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We've cleared an outage in our SOAP interop test server. It was down starting Oct 12, it's back up now. Many apologies. We've also got back in the loop on the Soapbuilders list and our server uses the recommended SOAPAction header, and the old one, so our implementation should interop at the BDG level with all the Soapbuilders servers. Thanks to Sam Ruby, Rich Salz and Simon Fell for helping us debug this. Further thanks to Simon for doing the WSDL file for the Manila RPC interface. It's still a very rich source of SOAP services, and is a real app that people can test against. Every Manila site is also a SOAP application (and XML-RPC of course).  

Adam Kalsey: "RSSBlog creates an RSS newsfeed from the HTML file of your blog. I created this so that I could generate an RSS feed for my Blogger powered blog." 

Jason Harlan: "Are there alternatives to the MS soapserializer and soapreader that could be used in an MS and ASP development environment?" 

Register: "He was, in other words, a suicidally-wrong choice for Palm, the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time." 

John Brockman eulogizes Ken Kesey, using his own words. "Can't blame the President for the state of the country, it's always the poets' fault." 

It makes my heart warm to see a designer working with a geek. This is exactly what I hope to see more of. We need great designers to make our geekish systems beautiful to the eye.  

On the other hand, sometimes the designers go too far and create things that are totally unusable.  

AP: "Ken Kesey, whose LSD-fueled bus ride became a symbol of the psychedelic 1960s after he won fame as a novelist with 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,' died Saturday morning. He was 66." 

Chris Locke pushes back on our anti-meme pushback. OK. But I still hate memes. They're used by people like Locke to take control of things we care about, to create hoops designed for other people to jump through, and in the end they blame us for the fucked-up software anyway. All we want to do is make tools for guys like Locke, and get feedback based on actual use of those products. We also want to be paid for this work, and get a vacation once in a while, and a pat on the back for a job well done. Not asking a lot imho. 

An excellent case study of this mess is on the O'Reilly weblog. Why should Yossi Vardi have to bend Tim O'Reilly's ear to get credit for being a pioneer of P2P, if not the pioneer of P2P. I'll tell you why. Hard-working programmers are too busy keeping the system running to try to get on the meme-maker's ladder. Anyway, I predict the business model of being a meme-level gatekeeper is totally bust, and in a couple of years, if we're still here, we'll all get together and have a good laugh about how crazy things got back then (i.e. now). 

Now when Tim got publicly excited, he did something honest, that most meme-makers don't do. He attempted to find the software that already existed that fit into his meme. Most of the time it doesn't work that way. The meme-maker, a Forrester or a whatever says "Here's something new! I figured it out! Let's get excited!" Now it doesn't serve the "here's something new" cause if it isn't new. So any vendors who are already providing technology for that purpose, almost by definition have to be left out of the meme. This seems stupid and unfair. The newcomers to the market are getting an unfair boost. Can't use ICQ for P2P say everyone, it's not cool, it's not with the meme. Anyway if you've been around this loop a few times as I have you know that the memes wash out, and what's left after is a market, which is all that was ever there, which is a conversation, and has products. 

Why is software particularly vulnerable to this? Ahhh, I even know the answer to that. It's because it's so new, and the BigPubs like to run stories that say we're full of shit, so when the shit-purveyors show up they're all over it, just so in a few months they can prove we're full of shit in Silicon Valley. Basically the meme cycle is caused by the fear the BigPubs have about technology. Of course they're right to be fearful because eventually technology will change their industry, and they'll have to learn how to do new things, and they're mostly pretty old people, and old people don't enjoy change very much. I know this because I'm getting pretty old myself.  

Anyway, the typical meme-maker doesn't trust or understand the programmer, because to get the code running you actually have to know something. That's why the conferences are largely filled with meme-makers talking with meme-makers about (you guessed it) memes. (The O'Reilly conferences are an exception, I went to their P2P conf earlier this year and had a great time.) Anyway it got so bad I had to stop going to tech industry parties. No one ever talked about software anymore. It was all air-talk and of course money talk, because memes made a lot of money in the 90s. 

So dear Chris, in Programmer-Land we've been badly burned by the memes. That's why we hate them so much. Let's say goodbye to people who neither write or use code. Let's have a quiet period where we simply use and create software for fun, evolution, collaboration, learning, hey even getting laid once in a while. Let's make it simple and human. 

5/7/97: "A programmer is a rigorous scientist determined to coax the truth out of the ones and zeros." 


Last update: Saturday, November 10, 2001 at 7:45 PM Eastern.

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