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Permanent link to archive for Thursday, September 20, 2001. Thursday, September 20, 2001

Sjoerd is working on something weird and wonderful. 

Mike Donnelan: "These guys are smoking acid-marinated, genetically modified super-pot day in & day out!" 

THINK!Captain of United 564: "Sometimes a potential hijacker will announce that he has a bomb. There are no bombs on this aircraft and if someone were to get up and make that claim, don't believe him." It gets better! 

Rudyard Kipling: "When you're wounded and left, on Afghanistan's plains, and the women come out, to cut up your remains, just roll on your rifle, and blow out your brains, and go to your Gawd, like a soldier." Similar advice for any terrorists wounded in the USA. 

The Tamim Ansary essay is important, that's why I chose to run it through DaveNet last Friday, but I had no idea how important it would turn out to be. Is it really major news that Afghanistan is a wasteland? Apparently. That's a sign of a couple of things. 1. The BigNewsCo's aren't being responsible, even now, in their coverage. Lots of bedtime stories, evil and good, no shades of gray, no perspective. 2. The citizens aren't paying attention.  

Here's the scoop. The Taliban believe they brought down the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and there's reason to believe they're right. I've read that they think "One down one to go." They think we're weaker than the Soviets (they're probably right). Every time they've engaged us, in Lebanon, Somalia, Saudia Arabia, we've run away rather than fight.  

A friend asked what's the big deal, let them have Iraq and Israel, my life will be fine. Uhhh, no, they want the US too, and they don't mind living in wastelands. In other words the stakes are clearly much larger than the average world citizen gets. I say world citizen, because the revelation in the Ansary piece was worldwide, not just in the US. I think many people must think the rest of the world is just like their hometown. Not so. 

On the other hand, the Taliban blinked. They're scared too. Yeah! Gotta love it. 

A reporter asked why Microsoft chose this moment to announce their use of Kerberos for authentication in their new network operating system (that's what the announcement amounted to). He wanted to know if AOL was "up to something." I said no, we're in touch with the AOL people, they're in NY, and their lives are turned upside down by all the crazy shit that's going on in the world.  

JD Lasica: A Scorecard for Net News Ethics. "Every survey shows that audiences continue to gravitate to the online news sites of trusted brands: MSNBC,,, But we're also seeing that supplemented by the rise of grassroots community-news sites (Slashdot, Kuro5hin, Metafilter) and Weblogs that let amateur journalists provide first-person reportage." 

I'd like to accumulate a list of news sites that did an excellent job of covering the news around the bombing of the WTC and Pentagon. It's a directory, and there's a suggest-a-link page. We're talking about doing a special session at Seybold about this next week in SF -- how the Web covered the terrorism, and this directory will help us gather pointers. Think of it as a new kind of survey.  

Coco Conn: "At Cel, and artist collective in SF, they have a television with a hand drawn sign taped to the bottom of it. It says: LIES." 

Carl Sagan: "Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark." 

Perl.Com: "The first public version of Parrot was released." 

Scobelizer has a new look today.  

Cydney Gillis: Consumer nervousness, XP and Xbox

I'm talking with Microsoft people about today's announcement at 11AM Pacific. My key question will be user choice and developer lock-in. Will I be able to connect to Microsoft's users without running any Microsoft software on my end. Will users have choice? Will they be able to completely replace Microsoft's server with mine? Does my system have to support UDDI and WSDL, or is SOAP enough? Does Microsoft have any patents in this area which might limit competition? In general, how much opportunity is there for competition, and what assurances do we have that Microsoft won't change the basic behavior later, as they did with Smart Tags? 

I posted my notes from the Microsoft conversation on the Decentralization list. 

Register: "Although it might seem like everybody you know sends you email everyday, as well as lots and lots of people you donít know, apparently you ainít seen nothing yet."  

NY Times: Afghan Clerics Urge bin Laden to Leave

William Safire: "Why is there no Radio Free Afghanistan broadcasting the truth about the consequences of harboring the headquarters of terrorism?" 

Cathy Hall: "The great Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky, told the story of the time he was arrested by the czar and sentenced to die." 

Christian Science Monitor photo essay of life in Kabul. 

Mapquest aerial picture of the WTC site. 

Slate: Who's Who in the Terror War

Walt Mossberg: "The company has also turned Windows XP into a sort of Trojan horse. It has built in a bunch of 'features,' such as instant messaging, online photo printing and a "passport" to the Web, that are just blatant efforts to lure consumers into using a set of new Web-based services Microsoft is launching, while ignoring alternative services that may be better. The goal seems to be to trap users in a sort of Microsoft company store." 

Microsoft opens Passport? 

I was not briefed in advance of the Microsoft announcement, below, although they said that "federation" was something they planned to do at the NDA'd briefing in the spring. I have emails into MS's PR and AOL's team that's exploring this area. I'll try to get details, and find out what this means to independent developers.

David Coursey: "Microsoft says it wants Passport and Hailstorm, its foundation services for Web-based applications, to play well with others. So in a shocking move, the company is announcing today that Passport will be changed to use an Internet-standard security model and Hailstorm won't be the only place for users to store their personal information."

NY Times: "Microsoft says its software must operate with other kinds of online authentication software if Internet commerce is to develop rapidly. Microsoft executives said they wanted to avoid a rerun of the early days of automated teller machines, before common standards and a sense of trust, when each major bank had its own stand-alone network."

WSJ: "But the initiative is bound to generate considerable skepticism, in part because Microsoft has in the past been accused by rivals and some privacy groups of making additions to the Kerberos technology to maker it harder for companies to use non-Microsoft software."

Microsoft Q&A: "Federation allows businesses of any size, or any other organization, to maintain the control of their local resources while still being able to interact with people, organizations and software that are not under their direct control. The organizations that control a federated service interact across their normal organizational boundaries."

Innovation in OPML 

In the OPML version of Scripting News, each of these outline elements has a "created" attribute.

I was able to get Radio to do this automatically because the test version I'm using has a new callback that runs when a new headline is added.

My test callback simply adds an attribute.

This is the beginning of something pretty cool (globally unique IDs for outliner-edited weblog items).

We can buld all kinds of distributed systems around this simple feature.


Last update: Friday, September 21, 2001 at 6:04 AM Eastern.

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