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Permanent link to archive for Monday, August 27, 2001. Monday, August 27, 2001

The XML-RPC HowTo has been ported to Japanese.

Scott Hacker: He Who Controls the Bootloader.

Dave Rothgery: "Apress is quickly becoming the source for .NET books."

News.Com: Sun renews Web Services effort.

I did some writing over the weekend about Web Services, and realized that the term is vague, and it probably isn't what we do. I couldn't make it work. We already had a good term that explains why we have been investing in SOAP and XML-RPC, and I think we'll stick with it.

Flounder: "Netscape, since going into hibernation and feature freeze all those years ago, remains the girl's blouse of browsers."

This could be the end for ExciteAtHome.

Internet News: "Palm tapped David C. Nagel, chief technology officer of AT&T Corp. and president of AT&T Labs, to serve as president of the Palm OS platform subsidiary." Nagel was Apple's chief product guy in the early 90s.

Gender balancing high tech 

Donna Romer: "There is no doubt in my mind that gender balanced engineering teams are a very, very good thing."

Amy Wohl: "I don't like the condecension of thinking that men will have to build computers that women will find accessible. I know too many great women programmers and development managers and systems architects and big company VP's (to say nothing of analysts) to believe that women somehow can't get it."

Amy -- for the sake of argument -- what if a man invented a type of software that somehow worked better with a woman's mind than a man's. Would you accept it, or would you want to wait for a woman to invent it?

She responded. "I hope that I am civilized enough to thank people who do good things -- for me or for anyone else -- male or female. In my world, there are many more men than women. It's just the way it is. It's okay and we get along. Do sommething great -- or even something pretty good -- and I'll try to notice and say thanks. It makes the world work better."

About the male mind. Acceptance, appreciation and trust from women are things we value very highly. When women withhold this, men get grouchy. Try it sometime with a nearby male. "You did a really great job on that project, congratulations. (And for extra credit) You made my job so much easier." The man, if he's not a psycho, will just glow. (But please don't say it if you don't mean it.)

John Robb: "Women and technology. Normally, I wouldn't touch a topic like this with a ten foot pole, but Dave and Scoble hung it out, so I should too."

Open source disarray 

Philip Greenspun: "Microsoft .NET is simultaneously the most advanced development environment for programmers and also opens the door to a new practical age of distributed computing."

What a shame that Greenspun tells young developers to climb into the Microsoft trunk. Be more careful. It would make much more sense to invest in your favorite scripting environment, it can give you something that Microsoft never will -- freedom. Even after Microsoft ships, if they have features that other scripting environments don't, just add them as you need them.

I watch in dismay as the leaders of the open source world crumble. The first to tip over was Marc Andreessen, who flushed our main hope for independence down the open source toilet bowl, spouting on the rollout day of .NET that his new company LoudCloud was going to lead in Microsoft-compatible services. People were supposed to be shocked -- the poster boy of the Web generation yields to pragmatism. But by then most knew he was just a puffer, not a real leader.

And then Miguel de Icaza decided to clone .NET, a bad strategy for sure, leaving developers to wonder if they wouldn't be better off with the real thing.

Even the idealogical purist Eric Raymond says that open source without free money from public markets can't sell into corporations. They're hip (he says they're stupid) -- heh -- why should they pay for something they can download for free?

Craig Burton: "I guess VA Linux shareholders can just be happy Richard Stallman isn't driving this strategy eh?"

Open source is cool, has a place, always has. Want to set a standard? It's a good idea to release some source so people can deploy without fear. And if you're on Unix where previously the only way to integrate was at the source level, consider using the new connective glue, SOAP or XML-RPC, to integrate without combining code bases.

Stori for Tori 

I wrote this story for one of my best friends, Tori Ryan, who's having trouble finding a job in Silicon Valley. It begins in a weird way with the death of an animal in an awkward place.

An animal apparently crawled into my stove and died. What a stink. So I looked in the yellow pages for a home appliance repair service who can come get rid of the dead thing.

The first one I called had a receptionist who could barely speak English. Same with the second and third. I called back the first company.

I asked if they actually do this job. The poor woman had no idea what I was asking. Instead the guy is coming out here so I can ask if this is a job they do. Why does he have to drive all the way out here to find that out? (I'm waiting, so I'm not happy either.)

It didn't used to be this way in Silicon Valley. Most people spoke English if their jobs included talking to people on the phone. Opportunities must exist here for a bright person such as yourself who is fluent in the language of our country.

Postscript: The repair guy showed up an hour late. I waited four hours. No help, he doesn't speak English either. I live in Latin America.

Weblogs, HailStorm and Magic Carpet 

As we were porting the Blogger API into Manila, we found a connection between weblogs and centralized identity and preferences systems such as Microsoft HailStorm and AOL Magic Carpet.

Here's the crucial call -- blogger.getUsersBlogs. It returns a set of descriptors for a user's Blogger-managed sites.

Evan can do this because there is a single database containing information about all their sites. We can't easily implement it because Manila is not centralized, it runs on many different servers, at UserLand and at our customers' sites.

Then I wondered if there will be other Blogger servers in the future, in other words, will this call continue to work for Blogger?

That led me to centralized identity and preferences systems. We may want to drive toward this, since they seem to be coming online, and there are least two vendors in the space.

Evan Williams: "There *will* be more Blogger servers in the future -- hopefully, the near future. Decentralization is something I've been working on for quite a while."

Old slogans still work 

"Ask not what the Internet can do for you, ask what you can do for the Internet."


Last update: Monday, August 27, 2001 at 8:36 PM Eastern.

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