treat us like we're total slime. Whatever. So now they're complaining that the person who submitted Metafilter decided to opt out of the XML listings. I guess the moral of the story is that when you start designing other people's software you take responsibility for being a software designer.  

However, I have the ability to add "house accounts" to Weblogs.Com, so I just added Metafilter. It will appear in the XML files associated with a UserLand mail address. If you use one of the services that reads our XML files you'll have to reconfigure your favorites, but you'll be able to get Metafilter changes through the XML interface once again. I think most people have figured out that if they want to use these services that they can't opt out. Sorry it's so complicated. It was simpler before. Oh la. It's Friday. 

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, June 14, 2001. Thursday, June 14, 2001

Scott Cook: "People who shift paradigms have the same facts as everyone else, but they see them differently." 

Internet.Com: "Encyclopaedia Britannica announced it will resume printing of its world-renowned 32-volume encyclopedia in the fall of this year -- the first published revision since 1998." 

Stewart Alsop: "The Macintosh seems to work."  

Hey maybe Microsoft-Free-Fridays are going to catch on? I'm sure it's too late get Scripting News offline for MSIE for tomorrow (it's Apache on Linux), and maybe this gives Microsoft a chance to catch up with all that's been said so far. On the other hand, if you want to go for it, tomorrow is Friday, and there are other Web browsers.  

Reminder, Tuesdays are still take-a-programmer-to-lunch day.  

I downloaded Opera 5. Boy is it different. But it works! 

Another idea! All-Microsoft-Mondays. Every word on every site points to Microsoft.Com. Give our readers a preview of what the Web will be like in a couple of years. 

Stapler 1.1.2. "A feed is published if its file is missing, even if there are no new items; regex scraper now works." 

A new Perl implementation of XML-RPC from Randy Ray. 

Wired: "Microsoft has slowly convinced content holders that its digital rights management technology solutions would protect their content, and the promise of this is bringing music labels and movie studios into the fold." 

suites.staticRenderDiscuss: "This simple suite converts a Manila discussion group into a folder of static HTML files." 

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, June 13, 2001. Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Kendall Clark: Three Myths of XML. "Technology doesn't fall, as if a gift of the gods, from the sky." 

Tim Berners-Lee: "Those who create technology have a duty to educate the world about its capabilities and to be responsible about it." 

NY Times: "From coast to coast, in a different city almost every weekend, hundreds of people gather for eBay University, a roving crusade for the eBay philosophy." 

Esther Dyson: "Cyberspace is (just about) impossible to regulate, but China is not. I read the full story differently: As long as you live in China, the police can still follow your physical movements, finding out if you use a cybercafe, etc. etc. That is, they may not be able to catch everyone *from* the Web, but if they want to catch you, they can follow you physically and then threaten the owner of the cybercafe you use to turn over the evidence. (There's sure to be *some* evidence!) In short, it's an important tool for opening up Chinese society, but people cannot escape into cyberspace from offline threats/surveillance." 

O'Reilly: AppleScript in a Nutshell

Smart Tags Permanent link to this item in the archive.

DaveNet: Microsoft-Free Fridays?

Survey: Do you think Microsoft-Free Fridays is a good idea?

Comments: Josh Lucas, Geoff Allen.

BrowserWatch: Netscape releases 6.1 PR1.

Unicast, a weblog, is the first to support Microsoft-free Fridays. Nice!!

We could add an option to Manila sites to make them Microsoft-free on Fridays. That would be fun. (Should it default on or off?) And then in the next release we could improve the feature by allowing Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat and Sun to be free of Microsoft as well. Innovation!

A webmaster of a large site asks how will they add the opt-out code for Smart Tags in their pages, and who will pay for it. He's pretty sure his management won't. Will Microsoft? (BTW, what are the opt-out tags? I want to start planning for this asap.) According to Sjoerd Visscher, there actually is no way for a webmaster to opt-out of Smart Tags. If true, the Microsoft spinmasters are lying. I posted a message to the Decentralization list, where this is being discussed, asking Microsoft to instead add support for a meta tag that says "This website may not be viewed with Microsoft software." I want to opt out of their Web in toto.

Salon Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Guardian: "Salon received no money whatsoever from its various attempts to sell things to the readers who enjoy its award-winning articles and irreverent brand of news."

Scott Rosenberg: "Just FYI, that Guardian UK piece you're linking to about Salon is one of the sloppier jobs of reporting out there. In particular, that line you quote seems to be based on nothing at all -- it's not attributed or sourced in any way. If the reporter had bothered to ask us about this the piece would never have said something as absurd or definitive as 'no money whatsoever.' We have had modest success with a bunch of different efforts to sell stuff, and now we have our premium subscription effort, which, whether you think it's a good idea or not, is performing well ahead of our projections." Rosenberg is an editorial executive at Salon.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, June 12, 2001. Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Dan Gillmor: Are smart tags a surveillance system tool? 

Reuters: "Internet cafes offer people in China a way to get online and speak up without identifying themselves, making cyberspace almost impossible to regulate, despite a slew of high-profile arrests in China since March." 

Newsbytes: "We believe in total empowerment of the user to decide what content they want to look at," [Shawn Sanford, the group product manager for Microsoft's Windows Client] said. "Everybody tends to focus on the negative side of this like we're going to expose (users) to a lot of bad content ... I think we're going to expose people to a lot of good content."  

This is why software monopolies suck. Microsoft has the power to alter our content. This is unacceptable. I've had so many MS people want to debate this with me. They play the usual tricks, try to walk me around the trap door, but it's totally impossible to miss. Sanford, quoted above, states the problem quite clearly. Microsoft thinks they can improve my writing. This makes me want to get a gun and go to war. 

Survey: Are you tired of Microsoft? 

A year ago today I was arguing with Microsoft over something quite similar. "I don't care if it's right or wrong that Microsoft is broken up. They lost my support when I read the emails. Jim Allchin's comments particularly. He should have been fired on the spot for suggesting that Microsoft use its dominance of operating systems to win the war with Netscape. Of course he wasn't fired, because this is the business model at Microsoft. And it's illegal. And totally wrong. And unfair, and everything else that evokes my anger." Allchin is still at Microsoft. 

Doc: "I think I'll go home and pour some coffee in my eyes." 

A couple of notes to the anti-abortion people who send me emails. It's a complicated issue because another person is involved, a woman. We know that the mother is a person. It's a matter of philosophy whether a fetus is. For some people there is a clear answer to this conundrum, for others, like me and many others, there is not. When in doubt, my philosophy says, give the power to decide to the individual. I'm not happy with this, in some kind of perfect world we'd never have to answer this question. Further, I believe that human population growth is the core problem to the survivability of the planet. And where the heck do you draw the line. Is sperm a life that must be protected too? The other notable thing about this discussion is the inability of the anti-abortion people to discuss with respect. Their emails are often personally insulting. 

Salon's travel tips for Dubya on his first trip to Europe. "When you step back onto Air Force One and head home, you'll discover what every first-time visitor to Europe learns: It's great to come back in the best country in the world." 

Do you love Kottke? You have lots of company.  

Permanent link to archive for Monday, June 11, 2001. Monday, June 11, 2001

DaveNet: Guglielmo on Smart Tags

Happy Monday to all who are still alive. If you happen to be dead this morning, let us know what the afterlife is like. Send an email, if possible. So far no emails. 

Frontier 7.0.1 has been released. 

David Coursey offers half an argument in favor of Smart Tags. There's no problem with Smart Tags in Office. The user is editing their own document there. When they appear in the Web browser, they are not cool because they modify my document with links to Microsoft sites. As I've said previously I'd support the feature if they let me hack up Microsoft sites with links to UserLand sites. 

Survey: "I'd like to be able to add links to my sites anywhere I want to on Microsoft.Com. Do you support this?" 

Victor Stone: "Eric Raymond had me, after twenty minutes at his web site, turning into a gun totin', Fountainhead packin', wife–cheatin' Libertarian!!"  

We're taking a look at NewsML. Here's an example of a source file, and here's an HTML rendering of that content. 

Caterina: "[Phillip K Dick's unfinished novel] was called The Owl in Daylight and talked about a world in which there was no sound, and creatures communicated by color and light and how our world is their heaven with all the sounds and music and audible methods of communication, whereas theirs, filled as it is with light, is ours." Nice premise. 

O'Reilly interviews the authors of their XML-RPC book. "SOAP is an electric toothbrush. Some people have the kind of poor dental hygiene that requires the mechanical advantage these brushes provide. Many of us can make due with ordinary toothbrushes. It's good to have options." 

Now, not one to shirk from history, I had a chance to spend some time with the UserLand DG archives now that they're back online. I read lots of messages, and noted that there was a time when various people who now "oppose" me were friendly. The dividing line seemed to be around two things. The brouhaha over the future of RSS, and my issues with exclusivity in the politics of the open source community. Now I don't want to re-open old wounds, I'd rather see them heal. I think open source politics have lightened up a lot. In fact I have been invited to the O'Reilly Open Source Summit in July. How's that for putting the past behind us? And RSS seems to be swinging around and gaining traction again. I forgive everyone who flamed in the DG, and I even forgive people who don't like me because they didn't like what I've said. Can you forgive me? I offer this -- I am actually a nice person, if you met me face to face, you'd probably like me. My friends do. Not everyone does, unfortunately, although I would like everyone to. Peace on earth to all. 

An interesting new document. My left-edge navlinks as an OPML file. 

Motley Fool: "Yahoo!'s market value has shrunk from $120 billion to $10 billion, leaving it in a greatly weakened bargaining position just at the time when it needs to build its business beyond advertising revenue. The big question is: Outside of ads, what type of large, focused, money-making business does Yahoo! hope to become?" 

Scott Rosenberg: "The Slashdot/Plastic model makes eminent sense as a use of the Web, though not necessarily as a business... But in the present climate of epidemic site-shutterings, it does lead skeptics to ask: What will they do when there's no one left to link to?" Weblogs. 

Papa Doc: "I woke up at 5:04am and went to the TV to participate in the public execution of Timothy McVeigh." 

Thanks to Doc for digging up the pointer to this mail page, with comments on the Karla Fay Tucker execution. 

A common form of pushback goes like this. "If you're opposed to capital punishment you must be anti-abortion." I assume the correspondents know that it's likely that I don't oppose abortion, and this is a way of pointing out a contradiction in my values. So be it. Message received. Now, an interesting twist. It also reveals an apparent contradiction in their values, assuming they are anti-abortion and pro-death penalty (they never say so I'm left guessing). That's why statements about yourself are more interesting than statements about other people. The extra level of indirectness masks lessons one can learn about oneself. A more responsible pushback might be: "I know what it's like to have contradictory beliefs. These issues are not simple, I know from my own experience of being in favor of capital punishment and against abortion." 

Dan Gillmor: "We all are killers today." 

Fortune: The Billion Dollar Losers Club

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, June 10, 2001. Sunday, June 10, 2001

State governments in the US execute people almost every week, but every so often a high profile execution comes up and we re-focus on the issue, as a country. I remain opposed to capital punishment in all cases in all circumstances. I explained my reasons in several pieces around the Karla Fay Tucker execution in 1998. My uncle Sam was murdered, and I opposed the death sentence for his killers. Killing people in the name of justice is wrong. We do kill innocent people. A black man is more likely to be executed than a white man. Almost all the people executed are men. As a citizen of the country that is killing McVeigh, I am responsible for his death. That's cruel and unusual punishment, for me, and attacks my core belief of what it means to be human. Killing another person, for whatever reason, is not the domain of a civilized society. Our lifespan is determined by the higher power, god or whatever you call it. It is not our place to kill others, esp not in the name of justice. 

Forgive Her: "Those of you who wanted death, you now have it. What do you say? Teach us. Does her death give you a sense of peace? Is your spirit at rest now? Do you wake up with a smile on your face knowing that a violent criminal got the punishment you felt she deserved? Do you forgive her now that she's paid the price?" 

Or does more killing beget unease? My theory, whether you're for or against capital punishment, we all feel the pain of an execution. First pain, then shame. That's why we never talk about them after they're done. 

Today might be a good day to survey the editorial pages of various newspapers. 

Encyclopedia Britannica: The Sacco-Vanzetti Case

NY Times: "The notion that independent publications could challenge established media concern because it costs very little to publish online has fallen on hard times along with the rest of the Web's early illusions." No way. They're ignoring weblogs and amateur journalism. 

Dan Gillmor: Stand Up to Service Providers. Unfortunately for users the time to "stand up to service providers" was when there was lots of money for the service providers to invest in technology that distributes the data. UserLand was one of very few (possibly the only one) to do this. No one asked us to. Most companies think that locking users in is a good thing. 

I've been emailing with Dan, and he wants to know what you think. How can we improve the situation and make it work for everyone, users, service providers, tool makers, investors. 

Check it out. Adam Curry is doing what Dan is talking about. He moved his Manila site from our server to his. "Please bear in mind, I'm a DJ by trade, not a server admin or scripter," he says. (I would disagree, Adam is quickly becoming both.) 

A little taste of Smurf Turf (codename for the server in the next release of Radio). Like Manila it has an Editors Only menu. But since this is 2001 and not 1999, we had to do it better. This time it's edited in an outline, of course, and can have nested sub-menus. This will make the software richer and easier to use and customize.  

BTW, thanks to Lawrence Lee for the pointer to this article about the grass at Boise State's football stadium, which is called (you guessed it) Smurf Turf! Hah. 

Hey Lockergnome has an RSS feed, and a nice white-on-orange XML button on the home page

What is Dot-Net? I think I can say it more clearly now than before. It's a scripting environment that supports SOAP. How does it compare to others? What are the editors like? A list of features of the runtime? How does it connect to databases? Can applications access each others' storage? 

Simon Fell says I'm full of it. "Dotnet is strongly typed and compiled, not like any scripting environment I've worked with." 

It also occurred to me that the open source world doesn't have a clone of HyperCard in the works, does it? Thinking about the blogging tool for Palm OS, below, isn't it weird that there's no lightweight non-HTML scripting environment to deploy against Microsoft's? How small can Dot-Net get? How much RAM did HyperCard require? It must have been less than a meg. 

Adam Barr wrote "Proudly Serving My Corporate Masters: What I Leaned in Ten Years As a Microsoft Programmer," which according to Barnes and Noble is "a reflection on a decade spent working at the country's largest software company." 

Chapter one of Barr's book is on the Web. 

Feedreader is a "freeware Windows application that reads and displays Internet newsfeeds aka RSS feeds based on XML." 

webLog for Palm OS "allows you to use your Palm OS device to create webLog (blog) entries for a web site. The inherent portability of Palm devices means that you can jot down entries for your weblog practically anywhere. The included conduit allows you to upload the created entries to your web server when you return to your PC." 

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, June 09, 2001. Saturday, June 09, 2001

Michael Fraase: "Recently Dave Winer wrote that America needs a corporate death penalty. Like Dave, I oppose capital punishment for humans, but agree that we need to be able to put corporations out of our misery." 

NY Times: Intel Makes an Ultra-Tiny Chip. "At a technical conference being held this weekend in Kyoto, Japan, a scientist for the Intel Corporation reported that the company had successfully made a handful of silicon transistors no more than 70 to 80 atoms wide and 3 atoms thick. They are capable of switching on and off 1.5 trillion times a second, making them the world's fastest silicon transistor." 

AP: Executions Around the World. "In one famous case at the beginning of last year, 17-year-old Morteza Amini Moqaddam, hands cuffed, tears streaking his face, was already in the noose and seconds from death when the victim's father told authorities to call it off. He had been moved by pleas from the boy's family and many of the 4,000 onlookers." 

Matt Goyer's guide to Napster. He explains how to use a Napster server that's not run by Napster. In fact he's running one himself, in Canada. 

From Tomalak, a pointer to a Register article from March that may explain why Apple is cracking down on developers of Mac OS themery. 

Feature request. If you have a response to something here that's cool. But if you have a weblog, post the response there and send me a pointer. That way I have something to point to, and you can point back. The Web works better than email, whenever possible.  

I posted a wacky idea that's been lurking in the back of my head. What if we could add viralness to content syndication.  

Another little idea. I'd love to have a Walkman-size 802.11b web server with lots of RAM, takes two AA batteries, runs for six months. I have no idea why I want it other than to blow my mind.  

A trip down memory lane. Here's message #10000 on the original DG. David Carter-Tod was the lucky poster. He made a speech. 

Brent: "My grandmom is proof that some things run in families. She was a librarian for a local public school before retiring. She was a pioneer in the early '80s in bringing computers into the school and teaching kids to use them. She knew way back then that it was important, even when most everybody else around her thought they were just expensive toys." 

Thanks to Dan Gillmor for the link to this Ed Foster article about Apple's pursuit of developers who develop themes for the Mac user interface. Interesting that at the same time both Apple and Microsoft are trying to put genies back in bottles. Same with the RIAA. (BTW, I just heard on NPR, to show how clueless I am, that there are Napster clones operating in Canada and Israel. I need pointers.) 

I'm planning to speak at JabberCon in Colorado in August. It should be a lot of fun. I'm looking for ways we can connect weblogs to Jabber. 

Microsoft: Developing Smart Tag Solutions

After reading this article and thinking about the whole Smart Tag situation, a comment in the Motley Fool article struck me as making the point best.  

"Technological advances cannot and should not be stopped, slowed, or even discouraged, but an invention such as Smart Tags should not be in the hands of a for-profit enterprise."
If this feature had not come from Microsoft, I think we would all be cheering. "Wow that's powerful," we'd say. The problem is we know Microsoft in many ways better than the people who work there, who may be good people, but they seem to put the blinders on when it comes to thinking about the people who run Microsoft. They don't create things, they own things. There used to be some neat stuff happening in Web browser software. Now everything that comes is moving into our sacred spaces, not Microsoft's. 

I told a reporter yesterday that I would support Smart Tags if they allowed me to hack my links into Microsoft.Com, instead of the other way around. If you think this feature would gain support from independent Web developers, think again. (What a humiliating idea, for the Web, to even be talking about our independence from Microsoft.) 

Maybe I have an advantage. I've been co-habitating the same industry with MS for over 20 years. And I also read David Bank's unpublished book on how the browser got sucked into the OS, from the Microsoft internal point of view. It seems there were a lot of Softies who stood up for the independence of the Web but Bill decided to go the other way and fully integrate the Web into Microsoft's product line. Bank's book is a total eye-opener. (It won't be out until August, but I'm hoping he publishes some excerpts before then.) 

Another cool thing about Smart Tags is that people who take writing seriously, whether professional or amateur, understand the issue immediately. Read the Motley Fool article for that perspective. Writers are clear as a bell on this issue, where they were kind of off-balance when Mirosoft played the same nasty game with the Java developers who wanted WORA. (And the nasty shit came from the top, not the minions, who clearly liked Java, probably for many of the same reasons so many other developers did -- freedom from Windows. After working on a creaky codebase for a generation, there's nothing like a fresh start, but the top guys at MS didn't see the money, so the art died. Yuck.) 

BTW, the link to the MSDN article came to me in an interesting way. I saw the link on Sjoerd's weblog, but it came from the synthetic MSDN channel, maintained by Mark Paschal's Stapler tool.  

Weblogs.Com: Opting-out of the XML listings

NY Times: "Even before the ink on his Napster deal was dry, Middelhoff was predicting that Bertelsmann would find a way to apply the file-sharing model to every form of media imaginable, from family photos to video games, digital films and television, even electronic books. Consumers would share anything that could be browsed or disseminated, probably paying a monthly subscription fee to participate." 

Red Herring: "What's next: an Amazon.com 8-track store? How about an Amazon.com store to sell abacuses?" 

XML.Com: "Several similar documents on XML Schema are already available. I discovered, however, that they're written by brilliant people who always drive things to the limit. They simply can't stop inventing cool tricks that even working group members can't imagine, and XML Schema is their new favorite toy."  

Permanent link to archive for Friday, June 08, 2001. Friday, June 08, 2001

John Robb: 10 easy steps to get started with Radio

Perhaps a little-known fact. If you know where to look you can see the channels that members of the Radio community are subscribed to. This information is used to produce the hotlist. These files can be excellent sources of ideas for channels you might want to subscribe to, not just in Radio, but in any personal RSS aggregation tool.  

According to the plan, today is the last day for Tomalak's Realm. So I say goodbye to this great site, I'll remember it always, esp what I've learned from it, and wish Lawrence the very best, and look forward to what he comes up with next. (Update. The plan changed. Good news.) 

News.Com: "The Java disputes are reminiscent of the wars of words between Unix vendors--and some of the same people are involved. Each Java vendor is primarily interested in selling its products at the expense of its rivals, which include the other Java vendors as well as Microsoft." 

Sheila: "Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous." 

Michael Fein: Yiddishkeit

I didn't know that Thomas Edison electrocuted animals to prove how dangerous alternating current is. 

WebReview reviews Atomz Publish. 

Automatic Media laid off its staff. Joey Anuff explains

More Smart Tags Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Yesterday's DaveNet piece got a lot of response. It's great to know people are still out there, with opinions and hope for the medium. One of the things I learned is that there is the equivalent of the corporate death penalty, a company's charter can be revoked. Apparently this was more commonplace in the 1800s. A group of citizens in NY is trying to get Phillip-Morris's charter revoked.

Now, seeing comments in other places about "Smart Tags" there's a point a lot of people are missing. Microsoft is now not only a monopoly in operating systems, they are also a monopoly in Web browsers. Draw another line. Will we allow Microsoft to use that power to edit our content? Is a monopoly required to play by different rules than a company with competitors? We don't have any real choice, the vast majority of people who read our content read it through Microsoft's browser. As a result we have had to deal with their neglect of the browser. Now it gets worse. Where is the line?

I told Mohsen yesterday that I won't write for a Web where Microsoft inserts links into my writing. It would have no integrity. Mohsen works at Microsoft and is one of the few people who remain there that I trust. He supports Smart Tags, but I don't get it. To me it's way over the line. I told a WSJ reporter yesterday that Smart Tags are fine in Office, where the user is editing his or her own document. But what you're reading right now is my document. I did not and will not give Microsoft the right to modify it.

Register: "A reference, say, to a certain popular, white crystalline nose-rotting powder might inspire a Smart-Tag link to an advertisement for a certain carbonated water, sugar and caramel-color tooth-rotting drink known by the same name.

Eric Norlin: "Don't think you can 'just use Netscape' either. They're owned by AOL/Time Warner, and they just announced that Netscape intends to become a major media outlet on the web. That's right, Netscape browsers are being loaded with features that keep you in the AOL/Time Warner universe."

JY Stervinou finds a reference in the W3C Xlink spec that somehow relates to Smart Tags.

Standard: "Fortune missed a golden opportunity to question Microsoft's chances for convincing customers to begin paying for their software in perpetuity – a radical idea on which the company is betting heavily. Fortune explains this away by arguing that Microsoft is in creative mode."

Motley Fool: Big Brother Microsoft. "There wasn't much of an uproar when NBCi started touting its latest feature. That's because NBCi doesn't have access to practically every computer user. Microsoft does."

I'm quoted in today's WSJ. Several people forwarded me a link to the article and I was able to read it, but I'm not sure how many times it can be viewed.

Deborah Branscum: "An innocent bystander might understandably believe that Microsoft is stuffed to the brim with anal-retentive control freaks who will not rest until every web page on every web site, every transaction through every e-commerce engine, every e-mail and every instant message lead inexorably back to Big Brother Bill."

All I gotta say to LinuxToday is Right On. Let there be silence when Redmond takes cheap distracting shots. We all know Microsoft is against open source. That's not news. And there's not much to learn by discussing it with them.

BTW, it just occurred to me that the Smart Tags thing might be another distraction. Why didn't they brief Web developers before they let it leak out through Mossberg? Look at how they managed the rollout of Train Simulator. They flew Scoble up to Redmond, wined and dined him, got feedback and sent him home with lots of schmata. (Yiddish for swag.) Now one has to wonder why Microsoft doesn't do the same for the Web developer opinion leaders. I think we're being taken one step at a time into the locked trunk. We'll scream at every step, and they'll ignore it. Something to think about.

Is the Web forking in 3 incompatible branches? Microsoft's, AOL's and ???.

Worse than it appears? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jan Tångring, a reporter at Datateknik 3.0 asks: "Could it be even worse? Technically yes, I think so. The way Smart Tags were explained to me, hypertext linking is just one of the possibilites.

"The action when activating a Smart Tag is fully programmable within Windows. Means anything: do a database lookup, order something, start a program, send a letter. Even rewriting the text of the document, expanding a name to a full address perhaps, or doing a spellcheck.

"That would make then the following scenario technically possible: Userland writes about Microsoft, the Smart Tag checks the text in the document, discovers your name, and Microsoft, and constructs a link to Steve Ballmer defending Microsoft against your views.

"Or technically they could replace your text with an ad. :-)"

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, June 07, 2001. Thursday, June 07, 2001

DaveNet: Mossberg on 'Smart Tags'

Scoble: "Our conference team is very concerned that when visitors come to our conference sites that the words 'developer conference' will take you to Microsoft's conferences, rather than ours." 

Screen shot of Smart Tags, from Scoble. 

John Robb: Personal Broadcast Networks. "This is a concept I introduced back in 1996 while I was the Senior Internet analyst at Forrester." 

Today we released as open source a useful Mac OS X mini-app that calls Frontier from the command line.  

If you've been missing DangerousMeta, check this out

What is this. I have to admit programs with such graphic iconery really catch my eye.  

Bill Seitz can see his house from the Empire State Building webcam, which must get the award for best webcam. 

RSS innovations, discovered Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Now that Frontier 7 is shipping, I'm starting to swing back to Radio, getting ready to do some heavy lifting this summer. I wanted to see what the community has been doing while our attention has been focused on Manila and centralized stuff, so I wrote a script that tracks updates to RSS channels maintained by Radio users.

New readout: Most recent RSS changes.

Highlights. Mark Paschal has been kicking butt with the Stapler tool. I esp like his Metafilter channel. I'm subscribed.

Want an example of RSS used for media distribution? Check out Adam Curry's Movie Trailers Video channel.

And here's a cool channel for RSS news (by yours truly).

BTW, all these channels have elements and support the SOAP-meets-RSS spec, published earlier this year.

We're discussing this new stuff on the Syndication list this morning.

The RSS loop Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On this day last year I said: "RSS 0.91 was a major traffic accident that turned out pretty well."

My mind works in a funny way. I remember the bad stuff and forget the good stuff. Let's not miss that there has been a lot of progress in RSS in the last year. It's just that we haven't gotten much credit for it, and the market, along with the rest of the dotcom world, is stagnating, so much so that we've invented new terms like decentralization, P2P, The Two-Way-Web, Internet 3.0, in a struggle to explain that what we do is still relevant even though there isn't a quick buck to be made. (What else is new?)

As always, thanks for listening.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, June 06, 2001. Wednesday, June 06, 2001

Good morning dancing fools! 

Some Metalfilters have discovered the problems of search engine crawlers and overloaded dynamic servers (like ours). 

NY Times: "When Myspace.com, an online storage locker, bolted its virtual doors, it also deleted an untold number of files stashed there free by its registered users, which the company says numbered 7.5 million as of last week." 

News.Com: Dot-coms near vanishing point. "Investment company Frank Russell on Friday will release preliminary changes to its widely followed stock indexes for this year, and many dot-coms and related companies will be banished from the rankings." 

Register: Java toaster prints weather forecast. "It's seamless and doesn't take any longer than a regular, or dare we say 'legacy' toaster." 

Transform Magazine: 'Free' Content Management. "Erik Josowitz, vice president of corporate strategy for Vignette, Austin, TX, grants that free or low-cost software might be fine for departmental use and simple sites. However, he warns, 'they have no support model, no upgrade model and no long-term roadmap. When a CIO looks for a content management system, they look for long-term technical support and scalability across an enterprise.'"  

This afternoon I finished Sirens of Titan. I had been savoring the last few chapters, reading them very slowly while I was coming back up to speed on programming. I knew the ending because I had read the book when I was a teen. But back then I didn't have as fine an appreciation for the craft of writing. Vonnegut surprises us gently, even tenderly, it's so beautifully crafted. The next book on my tour is Player Piano. 

Bear Stearns on Internet 3.0. Chris missed the key idea, writing tools that network. You can try to visualize a skyscraper by starting in the basement, or on the 86th floor observation deck. At the top level it's about giving people tools that network easily. That's the holy grail. 

2/19/01: Internet 3.0. "In Version 2.0 your performance monitor got flatter and flatter as CPU performance traveled up Moore's curve, but the architecture failed to take advantage of it. In Version 3.0 your CPU will do more work and your local hard disk will contain (at least) backup copies of the information stored on centralized servers. There will be more opportunities to write scripts that customize your desktop, and include your own creations in the user interface. You won't have to be an eyeball (sometimes it's relaxing), your brain will be more active in Internet 3.0." 

John Robb: "Most WS analysts spend the vast majority of their time in sales and *not* doing analysis. Additionally, a WS analyst is paid a bonus based his/her success in the sales effort. Needless to say, the bonus is where the juice is." 

Hey check this out. They have a webcam at the top of the Empire State Building. Wow. I found the Flatiron Building, at 23rd where Broadway crosses Fifth. 

Kevin Werbach: "Check it out -- the slightly offset window on the top floor of the building in the middle of this image (the one with the single column of windows up the left side) is... my office!" 

Now here's something unexpected out of the blue. SOAP-WRC now has an OPML feed. Wow. That's could be useful. 

Inge Johannessen is biking from Holland to France and documenting it on a Manila site. 

Neat picture: "Will design, develop and implement scalable Java components for food." 

Jamie Zawinski: "Not only did Netscape lose their struggle with Microsoft, but now they've become what they fought against." 

SF Chronicle: "The journalists at the print paper see the value in using the Web site to put their stories out first, so they can get credit for big scoops when they get them." 

OOiPtech developed "the patent pending technology that enables data syndication and aggregation in a very easy way. OOiPtech makes the sharing of data an option for all!" 

Thoughts for musicians to consider. Does linking in music mean anything? The rush last year with Napster raised that question, but things were moving too fast back then to figure how to phrase it. Imho, music belongs on the Web, so, like writing, it can integrate with other music. Just like writers and software developers, musicians share themes with each other. I heard an interview with Elvis Costello where he talked about musicians that influence him. He's the right guy to talk about it since he's such a great synthesizer of different practices. Now what if technology could support that, where each song would link back to those that it refers to? Before writing got networked, it was pretty awkward to do this. But look at the number of off-site links on this page for a clue of how networking has changed writing. It can and will do the same for music. 

BTW, "Elvis Costello" is a stage name.  

On this day last year Matt Neuburg published the full text of the Frontier book he wrote for O'Reilly. If you're just learning Frontier now, please bookmark this. There's so much good stuff here, and the book is out of print. 

Congratulations to ZopeNewbies on becoming a Zope site.  

Thanks to Sally Khudari for another great folk dancing tune to kvetch to! Need a dancing tutorial? "What better way to have fun than to laugh at the funky body you have?" 

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, June 05, 2001. Tuesday, June 05, 2001

DaveNet: How to Save the Soul of the Internet. A tutorial! 

Here's a song to hum while worrying about the things we worry about so much. Tap your toe, grab a partner, dosey doh! 

News.Com: Death of the free Web. "The idealistic dream of a digital Camelot where everything is free is giving way to cold fiscal reality. Companies and Web sites are beginning to charge for content and services to survive the New Economy's 2000 crash." 

Register: Java is not a Hairball. "Of course it will take more than 9 MB of disk space once the installer decompresses it, but disk space is not really a concern these days," writes Welsey Felter. I didn't know that! 

I just discovered a RSS 0.92 rendering for Metafilter. It's being managed by Mark Paschal, using the Stapler tool for Radio. And because the channel flows through the Radio cloud, it supports notification via SOAP 1.1 and XML-RPC. 

From Sjoerd via Adam, Microsoft still supports CDF in MSIE (note the date on that article, it's very old). CDF still gets a prominent position in Microsoft's user interface. Back in 1997 I did a CDF file for my site. It still works, even though it's totally not valid XML. 

Watch our new COO, John Robb, start to put together our business plan.  

Seattle Times: "The young law clerks and reporters line up at the courthouse each Tuesday and Friday, some hoping the Court of Appeals will hand down the Microsoft antitrust decision and get it over with, others praying the judges will leave them free to use their Oriole tickets." 

BusinessWeek: "The conventional wisdom is that the court will find the company is guilty of at least one of the three grounds for liability found by Jackson and then remand the case to a lower court for remedy hearings." 

Wired: "There are more than two and a half million Java developers working in the world today, Zander said, and he predicted that the number would rise to four million by 2003." 

In Lawrence's about-to-signoff message, he says that Tomalak has had 9400 links, of which 800 were to the NY Times. I haven't been counting my links, but it's probably a similar ratio here. Some days they have two or three articles that are on-topic for Scripting News. As a new news day begins, that's where I head first, to see what's new. 

BTW, Thad McIlroy from Seybold sent me a book on the history of news. I've only skimmed the first few chapters to find that news is as old as mankind. Before there were printed newspapers we had word of mouth networks, and even then, apparently, people thought the media had too much power and people were too obsessed with news. As a species we have a homing instinct. Home is where the news is. 

Pictures of Greenland taken last year flying home from the UK. It hasn't changed much in the last year. 

Permanent link to archive for Monday, June 04, 2001. Monday, June 04, 2001

Frontier 7.0 shipped. Here's the list of new features and the complete change notes.  

Fortune: "All this makes Bill happy. And when Bill's happy, Steve is happy. And when Bill and Steve are happy, the whole company seems to hum." 

According to Computergram International, NetObjects has a patent on wizzy HTML editors. Their first targets are likely to be Microsoft and Macromedia. "Anything that does WYSIWYG page layouts that auto-generate HTML is violating the patent," NetObjects CEO Samir Arora said. "We're going after anybody we believe is in violation." 

Rahul Dave suggests that Tim Berners-Lee may have beaten Samir to the punch with a wizzy HTML editor.  

Tomalak: "For the past month or two, I've been thinking about the future of the site and I've recently decided to retire the site and to make the last entry this Friday." 

Joe Cappo: "The problem with newspapers today is not that they have left readers behind, but that readers have left newspapers behind." 

Scoble: "Their changes should be a warning sign for anyone who is excited by Microsoft's HailStorm strategy. When Microsoft wants to upgrade you, it will, and you'll have no choice (and probably no warning) in the matter." 

Why worry about RSS 1.0? The battle for the soul of RSS 3.0 has already started!  

ZDNet: "Lots of companies went too far down the road in giving things away for free and found that they couldn't charge later," said Kevin Werbach, an industry analyst with EDventure Holdings and a former Federal Communications Commission attorney. "Anyone who thought the Web would somehow change the laws of economics was deluding themselves."  

Evan Williams: "The idea behind Reboot, the conference in Copenhagen that was the impetus for the trip, is to, once a year, take a day off, get some perspective, get some inspiration and new ideas, have a big-ass party, and, as a result, "reboot" your mind. It's a great idea, beautifully executed by Thomas and the rest of the Reboot team. For me, this trip was one big reboot for my brain -- and I'm still coming back online. Rebooting may not be quite the right metaphor. I'm actually in the mood for some major recoding. Rearchitecting, even." Right on Evan. 

A bit of friendly advice from Uncle Dave. Don't argue with Microsoft about the GPL. Don't bother getting outraged. It's a smoke screen for sure. Look at other stuff they're doing, study it, learn how to zig to their zag. And for crying out loud, work with commercial developers who are not at Microsoft. 

The New Yorker is on the Web. The type is too damned small, but the cartoons are easy to read. 

NY Times: "Microsoft and America Online are negotiating a range of licensing and legal issues so contentious that the two sides disagreed over the weekend whether they were even still talking." 

JavaOne starts today in San Francisco. Larry Ellison keynotes there on Thurs, that should be pretty interesting. 

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, June 03, 2001. Sunday, June 03, 2001

David McCusker: "If you don't tell folks what to talk about by stirring them up with nuisance provocation, then they might start talking about something which impedes your plans." 

This afternoon I was glad to get some pushback from Microsoft re Hailstorm. It's been pretty quiet. 

I'm still sick as a dog, sleeping and reading, but I forced myself to go out and buy some more books. I'm going through the whole history of Kurt Vonnegut. I just finished Jailbird. Next I'm going to re-read Sirens of Titan, which is one of my favorite books ever. Also bought a Douglas Coupland book, and before Jailbird I read Anne Tyler's latest. In the meantime my team is shipping Frontier 7. I'm kicking back and letting them do it all. This is unusual, but they're good, and I'm sure it'll be fine. 

Looks like Doc sold his house in Emerald Hills. Bravo! 

I'm still in awe of Sjoerd. "Frontier fits me like a glove. I think the nicest thing is that there's a built-in database, with a scripting language that let's you access it like in-memory data. No tiresome query building to retrieve or store data." It's been a long time since someone like Sjoerd has come along, so ready for what we do. He's right, if there's a single thing that makes building apps in Frontier special, it's the ease with which you can program databases. That innovation is already a dozen years old, and has yet to show up in any other programming environment, as far as I know. 

On this day last year I learned that one of my teachers had died. Death is around a lot these days. I have a feeling that once you reach my age, 46, from here-on-out, death is going to be around, until I myself die. On Friday the younger brother of one of my best friends died suddenly. How do you process this? What's the take-away? I know the answer, it's not hard to find -- make the most of the time you have. Every day you're alive is a day to celebrate. I'm still here! And get on with it. I object when people say Just Wait. No, I'm not a member of that church. There's no time like now. 

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, June 02, 2001. Saturday, June 02, 2001

USA Today: Microsoft aims to conquer the Net. "This is very anti-Internet," says Silicon Valley software designer Dave Winer. "The Internet is about distributing power and control and giving people lots of choices. This is about locking people in and making it so they have to use Microsoft services." 

Popular Mechanics ran a reprint of an article published in 1950, entitled "Miracles You'll See In The Next 50 Years." I liked this one the best. "Because everything in her home is waterproof, the housewife of 2000 can do her daily cleaning with a hose." A little sexist, and off the mark I think. This feature would probably appeal more to men than women. 

Glenn Fleishman: "I'm sad right now because a potential article for a major publication was derailed because the editor went to my Web site and read that I have consulted for technology companies." 

Scott McNealy op-ed the Washington Post: "If you're in an accident, do you want an ambulance driver to be able to access your medical records online? I think you do. Do you want everybody to? No." 

McNealy makes some good points. But I was struck by the respect he shows for the readers of the Post. I wish he would show the same respect for software developers. When he speaks at industry conferences he waves broad insults at Microsoft, and in doing so insults our intelligence. Perhaps it's time for intelligent discourse inside the industry, not just when speaking outside. 

BBC: Microsoft-AOL talks collapse. "The negotiations were called off after the two sides could not agree to terms, said Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan."  

"We're disappointed the talks broke down," Cullinan said. The Web is not disappointed. This means, presumably, that AOL will have to lift the Netscape browser to commercial quality, and once again we'll have two big installed-base browsers.  

Nisus iLiner is the "Intelligent Outline Processor." Mac. 

Permanent link to archive for Friday, June 01, 2001. Friday, June 01, 2001

DaveNet: The power to publish as an individual

Steve Ballmer: "The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds open-source work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody. Open source is not available to commercial companies. The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source. If the government wants to put something in the public domain, it should." 

The Standard: "Consortia like XML-RPC, which lets multiple operating systems communicate clearly, hint at promising ways that closed and open systems can interact." 

Mazel tov. David Brown got a job. 

Windows 2000 question. I want all folders to open in Details view mode. I tried using the Folder Options control panel, but the Like Current Folder button is always grayed. How do I get it enabled? And am I approaching this the right way? [Lawrence Lee has the answer: "Try opening Folder Options from the menu bar while viewing the folder instead of from the Folder Options applet in the control panel." Thanks!] 

Where did the phrase sick as a dog come from? That's me, today. It started as a sore throat last night, and moved into my respiratory system, and turned into a cough, and made me sleep for hours this afternoon. I've got a cold, it's not the end of the world, at all, but it makes me feel sick. (Because I am!) 

The Ninth Street Center has some really interesting essays. 

Sjoerd found an excellent XML-RPC debugger

Woodie's Office Watch: "Office XP doesn't have any to-die-for features that I can discern, and it certainly isn't any more stable than Office 2000." 

Today's song: Addicted to Love

NY Times: "Computer printouts of sexually explicit pictures littered the library, Adamson said. She said she saw some men at computer terminals engage in what appeared to her to be masturbation and that computer users would verbally abuse her when she tried to enforce time limits." 

Salon: The music revolution will not be digitized

Clay Shirky, always able to turn a phrase, calls Hailstorm "Open Web services, controlled by Microsoft." 

Are "web services" the way of the future? Well, based on past experience with proclamations from BigCo's about such things, you'd have to say no. Why do they make such simple things so damned complicated. The other day I looked at a conference whose keynote premise was that WSDL and UDDI were just the beginning of the complicated alphabet soup that makes up web services. My eyes glaze over. 

John Rymer: Tangled Web Services

Understanding XML.Com Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Edd Dumbill: The State of XML -- Why Individuals Matter.

XML.Com has a really narrow focus, and within that focus, little appears to be happening. Only a certain kind of project gets coverage on XML.Com. I don't understand why.

Perhaps it's ironic that The Standard (see above) has a clearer view of the big picture in XML. I thought Edd would not go down this path when he took the editor job at XML.Com, since he's an XML-RPC developer. How did he forget this in his survey of what's happening in XML? Because it's not embroiled in W3C politics, it's not important? I think when the dust settles there's a pretty good chance it'll be the only thing that works. No schema, no IDLs, no specialized directories, low barrier to entry. Edd also co-authored the O'Reilly XML-RPC book. So it's not as if he doesn't know about it.

Also, there has been much coverage of RDF on XML.Com, and little or no coverage of the simple way of doing syndicated Web content; and absolutely no coverage of OPML. Once again I'm working with the Seybold folks, who are co-sponsors of XML.Com along with O'Reilly, and I've been raising the issue privately, with no response from Edd.


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