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Permanent link to archive for Sunday, September 02, 2001. Sunday, September 02, 2001

New Frontier/Radio verb: string.htmlToEmail

Barrapunto: "Dave Winer, en un claro momento de inspiración, se ha liado la manta a la cabeza y ha dibujado el fastuoso y nunca suficientemente alabado diagrama de bloques del mundo del open source en 2001."

Conspiracy theories about Flangy on Wes's DG.

It gets better. Ingve Vormestrand thinks he's responsible for the disappearance and subsequent neutering of Flangy.

Andrew Denney needs help with Hypercard animation.

McCusker: "Each generation mistakenly believes the world is designed. The older generation gets blamed, as if it had some control. We control whether Santa Claus shows up, but little else. Living is a controlled fall and is never by careful design. Many youngsters stupidly believe the world is a product."

He's right about life being a controlled fall. Last week I bought a new refrigerator-freezer. I was so happy! (The state of disgrace of old refrigerator was actually mentioned in Wired a few months ago.) The new refrigerator doesn't work. The fan whirs, the light comes on, but inside the refrigerator it's actually warmer than the kitchen. I called the store and the guy laughed. Hello. My milk is going sour. I can't entertain. I can't buy food, it'll spoil. And since it's the 21st century and not the 18th I don't have an ice cave to store all this stuff in. It's a brand new Whirlpool and it's as good an oven as it is a refrigerator. More evidence that it's even worse than it appears.

Refrigerator: "An appliance, cabinet, or room for storing food or other substances at a low temperature."

Speaking of entertaining, yesterday I had a group of seven women here. They came over after a wild woman breakfast at Buck's that happens every Saturday. I just found out about it last week emailing with Sylvia. I said she should come by afterwards and bring some of her wild women friends. It was fun! Not exactly gender balanced, hey but who's complaining. We talked for hours, at first about subjects raised in my gender piece, and then about bigger picture things and then about sex, which (my theory only) is all that we ever really talk about anyway. We also talked about software.

Sally Richards hosts the breakfasts at Buck's.

Press release: "NetObjects, Inc. today announced that it will cease operations effective today. The Company intends to sell its assets as expeditiously as circumstances permit."

RSS -- one year later 

On this day last year: What to do about RSS?

"RSS, in its simplicity, is a breath of fresh air. You can understand it fully in a few minutes. You can quickly deploy an application with just a basic understanding of HTML and a bit of experience in a scripting language like Perl, AppleScript or Python. That is the reason it gained traction, while most other XML formats are still in the working groups or waiting for deployment. In the overworked world of Web development, there's no time to study, there's only time to do."

So one year later what happened there? Basically RSS went crazy and self-destructed.

To me it felt like being corrected by arrogant teachers, ones indoctrinated in a philosophy that was failing. I could see it, but they didn't. One year later, RDF still hasn't happened in any real way, it's still Tim Berners-Lee's dream, one I wish hadn't gotten in the way of the work we were doing in easy Web content syndication.

Traffic on the lists has dropped to a trickle, including the list for people using the RDF fork. Is one year enough time to try their experiment? If not, how much longer do they need to prove that the Web wants to be Semantic or even has a clue what that means.

But the RSS community persists. Jeff Barr is running the newsfeeds weblog and pointing to lots of new sources. Most of them are 0.91. We shipped Radio, which has a built-in RSS-based aggregator, and can be used to author RSS feeds, and it inspired competition.

Before last summer I was one of the sources of evangelism for RSS, maybe even the primary one, but after the persistent flamewars on the Syndication list, I couldn't recommend it -- to do so would require too many caveats and warnings about the mess people would be stepping into. This happened when the ICE group expressed an interest in RSS. I counseled against it. Stay away, don't get bogged down.

This should serve as a warning to anyone who invests in a standard whose authorship is at all in question. If I had it to do again I would have stuck with the XML format I invented and would have supported RSS, instead of joining my format with RSS and deprecating the old one. Then RSS could have gone crazy and we would have still been able to move forward.

RSS is an awkward state, half-alive, but it's not clear what it is. A lot of people have poured their hearts into it, but it's not clear now what good its done.


Last update: Sunday, September 02, 2001 at 7:16 PM Eastern.

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