Blog-Con: "Vegas was chosen not for proximity but for the possibility of getting 50 million bloggers in one place at once. We already have more than 3 million signed up, but we need more."
Survey: Is it 2002 where you are?
Another survey: Will you/did you get drunk to celebrate the New Year?
WSJ: Computer in Kabul holds chilling memos. "Last May, someone sat down at an IBM desktop here and typed out a polite letter to a bitter foe of al-Qaida, the anti-Taliban leader Ahmed Shah Massoud. The writer tapped at the computer for 97 minutes, according to its internal record, then printed out the fruit of his labor: a request for an interview with Massoud."
Essaylet: When to give away the technology.
I think that should be my year-ending DaveNet piece. What do you think? Or maybe it should be my first DaveNet of the new year? Hmmm.
In a way it's nice to be thought of as being so thoughtful as to have planned to get so embroiled in debate. Now of course we don't mind the traffic, our servers get lonely if no one uses them. But we're not the king of the hill as Julian suggests. Blogger was just named one of the seven wonders of the Web. Microsoft has $30+ billion in cash (we have $0 billion). We're just a little company always trying to figure out how we fit in in this crazy ever-changing world we live in.
John Robb summarizes the discussion about open source.
Good morning and welcome to the last day of yet another year. Later today I will say "That's it for this year." Tomorrow we start another one, Murphy-willing of course. What will happen in that year? Everyone wants to know. Its name will be 2002, that much we do know. It can be pronounced Two-Two. The name of an award-winning bishop from South Africa. A short dress female dancers wear, and male comedians. You heard it here first. All the news that's not worth printing. It's even worse than it appears.
Another thing that will happen in 2002 -- the On This Day In feature will get another year. I could put it in right now but that would just get another pointer to the text you're reading right now. That would be Two recursive for my poor coffee-deprived brain.
I've been watching Burning Bird flail about open source, and finally she says something worth pointing to. "You get what you pay for" is over the top. I don't support that and I'll argue with John about that assessment. It's a cheap shot. I know what it feels like to have someone say that about my software, stuff I worked hard on, and didn't charge money for. I don't put any less effort into making it usable when I am giving it away. To this day people say that about Manila because we give them free hosting on machines that are carrying a heavy load. And while it can be painful to hear, there's a deeper truth that the open source advocates can't hide from. They're really saying "I can't complain because I didn't pay for it." So to use a Doc-ism, there's no market conversation about open source. The developers don't listen to the users (they're famous for that) but even if they did, the users would be loathe to complain because they're not customers and they know it.
Now it's interesting to note that, as far as I know, no one has ever said "You get what you pay for" about XML-RPC. This says to me that, intuitively, people know that formats and protocols should be free of cost and totally open. Maybe "should" is too weak a word -- maybe it's "must." I believe this in my heart, it's something I take for granted. If there's a toll on the road, developers will wait until something without a toll comes along. And this may be the line where open source makes sense, maybe finally we can put the debate to rest -- open source can stop snarling, and accept its place as the province of would-be standard-setters. Commercial vs open source is like a hot and cold water valve on a faucet. Where you want competition, give away the technology. Where you want to be competitive, keep it to yourself.
The Skipping Dot Net guy is also trying to parse this. He says that UserLand is the most open commercial company he knows. This is because we tweak the valves to get the right temperature to come out the faucet. I figured this out in a new way after watching VA and CollabNet tweak their offerings to include some hot water in their mixes. I also had a long talk with James Barry in Colorado in August, he's an ex-IBMer who was at CollabNet then (and now is CTO at Jabber). He opened my eyes about business and open source from the pov of a company that had bet its future on open source, and only open source.
BTW, I promise you, OPML is going to be as big or bigger as anything we've done at UserLand, including SOAP, XML-RPC and RSS. It's a source of cold water and it's killer. We have the hot water to balance it, I hope, if not, Omni might be a good bet, or JOE. See how it works? Users who have choice move. Users who are locked in wait. I don't care how big you are, you're still in the same ecosystem.
Now the ad hominems are being flung at poor l'il me. Heh. Choose to believe I'm a flawed human being, that's your right, but you'll never learn anything that way. My philosophy -- we're all barking farting chihuahuas, and none of us get out of this alive. My shit does stink, and so does yours. Have a nice day, I am not a lawyer, and it's even worse than it appears.
BoingBoing continues to impress.
KD: "What kind of girl spends her Sunday afternoon up to her elbows in PHP & MySQL?"
Internet.Com: "The Federal Communications Commission Thursday approved Boeing's Connexion service, putting high-speed Internet at the fingertips of flying passengers one step closer to realization."
Doc Searls weighs in on the open-source-as-flop debate, and says something agreeable. "My vote for Flop of the Year is the whole investment bubble. Every company has two markets: one for its goods and services and one for itself. In the dot-com bubble, interest in the latter completely overcame the former. Rather than selling their goods and services, companies sold themselves, over ane over, in round after round, to investors. Markets for many kinds of goods and services, were seriously hurt. Software especially."
I got various answers to yesterday's puzzle about lines at airport ticket counters. Sorry no one got the correct answer. The people behind the counters were working very quickly. They were not short-staffed due to layoffs. Security was not requiring printed tickets at SJO on Sunday. In fact, many of the people in the line did not need to be there. I was one of them. I checked. Then I told one of the cops who directed me to the ticket counter line that I didn't need to wait and he gave me the answer. "There's a lot of confusion around here right now." Exactly. That's the answer to puzzle. Confusion.
Good morning and thanks for all the fish.
Susan Kitchens takes us behind the scenes at the preparations for the Rose Bowl Parade. Susan is a nominee for Blogger of the Year, and this is why. The joy of sharing experiences, they don't have to be earth shaking to be interesting and colorful. The news didn't always used to be bad, and in the future, it won't be either.
Doc Searls, another top blogger, says that Real changes its user interface as often as Rob Glaser changes his underwear. Now I'm not sure I want to go there. Checking. I don't. He also says "Earth to Real: I am not a pin in your bowling alley." Interesting. I never thought of Doc as a pin in a bowling alley. Now you know why he gets the big bux.
Meanwhile the virtual thought police buzzards of the blogging world are circling John Robb, trying to push him into the LCD abyss, taking the edge off his writing, and the bluster out of his prognostications. I hope it never happens. That's what I like about Jrobb. He's blissfully unaware of how politically incorrect he is. And may he always stay that way. Because the emotional age of the norm in the blogging world is way down in the single digits. I think the wienerboys have given up on me by now, let's hope they don't get John.
Postscript on the busted pipe. I called the gardener and he installed a new valve. The pipe was good. We did a little digging together, but I let him do the hard work. I called him instead of a plumber because I trust him, and because it was in his part of my domain. Yes I'm sure it has something to do with the Internet. I wonder if the Shea scoreboard consumes any water?
A puzzle. When you go to the airport these days there are people all over the place waiting for flights because they tell you to come three hours early, and you know you gotta do it because the lines are so long. Now I understand why the line for security is so long, they're doing more work, it takes more time. Take your laptop out. Take your shoes off. It's a much bigger deal. More people are looking at each traveler. But tell me this, why are the lines at the ticket counters so much longer than they used to be?
Another end of the year exercise. By now maybe you have an idea of what kind of 90s you had, personally. Was it good, bad, don't know yet? I'm going to find a way to ask this question today, Murphy-willing. How many times did you fall in love in the 90s? Did you make megabucks and then lose them? What are your regrets? You're ten years older, what did you learn? And what do you look forward to in the 2000s?
JD Lasica: The FBI pays my mom a visit.
Andre Durand: Chocolate is Out - Make-Up is In.
Tommy Agee died this year, and then this report in the NY Times says the Mets might be headed for real trouble. A new stadium, with a retractable roof? Let's hope NY's new mayor sees the folly in this. Giuliani is a Yankees fan. Don't fall for his tricks. Of course the Yankees need a new stadium. Almost anything could help them. Why not try it. But the Mets, no way, leave Shea right where it is, funky scoreboard and all its deep philosophy.
OTOH if they end up tearing down Shea, I wonder if I could buy the old scoreboard? Wow that would be cool. After the Gulf War I wanted to buy an old Scud missile for my front lawn (that was before I had a weblog or you would have heard about it). Unfortunately I never got the missile. But just imagine the power of having the Mets scoreboard on my front lawn. I bet you could see it from outer space.
On the other hand, maybe they should build a new Shea, and if they did that, I'd abandon my quest for the old scoreboard if they move Shea from Flushing to Ground Zero. That would send a message to the terrorists. When you blow up a building that has very little philosophy (admit it, the WTC was sterile and uninteresting) we'll just replace it with the deepest philosophical icon we have. Then next time they blow up something we could move Shea Stadium there. What do you think?
Mark Pilgrim theorizes that if we were writing Frontier today we'd do it as an Apache module. Now, we like Apache, we use it here, but we've been there and ran out of growing room. Here's the story.
We started on the Web in 1995 as an app running behind Webstar, when Frontier was seven years old. Webstar was not open source, but still played the role Mark talks about. Platforms are platforms, whether it's open source or not matters not one bit. The API Webstar defined was as open as Apache's and was emulated by all other Web servers on the Mac platform. (Another non-open source platform, probably as big as Apache, if not bigger in terms of software and developer hours invested.)
Eventually we outgrew the limited API of Webstar (or more realistically the inertia that comes from a broadly supported standard). Frontier is so much more than Apache ever will be, getting content and control to flow over HTTP is a small (but significant) part of what Frontier does, and it does it much more completely than Apache. Our stack goes all the way up to Manila. I still can't believe that Apache left all that territory open. My theory about this is that they were fat and happy and blissfully unaware of what the competition was up to.
If the world is right, having a browser-based way to edit content will be as basic a feature for a Web server as Undo became for word processors. Think about it. Go dig into the Qube and see where Apache stopped evolving and think about the role its opensourceness played in its complacence.
If someone says something you don't understand or agree with you could conclude that they're not as knowledgeable as you and dismiss what's said. I see this happening as people exchange opinions about John Robb, who I think I know better than they do. "He's a suit," some say, and therefore doesn't understand deep technological issues, as they do, presumably. I don't make any such assumptions about John. If he's a suit, he's my suit, which is fine, I definitely need one, but believe me, when I want to work out a tough software problem, very often I talk with John about it. Perhaps some people think software can exist without users. That's where the open source thing is lost in space. Instead of dismissing, if you're a serious developer, dive in and learn. John is definitely a user, but he's also a technological visionary. A pretty unique person in that regard.
Michael Fraase: "While open source software has an incredible amount of potential, it has—with very few exceptions—failed to live up to that potential let alone its hype. This is most likely because all of us like to get paid for our work. And the idea that there is somehow something wrong with that is preposterous."
Wes is in New Orleans. He says "Mm, there's nothing like a hot jalapeno smoked sausage po-boy." Oh am I envious. The only thing that's better is an oyster po-boy with my-nez.
Eric Sink bet several hundred thousand dollars on an open source word processor. "The cost of software construction is still very high. Open source is the lowest-margin way to run a software business, and low-margin businesses are very hard."
Maybe it's possible to go back to my invitation to Brian Behlendorf from April of last year (seems longer-ago than that) and agree that "we can work with various different copyright and trademark systems, that each approach has its place, and that our common bond is love for computers and people who use them. And love for our own creativity, and wishes to see it thrive and be built upon by others." If I could re-draft that statement I'd take out the michegas about ESR and O'Reilly. These are no longer issues. That shows you how far the loop has unwound. What counts is clearing the path for progress, and working together to make things work better. If I want to charge for some of my software that shouldn't be a problem for anyone except my competitors who are free to charge less, but let's leave the holy wars for Uncle Osama and his pals (look where it got him, he looks terrible!).
I had a feeling John would get flamed for saying open source was a flop. It's almost a mathematical statement. It's as if the Mets said they were going to win the World Series and so humiliate and demoralize every other team that they would just give up baseball. Well, OK, they could say it, but then at the end of the season, if they didn't win, and the other teams were still playing, you could reasonably say it was a flop.
The problem of course is that they set the expectations too high. Any good coach or political consultant will tell you not to do that. Set the expectations so it's likely you'll exceed them, but not by too much. As Mets fans know so well, you may have to wait till next year.
I got a few requests for citations on the bluster. Now first let me say that I like Brian Behlendorf. I'm not saying he's not a nice person. Nor am I threatening his business, or livelihood, he's a rich man (I think). But he went on the record on how open source would effect commercial software (I hate the term closed-source, it's so pejorative) and here's what he said. "Everyone in the Internet industry at one point or another has to compete against someone who provides the same service for free - everyone, that is, with a business model not based purely on time and materials." Well, what John is saying, and I'm supporting is a simple idea. It didn't work out that way.
NY Times: The Year in Internet Law.
One year ago today Mary Jo Foley went looking for Web Services and didn't find much to talk about. That story was rewritten many times in 2001. Did the BigCo's have a clue? Well, they sure knew how to spin the press to ignore everything else. In that way 2001 was much like 2000, or 1999, or whatever.
Even so, somehow this article appeared on IBM's site. It would be interesting to see one of the BigPubs pick up this angle on Web Services. In the end it matters less how Big the Co is, adoption of new formats and protocols is probably inversely related to the size of its proponents. The BigPlans of the BigCo's usually get flushed down the toilet by apps coming out of left field from people who have no right to create them. Perhaps that should be another element on Metz's qualifications for what gives a protocol or format juice.
And why exactly is it inversely related? For that you have to look into the cultures at BigCo's where permission to innovate is so jealously guarded. Most people inside the firewall don't have it, esp the people who are likely to have a good idea once in a while. They're usually highly irritating people, who seem self-centered and arrogant. (Who does he think he is?) The good ideas do actually sometimes get implemented, but often in a hidden corner of some marginal product where it makes no difference. The people who do the standards work at the BigCo's can be great engineers, some of them are very smart and experienced people, but as you can see in specs like UDDI and WSDL, they also have to work with low-road idiots who carve out political power in their companies by polluting simple ideas with incomprehensible compromises. No one fights for simplicity, and if they do they are ground into submission by the compromisers. You don't need a degree in rocket science to figure out what's going to fly. If you can't make sense of the spec in 10 minutes no one is going to use it so you can safely ignore it.
Lots of email this morning. Sri Lanka has a terrorism problem. Might be worth learning more about. Of course some people from Pennsylvania take exception to my sweeping bash of the entire state. I will never run for President of the US, because Pennsylvania is pivotal, but then so is Michigan, which proves my point. If you want to be President you have to watch a lot of bad baseball. Michigan has one major league team. American League. Also hardly worth mentioning. This is the beginning of a review of US baseball. In the end the only teams that matter are the Cubs, Red Sox and of course the Mets. Why those three teams? Well, because the Mets need someone to play in the regular season and in the post season.
Pat Berry is running for President of the US in 2008.
Frontier News: The aggregator from My.UserLand and Radio UserLand will be part of the Frontier 7.1 release.
Robert Sprynn admits that he might hate Pennsylvania. I know what he means. It's a dirty overcast state, without much to say for itself, wedged between New York and Ohio (another dim place) -- they have two baseball teams in Pennsylvania, both National League, undistinguished and kind of overcast and dirty, hardly worth mentioning. The only place I can think of that's less distinguished than Pensylvania is Maryland.
I just noticed that the Consulate General of Sri Lanka has a Manila site. It's a weblog. I bet we could have a good Scripting News dinner in Sri Lanka. Do they have good beaches? Do they have good food?
CIA Factbook page for Sri Lanka. "Slightly larger than West Virginia." That's an approachable size.
Acclaimed science fiction author Arthur C Clarke has lived in Sri Lanka since 1956. "It's India without the hassle."
Why can't work always be as easy as it is this week? I find it very relaxing. I can take a break or a walk and still get a huge amount of work done in each session. It's not that the phone doesn't ring. I spent at least two hours gabbin today. What is it about this week that makes work so easy and satisfying?
Grand Central has some developer kits.
A new idea. A virus aimed at geeks. Cute.
John Robb's picks for top trends of 2001.
Jake wants to know what x =  * (2 * 2) means, in Python.
Brent Simmons: "Email is no longer reliable."
What were the big trends of 2001?
5/9/95: "I had originally wanted to call the language Juicy, because it is C-like, and because both Doug Baron, and I are Jewish. But decorum prevailed and we went with the more predictable (and boring!) UserTalk name."
Two years ago today we were counting down to Y2K. Time named Einstein the Person of the Century. "Our minds can travel to other galaxies, to the first moments of creation, not from belief or emotion or faith, but from thought. This is true power!"
Walt Mossberg: Microsoft had a good year, at expense of customers.
Christopher Hanson was born two years ago today.
This year we spent a lot of time on corner-turns after lots of bootstraps last year.
The two concepts are quite related. I'm going to go take a walk and formulate the relationship and then write about it later today or tomorrow.
Then I found I have a busted pipe. Not a Unix pipe -- a water pipe. In front of the house. It's been out for at least a couple of days. I have no idea where the valve for this broken pipe is, but I can see the money flowing down the driveway. No chance of getting a plumber out here until tomorrow. In California you have to fix these things quickly. $500 water bills happen. This month. No doubt.
Calling Unix gearheads. We need a UserTalk script that generates encrypted passwords as if they were produced by Unix's crypt function. The docs are very scary. But the hash function must not be horribly difficult to code. I'd rather not have to call a Perl XML-RPC handler to get the hash, but that's what people are telling me to do. I can't believe it.
Michal Wallace has meandered through this territory in Python. JY Stervinou found Java code that does what crypt does. Leonard Rosenthol did a Crypt UCMD for Frontier. That's the closest yet. He includes source. (But the server is not accessible.)
ImageMagick is a "robust collection of tools and libraries to read, write, and manipulate an image in many image formats."
The period between now and early-mid January is often the most productive part of the year. Four years ago in this period we started syndicating Scripting News in XML. What new stuff will we create between now and January 11 when the lights come back on? Only time will tell.
What is Serence?
A List Apart: Mac Browser Roundup.
Orf is running a piece on weblogs, in German.
Thomas Friedman: "If everybody flew naked, not only would you never have to worry about the passenger next to you carrying box cutters or exploding shoes, but no religious fundamentalists of any stripe would ever be caught dead flying nude, or in the presence of nude women, and that alone would keep many potential hijackers out of the skies."
BTW, I had to take off my shoes going through security for the flight down to San Diego. Luckily I was wearing clean socks. This was my first plane trip since Sept 11. The security at SJO was awesome. The line streteched down to baggage claim. People kept their sense of humor. It moved fast. The best security perhaps was that everyone got to know each other. On the flight home last night I had a fantasy of a Saudi fanatic hiding in the Santa Cruz Mountains with a Stinger missile. We landed safely anyway.
NY Times: "In the last three months, spam has spiked."
Scoble: "Clearly Osama Bin Laden has had the biggest impact on all our lives this year."
I just read on Geeksworld that they want to do their own awards. I sent an email: "I would be happy to help, I already have a server that does what you want, and I could arrange for it to email you results every night. I'm winding down for the holiday -- but if you want to point your form at my server, after I get back, I can set it up. Happy to do so."
Daniel Berlinger: "Today, I decomissioned my BeBox."
NY Times: Alaska Helps Its Elderly Residents Tell Their Stories. "Why, as soon as the tide goes out, your table is set," Mr. Gordon explained. "Clams and cockles and mussels, and all kinds of fish."
802.11b: "I'm currently accessing the Internet by sticking my Apple iBook in the window of the hotel."
DaveNet: A Weblog Manifesto.
Oh no O'Reilly has yet another new book out. Geez those guys have been busy!
Shane McChesney is SkippingDot.Net.
I watched Merchants of Cool, narrated by Douglas Rushkoff, who I got to know in Copenhagen. Interesting show. Of course I wondered how weblogs are going to play into the commercial domination of teen culture. Maybe it already has for all I know. But Viacom hasn't bought Blogger yet. Will we see that day? Yeah, I think we will. What do you think Evan? (He met Rushkoff too.) I can just see Ev on the World Wrestling Federation. No I can't.
Greg Ritter pushes back on my rant about Lessig's fantasy about software and source. There's a lot of truth to what Greg says, a lot more than there is in Lessig's dream. The glitch in Ritter's rant is the assumption that people would respect the copyright on the source. I doubt they would. Competition is good, but let's have some barriers to entry. Otherwise why work so hard. It'd be more fun to take up pottery.
BTW, there's something very Atlas Shrugged about Lessig's pitch. Lawyers. Oy. Lawyers use software too. I wonder what software Lessig uses. He should have a talk with the people who wrote the software, and explain what features he wants and what bugs he wants fixed, and then tell them after they do all that work, that they have to give their source to their competitors. I have a feeling he'll leave the meeting without getting what he wants.
Looking for a good link on Atlas Shrugged, and it's all BS. Let me try to synopsize. It's a story of creative people who work hard who get pissed off at all the niggling little idiots who try to tell them what to do, so they create a haven to hide in while the world outside falls apart. Then they come back, and everyone says how much they missed them. It's not a great book, for adults -- it appeals to the adolescent pov, basically They'll Miss Me When I'm Gone. (The sad truth of adulthood is that they won't. Sorry I didn't make the rules.) But it's not a worthless book. It's just that people try to attach so much meaning to the story that just plain isn't realistic, it isn't how the world actually works. No one is so pure as the heroes of Atlas Shrugged. And the whole "objectivist" rant is arrogant. Oh I see, if I were objective I would see it your way. Feh. That gets in the way of the fun of the story.
802.11b: Why Software Matters. "Boingo is not a software platform locking users in. In fact, it's a standards-based tool that relies on only standard protocols to ease the process for its users. Other companies will be able to come along, using different or identical protocols and still transit TCP/IP data on the Internet. They'll have to negotiate their own contracts with wireless infrastructure providers, but that will be the case in any vision of the future of Wi-Fi."
Steve Silberman: The Geek Syndrome.
Brent Simmons: "I'm 200, You're 200."
12/22/98: "It's a good time to be hibernating. Music on the box, more sad James Taylor tunes. He misses everyone, even before they're gone!"
DaveNet: How to help peace.
Jeremiah: "I'm only 16, so I still have (estimate here) 70-75 years ideally left until I'm outta commission. Think of how much more knowledge I can gain in that time." Right!
Meryl Evans: "Oh the weather outside is frightful. But the monitor is so delightful. And since we've no place to jog. Let Us Blog! Let Us Blog! Let Us Blog!"
Jeff Polaski: The Twelve Bugs of Christmas.
Year-End Google Zeitgeist.
Scott Hathaway needs help with Python and SOAP.
Python 2.2 is released.
IEEE Spectrum: "To succeed in a world of micromarkets, Locke contends, a company's marketing needs to embrace today's welter of on-line forums, in such a way that participants in those forums are willing to describe and endorse a company's products without appearing to be empty shills."
Deborah Branscum: "Girls rule!" Totally.
Library News Daily is going to be a daily read for me.
Annova: "Grammy bosses blacklist performers who are to perform on rival show the American Music Awards, an awards organiser claims."
Yes Jason, I am listening. And congrats on being chosen Yahoo's weblog of the year. I am jealous!
Mike Sanders knows how to manufacture flow. Blogger of the Century? Well I guess the century is still pretty young.
Robert Barksdale wants to know if this is O'Reilly's next big hit. I have to admit that I've dreamed about that too. It's got all the elements that make an O'Reilly hit, imho. Start with this page for an idea of chapter one or a foreword.
News.Com takes Segway for a test drive.
Emmanuel Décarie: "Salut univers!" Killer app.
Lessig: "When the system protects Hemingway, we at least get to see how Hemingway writes. We get to learn about his style and the tricks he uses to make his work succeed. We can see this because it is the nature of creative writing that the writing is public. There is no such thing as language that conveys meaning while not simultaneously transmitting its words. Software is different: Software gets compiled, and the compiled code is essentially unreadable; but in order to copyright software, the author need not reveal the source code. Thus, while the English department gets to analyze Virginia Woolf's novels to train its students in better writing, the computer science department doesn't get to examine Apple's operating system to train its students in better coding."
Lessig's analogy doesn't work. You can not see how Hemingway wrote, you can only see the words he published, the publication does not reveal the process. Similarly with software, students are free to study the published work, and use that as prior art (patents notwithstanding). Lessig's analogy is wrong.
Further, I can sing a song I heard on the radio, but with published source, anyone would be able to sing the song as well as the person who created it.
There's a reason why open source software hasn't produced very many memorable melodies. Programmers have to make a buck to keep programming. It's pretty simple.
He says programmers give the public nothing in return for copyrights. How insulting. We give our time and our ideas, just like lawyers and college professors.
There's no equivalent of source code in his two professions. If there were, I could just invoke the Lessig Defense in court and get the exact same result, every time, and even better not have to bother with a lengthy trial.
Or take Lessig's course from 1989 and get just as well educated. Software is unique among creative and thoughful work, in this way. The source gives you an exact replica of the original. And software needs to be upgraded. It costs money to do that. That's why we don't publish the source code, so we can keep working on it.
He's got some good points about orphaned software.
Evan Williams picks up the ball. In fact Frontier is over 13 years old. And btw, my education cost money too. I wasn't just born knowing how to write software. It takes a long time to get proficient enough to write usable software. I can't believe we have to justify ourselves at this level to a learned man such as Lessig. But it seems we do.
Scot Hacker reviews Mac OS X.
Jon Udell: Can IM Graduate to Business.
Network World Fusion's Do-It-Yourself RSS Feed.
PC World asks "Does anybody really know what time it is?"
Burning Bird: "The really great thing about weblogging is you can set your own rules."
There's so much good news these days. Here's an article on Perl.Com that explains how to program Microsoft's Active Directory through XML-RPC, and avoid the locked trunks and have fun and support interop. Wow. Things are really sorting themselves out nicely. Thanks!
Two years ago today, Jason Levine: "I moved my EditThisPage site off of Userland's server, and onto my own. All in all, it was a phenomenally easy thing to do; that being said, there are a lot of things that I had to think about and do beforehand in order to make it that much easier."
Next year I want to do a Rookie of the Year category. If there was one this year, Amy Wohl would be on the list. A natural born blogger. Watch her explode in 2002. It's going to be something to behold. Can people be killer apps? You betcha.
BTW, speaking of killer blogs, thanks to O'Reilly for pointing me to BoingBoing. It's also on Weblogs.Com. I read it every time it updates.
Last year Medley caught hell for doing awards. She did a nice job, also in 1999, inspired by the gorgeously named Bad Hair Days, who did awards in 1999. Look at all those sites I've never heard of (and some I have of course). Thanks to both for being pioneers, from an awards newbie.
Mike Sanders has a clue. BTW, I did not get into a blog fight with Cam. No way. It's true he cut me a new asshole, but that's OK, I needed one. Mike points to Jeneane Sessum who nails it. Let's have more awards, not none. Hey if people were watching when I started Scripting News they would have complained about that too. But no one was watching. Now again, let's do something new. My little project will have been a huge success if there are a thousand awards sites next year. And get this, it's not too late for this year. I have a lightweight awards-tracking server, and I'm willing to help other people get their awards pages going. Heh. You know like I helped people start some blogs a couple of years ago.
One more thing. I'm also going to ask that we get our act together and create a network of XML documents so we can write crawlers and aggregators that walk the network of friendship and gather interesting information about it. We're going to hit a scaling wall on Weblogs.Com at some point, probably at a human level before we hit it at a software or bandwidth level. When the list gets up to 1000 changes per hour no human being is going to have the time to scan through all those without some assistance from software. But aggregation and prefs will come to the rescue. We already know how to do it at a technical level. It's a bootstrap. By now people should get that about these science projects.
Anyway, per Mike's suggestion, here's who I voted for.
Phil Harrington voted for Evan Williams.
This is going to become a FAQ.
DRM stands for Digital Rights Management.
It's going to become as famous a concept as Y2K was.
You may not have heard much of it yet, but you will.
I don't know the beginnings of the term, but it came on my radar as a response to Napster, which was a totally anti-DRM system. It was so loose that there wasn't even the implication of trust of the user. The culture of Napster was use it and you don't have to pay for it. That was bad, imho. But the brutal DRM response is to try to make it technically very difficult if not impossible to use something without paying for it. That's not how software works, and the users know that, trying to stuff this genie back in the bottle, however attractive an option that may seem, is simply not going to work, it's only going to get the users to hate you, if you adopt the DRM philosophy.
DRM is a term that only a skilled PR person, or patent lawyer, or venture capitalist or accountant could love. It's complete spin. Technically it's the same thing as the much-reviled copy protection that pervaded the software industry in the 1980s, led by Lotus, and followed by practically everyone else. The users went on a holy jihad and won. It was this that inspired me to name my company "UserLand" when it was founded in 1988. Never again would I so align my interests against the interest of the users. Choosing this name forced me to remember the lesson I learned from copy protection.
I was reading yesterday on Jrobb's blog that Windows XP isn't selling very well relative to other blockbusters like Windows 95 and earlier releases. What a shame, because as a software developer who creates products for Windows, I want the users to move up to XP because it is a much better operating system than the old DOS-derived assembly language non-modern OSes that MS used to sell.
Then I caught myself. "Dave you don't run XP yourself, so how can you recommend it to your users?" I can't, not with a clear conscience. Maybe therein lies the problem for Microsoft. They don't really have anyone's support. And further, there are no killer apps floating around for XP. Now with all possible humility I think I have one in the pipe. Can't we work something out Microsoft? A win-win. I'd like to recommend XP. Can you take out the phone-home features, and just ship a no-nonsense OS that isn't all about DRM and doesn't crash and supports modern Internet apps. I support your wish to be paid for your software. I have the same wish. But you got us in a tough corner. How about easing up a bit?
Moral of the story -- blockbuster OSes are created by killer apps. Windows 95 was blockbuster because of MSIE and Outlook Express -- ie, the Internet. Going back earlier, Mac OS was a raging success because of MacWrite and MacPaint, and then Pagemaker and Excel. Windows 3.0 was a blockbuster because graphics apps are so much more powerful and easy to use than character-based apps. XP's beauty is invisible until some app comes along and makes it clear why a normal user should care about its beefy reliability. DRM is a negative sell, it's a reason not to upgrade, the opposite of a killer app, it's a douser app. I think the users sniffed this one out.
Stop the presses! Thanks to Daily Python-URL for digging up this article about XML-RPC on IBM DeveloperWorks. What a great story. He starts off saying in every way imaginable what a piece of expletive XML-RPC is. Then proceeds to say that this is the highest praise possible. Right on. It's true. We make shitty software. With bugs.
Mike Krus dropped a mind bomb on the Syndic8 list today, in response to a query from Tara Calishain about his changes.xml file. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to use this feed, but I'm sure I will. Once again Mike Krus, who's a nominee for Best Weblog Utility/Distraction, blows my mind. Then it gets even better. Dan Chan at Daypop is using Mike's feed for his headline search feature. Then Tara asks why Google doesn't tune in. They will when Daypop shows up on their radar.
How I edited the awards outline. "First, I opened up the outliner and created a file called awards.opml."
802.11b News: "Check back late on Wednesday night for the release of a major Wi-Fi-related story. The world of Wi-Fi service changes tomorow. Story tonight after newspapers hit the online stands."
Survey: Who will be Time's POTY for 2001?
I didn't know that the Xbox was a skunkworks project at MS.
A new file-writing bottleneck verb is coming later today for Frontier and Radio. For once all the platform-specifics are encapsulated in one verb. So over time we'll transition to the new verb, and eventually all our code will have all the options.
WickedIntellect.Com has a Flash interface for Blogger.
Opera for Macintosh: "The legendary speed of the Opera Web browser is now available on the Macintosh in two flavors: PPC and Carbon. Opera for Mac is not only fast, but flexible and easy to use, with a bright clean interface implemented according to the Apple Design Guidelines."
A List Apart: How to Read W3C Specs.
Microsoft: Windows Desktop Product Lifecycle Guidelines.
Amy Wohl: "I first took a bite out of the Apple in the late 1970’s, wending my way through the Hilton Anaheim’s parking garage, where the National Computer Conference had exiled those unruly, juvenile PC’s." Amy writes a great remembrance. I was in that parking garage in Anaheim, showing off my wares, I bet the strange-smelling smoke came from my pipe. Heh. Amy is cool, she was one of the mainframers who made the trek to see the future. Most were too cloistered to see that their world was unravelling.
Lance Knobel asks if anyone is listening. I am. Last night on NPR I heard a very eloquent Middle East scholar explain the Gulf War and why it got so many Muslims riled up. I was expecting to be angry about this -- no good deed goes unpunished eh, but he explained it so well that it got through my thick American skull. The story goes like this. They liked that we kicked Saddam out of Kuwait and protected Saudi Arabia from invasion by Iraq. What they don't like is understandable. We left him in power in Iraq, with helicopters and weapons, and encouraged the people of Iraq to revolt, and some of them did. He slaughtered them and we did nothing to help. In my own small way I can relate. This is how I feel about the US settlement with Microsoft. Now the slaughter will begin. The US attitude about the non-western world is indeed that they are uncivilized and that all we care about is if they have tyrants who are friendly to our government. Saddam's crime wasn't that he was a despot, it was that his despotism threatened the US. What I'm hearing is familiar, it's the voice of people who want respect.
In the rush of emotion after Sept 11, I decided to do something different -- I gave $100 to the Palestinian Red Crescent. It occurred to me that with the end-of-year gift-giving season in full swing, it might be a nice way for the people the US to do something nice for the people of the Middle East. I don't think the money flows to terrorists. It's just like the Red Cross in the west, they take care of people who need help. The first step to respect is to realize that these are real people, with hearts and brains, and like all people, it's hard for them to hate people who care for them. So I highly recommend doing this. I feel really good about it. I got my mom to give them $100 too. Now we joke about how the Bush Administration is going to round us up. I told her I thought it would be an honor to be rounded up for giving a small amount of money to help people who need help.
Jeff Barr has a story about backs, and advice for dealing with them when they get sick.
Steve Ballmer's comments about the Xbox have largely gone unnoticed, but there's a new platform brewing, and it's not just for games. An untapped vein in computer software is going to be explored in the next few years, I wrote about it in a DaveNet piece in 1995, Taking Candy Seriously. The surfaces that we use to express ourselves and communicate are long overdue for an overhaul. We've been digging the same hole for 20 years. What if productivity software were overlaid on something other than a spreadsheet or database-like grid? Microsoft is inching up to doing just that. And this time, they're not just in the software business, they're doing the hardware too.
By starting with games, Microsoft gets around the inconvenient traditions of the desktop software world, which is much more open than the gaming world, where the right to ship software is jealously guarded by the platform vendors. It's the perfect workaround for future antitrust problems. Just let the PC die and replace it with something that they fully control. Does Microsoft have the power to make the PC die? I don't know. They'll deny it's their intention, but the tea leaves say something different.
Kimbro Staken: "Mac OS X is the death of Linux on the desktop."
XML Cooktop: "While the commercial XML editors race to expand their ever-growing set of features, users suffer under the load of bloated applications that take too long to download, too long to start, and too long to comprehend. The developers of XML Cooktop struggle to keep features out of Cooktop so that it downloads in seconds, starts up fast every time, looks clean, and gets the job done."
Ad Critic: "We became so popular so fast that we couldn't stay afloat!"
Powazek: Successful companies encourage community.
Christian Riege is counting down to the Euro going live with a pic of a different country's Euro every day.
This is why I read CamWorld. He's an irascible fellow, for sure, and seems to have a "thing" for me, but when it comes to these kinds of subjects, he goes deep, and tells you what he knows. That's the blogging impulse, and definitely BOTY material, imho, fwiw, ianal, etc etc.
Rageboy: "If you don't want to play, Cam, well just piss off."
One of the nicest things about doing the awards is making a new friend.
BTW, for the record, John Robb is President and COO of UserLand, and works for me (I am the CEO). The opinions he expresses on his weblog are his own. I point to them for the same reason I point to anything else, because I think an informed person would want to consider his point of view. This philosophy is explained on the What Is Scripting News page.
OK, an update on my back. It's still out, but it's manageable. I have one of those herbal bags of whatever that you stick in the microwave for 10 minutes, and then put it around your neck, or in my case, under the butt at the small of the back. It delivers heat for an hour before you need to zing it again. It makes a back problem less of a problem. I also take huge doses of Vitamin C, and a little bit of Advil.
I thought I should give you an update after reading this on Brent's site: "Sometimes I wish that everyone on the net was at least 40 years old—or 60, better yet—so they were past that age of earnest self-righteousness. It’s boring and unattractive."
Brent is a few years younger than I. I can shed some light. As your body ages you learn in many ways that your shit does stink. It's a constant reminder. If you didn't have a sense of humor before, aging gives you one. What else can you do but laugh at the silly idea that what you think matters, even a bit. Ashes to ashes, and you know what to you know what. We're all headed for the dumpster, even the young folk, they just don't know it yet. That's worth a laugh too! Sorry, I didn't make the rules.
Richard Landry: "My back has been out for the last two weeks. I’m slowly recovering, doing very gentle yoga postures to keep the rest of me from stiffening up while my back heals, and avoiding anything that could re-injure it. Good luck. It’s no picnic." Amen!
Good morning ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it's time for the annual Scripting News Awards for 2001. These are the best weblogs this year in my humble opinion. Who will win? That's up to you!
Hewlett-Packard: "A new species of the personal Web page has emerged recently with dedicated hordes of devotees. This new beast is a blog, short for weblog. Blogs are essentially minimalist Web pages heavy on personal opinion, as well as a collection of links mirroring the blogger's recent Web travels." Now you know it's getting mainstream.
Brent Ashley: "I've been saying for ages that Linux will never be ready for prime time until I can take a bare machine, pop the disk in, and have it up and configured pretty well automatically, without partitioning, farting with X parameters, finding drivers, all that."
Dan Lyke says he may do his own award nominations, and I think that's a great idea. The process of thinking through what sites you value and why and then saying so publicly is a good one to go through. I learned a lot doing this.
BTW, the awards are #1 in the Daypop Top 40. First time I ever got a #1. Thanks!
BTW, today's Google search for "awards". You gotta know I'm going to be checking that again in a few days.
While the rest of the development team has been focused on Radio 7.1 and beyond, Brent has been kicking butt on Frontier and Manila. Lots of new features. For example, today Frontier got the ability to send a configuration email. This will be an invaluable tool for getting quick answers to server configuration problems.
Red Hat is using XML-RPC in a strategic way. That's cool.
Andre has a pic of a Euro.
Michael Fraase: Is spam killing email?
BTW, we found another brilliant kid, Jeremiah Rogers. This one groks outliners. When I got an email from him last week I thought what a smart person. I bet he's young. Then I see his pic on his blog and am blown away by how young he is.
There have been lots of great acceptance speeches today, but none more enthusiastic than the effusive Susan Kitchens. I found myself rooting for her, just reading her gush. A natural-born blogger if ever there was one.
Cam is pissed off that I nominated him for BOTY. Bummer.
To Brent, re Inessential, that is a corollary of Murphy's Law. It's close kin to the one that says that broken computers can often be repaired by taking them for a drive in the car.
Two years ago we were contemplating a new millennium. "It's like a graduation, but on a global scale. There's never been anything like it. It's never happened before, and in our lives it will never happen again. If you screw it up you won't get another chance. So play it safe and assume everyone means well, and let it go at that."
Wired: Madcap Maneuvers Halt MS Hearing.
Dan Mitchell reviews Apple's iPod.
I feel terrible about not nominating sites I love. An example, Daniel Berlinger's Archipelago. Daniel is such a sweet guy. I thought about it, but it's not one of my mainstays. Like he says, maybe next year. Same with Bump.
Then, there was the Best-Named-Blog category. I only had two entries there, and I didn't know either site well. Then Dori Smith posted a reminder, after I had finished, saying that I had once complimented her for having such a great name for her blog. Ouch. Backup Brain has become a regular read for me, and the name itself fades into the background. It's a two-personality blog, Dori writes it with her husband Tom Negrino. If there had been a best named blog category this year, no doubt BB should have been in it.
There are people who run weblogs, like Eric Soroos, who are expert scripters, but their sites don't cover scripting, or update too infrequently, to make it into the scripting weblogs category. Part of the criteria for choosing a site is frequency of updating, and the expectation of continued updates. It's entirely subjective. And so far no flames, thank you, my fragile condition may be getting me some sympathy, if so, that's cool. And I'm sure that lurking in the shadows are some sites I'm going to kick myself for not honoring. I'll use Scripting News, my bully pulpit, to make up for that.
Today is a special day not just because of the opening of the awards site but also because My Back Is Out. This happens every few years. I'm like a cripple. Walking is very slow and painful. Bending down to pick something up an impossibility. Yet here I am contemplating a day of work, hoping I don't start coughing (I have a lingering cold) or laughing too hard. Oh the fragile human condition. And the spam flood continues in force. 180 messages this morning, almost all of it offering things I have no interest in. Sympathy is appreciated, solutions not.
BTW, to Cam, who is one of the nominees for Blogger Of The Year, we think of email in different ways. I want my readers to be able to send me email. Hiding my email address would make that impossible. I'll put up with the spam. There is no alternative other than to stop using email altogether.
Wes wins the award for being the first to spot the award site. His site, Hack The Planet, is nominated for Best Technology Weblog of 2001, along with 802.11b Networking News, AppleSurf, Bluetooth, ICANN, Living Without Microsoft and Segway News.
I wrote a new distributed app to do the awards yesterday, and put a bunch of time into nominations, and tweaked the categories. I decided to stay positive and eliminated the Demon of the Year category even though it was my favorite. Here are the final categories. Best Technology Weblog, EditThisPage.Com Pioneers, Gone But Not Forgotten, Best Scripting Weblog, Best Weblog Utility/Distraction, and Blogger Of The Year. The largest category is the last, with 15 nominees. They are all blogs that I consider interesting and worth recommending, esp the BOTY category.
I wish I could nominate sites done by UserLand people, if so I would have nominated Brent's Mac Scripting blog in the scripting category, and I would have started a Rookie of the Year category with John Robb and Scoble as nominees. Without a doubt Tomalak would have been nominated for Best Technology Weblog. Let this paragraph express my appreciation to my teammates at UserLand who are pioneering new forms of blogging.
The voting system is pretty good but not totally spamproof. I'm not going to reveal the algorithm, but it's not dependent on cookies, or UserLand.Com membership. It will be a simple page, rendered in the Scripting News template. Murphy-willing, voting will start tomorrow and go through early January. Sometime in early-mid January we will announce the winners, with much fanfare and adulation.
Cliff Baeseman: "Well the weather here in Central Wisconsin has been sucking for the last few days. So what else could I do but churn up about 4000 lines of code to create a new VB XML-RPC client that well frankly does not suck."
NY Times: "[Turner] became known as the 'mouth of the South.' He has had to apologize for calling opponents of abortion 'bozos' and Christianity 'a religion for losers.'"
What's going on? Anyone got anything interesting to say??
I have something to admit. I've been having fun writing docs. Have I lost my mind? I probably need some help. Anyone know a good psychiatrist. I'm supposed to be hating this. Help me. Humor me. Read my docs.
I'll try to remember to read the Hailstorm schema later in the month, or perhaps sometime next year. I'd love to see some kind of disclaimer, saying what we can use these for. I'd hate to find out later that Microsoft has a patent on this stuff. Hey I bet they do.
Robert Barksdale is the kind of beta tester you want to have on board. His usernum is 1164. That's going to be a badge of honor someday.
A list of weblogs that have pointed to BookNotes.
Lawrence blogs JD blogging Google Catalogs.
News.Com: Microsoft rushes to close security hole.
Steve Brecher: "IIRC you have the same version as I do on a machine on which I installed beta 2 of .NET. It's a beta of IE6 which patchers don't recognize. You can install the release of IE6, but I think you have to uninstall the IE6 beta first, which should (in theory) reinstall IE 5.5. I say 'in theory' because I haven't done it myself as yet."
Here's something really boring. Some spammer is using my email address as the return address on a lot of spam. Result? Thousands of bounces coming back at me, interspersed with spam directed at me. Is email dying?
The Radio UserLand 7.1 release will happen just after the holidays, in early January. The software is getting quite solid. There's much more work to do on the docs, both on the Web and the words baked into the product, and we're also getting a good process for fixes and new features, so we'll use the time over the holidays to get all that going, and maybe even get a few days off here and there. It's been a long push, starting in April. We'll ship in January.
This is the first release of Radio that's commercial. Everyone wants to know the price. I can't say now exactly what the price is, but it's under $100. Thirty day free trial. Like any point-one release, the functionality isn't dramatically different from 7.0. Its purpose is weblog writing and RSS-based news reading. But when you lift the hood on 7.1, it's a different CMS, one that's suited for hobbyists and technical end-users. It's got an easy ramp, and builds on knowledge people have about other dynamic Web servers, such as PHP and ASP, but goes a lot further because it's a CMS. The point in the underpinnings of 7.1 is power and accessibility. That's why we're making the investment in developer docs. We want a lot of people to do development in 7.1.
Of course, you want to know what OSes it runs on. All flavors of Windows, but since it's a server, it works a lot better on the modern Windows OSes -- Windows 2000 and Windows XP. It also runs on the classic version of Macintosh OS, but as with Windows, you'll like it better if you use Mac OS X. It will ship as a native Mac OS X app.
Bottom-line: A lot of people are ready to run a Web server on their desktop. Unlike other servers, this one comes with some great user-level apps pre-installed. Software that pushes the envelope on what the Web can do, not demo apps, or mere Hello Worlds, but software that's worth using. And unlike the other Web servers, this one has a fast CMS baked in. Mature code, debugged, it works, it's not a science experiment, it's technology you can use to create fantastic new applications for the Internet. And it's all built on open standards, no lock-in, connect to everything, and there's a lot more coming from where all this came from.
So with that preramble, here's my work-in-progress, Radio UserLand for Developers. Dig we must!
I want to make sure people don't miss the news about Radio 7.1, so I'm organizing today's links in this section.
Amazingly the HTD thread is still running on HTP.
In my own defense, I never said I was a saint.
Dan Gillmor: "Open source looks better and better to me all the time." Lotsa luck.
Zeldman: "It’s odd how much press this non–event is getting." That occurred to me too.
From Julian Bond, a pointer to the change notes for PHP 4.1.0. A very brief note on the page bodes well for XML-RPC. "Bundled Dan Libby's xmlrpc-epi extension." This is good news.
Wes: "As much as I like O'Reilly I'm not going to buy one of their books just to fix a possible misconfiguration on Red Hat's part."
For some reason April is the month that we start digging big holes, and January is the month we ship the results. It's not always exact. Manila was hatched in April and shipped in December. Frontier 5, the first cross-platform version, shipped in January. Maybe it's our old Mac habits dying hard. MacWorld Expo, the big one (not the summer one) happens in January, usually right after the holidays. This meant that Mac developers always had to work through the holidays. A bit of history on a Friday morning.
Now a bit of Friday-morning philosophy. Imagine talking with a neighbor and saying "Why don't you be a good neighbor and ask your kids to play on the other side of my house at 6AM on a Sunday morning, you know, the side where the bedroom isn't." Now if your neighbor is a prick, he focuses on the "good neighbor" bit and says "I am a good neighbor." This does not compute. Like the employee who says he has a good attitude when you say he has a bad one. You just proved my point dude.
Pictures from the French bloggers dinner, 22 novembre. They look like nice people!
John Gilmore: "In 20-30 years there may well be technologies that could notice what we think, and/or control it."
JD Lasica: "I don't know that John Walker, the local Marin boy gone wack-job who made the cover of this week's Newsweek, deserves to be tried for treason and executed.."
Amy Wohl asks "How often do you fly?"
Blogdex has an interesting Social Network Explorer feature.
Glenn Fleishman went surfing through Google's archives of Usenet and found posts from Jon Postel in 1981.
NY Times: "Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voiced deep skepticism today about the Bush administration's proposed settlement of the antitrust case against Microsoft, as the company denounced the list of tougher penalties being sought by nine states as 'radical and punitive.'"
Nice. My Segway piece is on the first page on Google. This is incestuous of course, by linking to it here, I'm helping it move up the chart. And it's even worse than it appears. At the Segway event on Monday I was standing next to Larry Page, one of the Google founders, and I complimented him. I said Google is cool because it doesn't keep you there. It's like the Web, its purpose is to send you away, knowing that if it does that well, you'll come back of your own free will. That's why Google works so well. Then I told him that I had the #2 link for John Doerr on Google (Doerr is Google's VC). That got his attention. I said "Google likes me." He looked at my badge. I think perhaps for the first time he actually listened to something I said. Heh. I'm learning.
MSNBC: Sprint cuts off Conxion. Nice to see the shoe on the other foot. I remember well how Conxion made us scramble when their service went to hell. A company with great values, as long as the news is good. Now they get to scramble for their corporate life.
After listening to the NPR Fresh Air report on weblogs, which seemed to miss every point possible as the commentator tried to figure out what the bloggers are doing -- I'd like to offer my own opinion. We're experimenting and innovating.
The Big Press response to the Web is much like Compuserve's reaction to users of their online network in the early 80s. I have a clue about this because my brother worked at Compuserve while I was a user of their CB Radio network. He told me that they called us The Lonelyhearts Club. Heh.
In fact we were exploring a new technology that would eventually become as big as any other software category -- Chat or Instant Messaging. Doc Searls is exploring this phenomenon on a daily basis on his weblog. Instead of taking offense or being frustrated by their disrespect, know that what they're doing is erecting blinders so they don't have to look over here. That doesn't mean that their blinders are true or real, or that even that they have good intentions and can be convinced to see the light.
I love The West Wing. What a show. What was Josh hatching up that didn't work that he didn't tell the President about? Chief of Staff Leo McGarry is a boozer, and vulnerable, but tough as nails. It was so cool the way he leaned over to his counsel, while testifying in the House, and asked her out. It was also cool the way he told the Congressman who didn't show enough respect to fuck off. It's great that on The West Wing the good guys prevail, even among the Republicans. I love living in that fantasy for one hour a week.
A new first-time-in-a-UserLand CMS feature: sub-templates.
Radio 7.1's CMS is new in a lot of ways. It's a CMS where the content lives in the file system. Yes, it all flows through the object database on its way onto the public Internet, but that's invisible to the user. (Not to developers, of course.) People who were around in the early CMS days, Frontier 4.2.3, will recognize the new CMS as the continuation of the BBSite suite, which gave BBEdit users a modest CMS in the file system. The difference is a few years. In those years our understanding of content management increased, and (don't overlook this) Moore's Law has been raging, and things that were formerly unthinkable are now fast.
One of the big benefits of doing it all in the file system is that users have total choice of tools. Everything from Notepad to Dreamweaver, you name it, as long as it can produce a text file, an HTML file or an OPML file, we can deal with it. It's been interesting to watch the debate over file extensions rage in Mac-land. We've drunk the Kool Aid. The extensions route the files through the rendering process. Lots of cross-platform cross-tools connections, achieved entirely through architecture, not brute force. It's a clean CMS that people who program in PHP and ASP will instantly grok.
Wes reports on Microsoft's new patent for a DRM-operating system. Patents and DRM go together, of course.
Jeremy Reichman: I Like the Dock.
Today I'm documenting the driver architecture for upstreaming in Radio UserLand 7.1.
Lawrence: "Google has added a 'Fresh!' label with the date the page was indexed."
By FedEx I got a free copy of Windows XP from Waggoner-Edstrom. It's tempting. Heh. Now if they had a reviewer's guide for people who want to not use Hailstorm (or whatever they call it today) I'll review it on that basis, otherwise it's going into the trunk of my car, as a symbolic gesture.
This just in from the "No good deed goes unpunished" dept.
Last night while watching 24 on Fox, I figured out how to fix a bug that had been vexing me. Here's the note I posted on our workgroup. "I just found the bug in radio.thread.script. On average it's looping three times every ten seconds. It's been doing this for months. Look at your performance monitor graph, after this change it will be 3 times faster at doing its housekeeping." As a programmer you live for moments when you find a bug that makes your code 3 times slower than it should be.
Here's a song I woke up singing. It's an old summer camp song from my youth. The kids used to sing this song in huge numbers. I never knew what it meant, but it sure was fun to sing with all those other kiddies. "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. That's my name too. Whenever we go out, the people always shout -- 'There goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.' La la la la la la la la la."
Usually the NY Times has excellent writing. Sometimes they don't. What a galoot! Has Gelertner come up any new ideas? (He's good at promoting them). "Software patents are the one weapon that penniless inventors and small companies wield against the Tyrannosaurus rexes that dominate the industry." Statements like that warrant a fact-check. Usually its the "rexes" that file the patents.
No doubt we'll be hearing claims from Gelertner that he invented stuff that had already been invented (like calendars, for example). The NY Times coddles these kinds of idiots, I have a theory why they do that. It makes them feel good. You know the old A people hire A people and B people hire C people thing.
Sorry when I get into programming mode I get pretty arrogant. Gelertner is a fool. The Times ran that story. OK.
Google: 20 Year Usenet Archive.
NPR's Fresh Air has a story about Weblogs. Real Audio.
Busy with programming this morning. I took my notes in public on DHRB. They probably will only make sense to a handful of people, but I use colorful language and metaphors so you may find it interesting anyway.
Amy Wohl: "Dean Kamens, its very smart inventor is falling into a trap inventors often fall into. He sees his baby in terms of how current tools solve current problems."
More mail about Segway, really interesting stuff.
DaveNet: Dave Winer on a Segway.
First Monday on the Web's coverage of Sept 11.
A mail page for comments and questions on Segway and other topics.
USA Today: "Christopher Locke may think big business is clueless, but he doesn't think it is hopeless."
Masukomi: "By not supporting XML or any similar means of communicating with other apps they have created their own little Galapagos. Yeah, they're the kings, but it's a damn small kingdome and its species aren't well suited to the environmental change."
I'm listening to a report on NPR about the fantastic networks of caves that Uncle Osama and his colleagues have in the mountains of Afghanistan. They're very clever. Angled entrances, miles of tunnels, etc etc. Hard to bomb. Heh. I guess they got us. But wait a minute. Here's an idea. First we make an announcement. "Terrorists come out now with your hands up, or else we'll drop a dirty bombs all around your nice cave complex." Of course once we drop the dirty bombs, they won't be able to come out without getting really sick. If we've got the bad guys isolated like that, why show any mercy? Maybe I'm missing something.
Lots of network outages today. My line was down for about an hour. Jake can't connect to our workgroup server. Brent is having trouble reaching Digital Forest. Users are reporting they can't get to their websites. Not sure what's going on.
DHRB: "I used WebEdit to check it out, thinking I was protected. I was not."
Jeff Kandt: "I hate the dock."
Doc: The Dangerfield Syndrome.
On this day four years ago Frontier officially went cross-platform. Four years. Arrrgh.
Today's probably going to be a 'lite' day on Scripting News. Programming work this morning, then I have to pay my property taxes this afternoon (right on the deadline of course), and then get ready for the Segway demo this evening.
Dale Pike answered my call for graphics for the awards I want to bestow on the great weblogs of 2001. He would have the award be called The Golden Cactus. I like it. Nice. Other ideas and graphics are welcome, here in graphics-impaired-land.
Adam Curry's house in Amsterdam is for sale. It's a nice place, on a canal, very luxurious.
Good morning programmers and designers.
Glenn Fleishman: "The courts are our only defense against executive power that runs amok."
Interesting discussion of filesystem-level metadata and Mac OS X. In a cross-platform environment there really is no choice but to indicate file type and creator using the file's extension. The Mac did it right in the beginning, and stored the file type and creator in the file system and filenames were entirely up to the user. But the rest of the world wasn't so hip. If I were making the call at Apple I'd do what they did, punt on the feature, say uncle to Windows and Unix. But some Mac users aren't going along with it.
Adam Curry's mind is going amok about email.
NY Times: The Year in Ideas. No permalink?
Word of the day: Investigate. "To observe or inquire into in detail; examine systematically."
Wired: "At the heart of Segway's detection system are solid-state, silicon gyroscopes that are about the size of the tip of a pencil."
It almost goes without saying that I think Joel is indulging in premature congratulation. A little pushback from a friendly competitor. If Joel doesn't support XML, his users are going to suffer at least a little lock-in. Not everyone in Silicon Valley eats at Buck's and attends Stanford seminars. And Joel, some people do like editing Web pages in the browser. It's very convenient and easy. Software design is about trade-offs, lots of compromises, hope you find a sweet spot. I've said it many times -- editing in the browser is the best way to do it, and the worst way. But editing in another app has difficulties too. Wouldn't it be great if the browser vendors took editing seriously? That would be the best of both worlds.
The race is on for the heart of Segway on Google. Paul Nakada's Segway News is #3. It's surprising that the #1 link isn't related to the scooter. I suspect that will change. I'm rooting for Paul's site, so I linked to it to the left. Google thinks one of those links is worth a lot. Even though Paul's site is new I think he'll stick with it, he's a longtime blogger, and a friend of UserLand. Go Paul!
I've started my 2001 awards list. It's coming together nicely. I expect to spend a few more days and then announce the nominees. Now there are nine categories. I'm sure there will be some arguments about who's in which category. Oh la. I'm having fun with it. Questions. When should we open voting? How long should the voting stay open? And if you didn't get nominated in 2001, there's always 2002.
My favorite category so far is "Demon of the Year." Microsoft of course is nominated, for Smart Tags, as is Amazon for patent abuse. The US Department of Justice is nominated twice, once for their settlement with Microsoft, and a special call-out to Attorney General John Ashcroft for undermining free speech. Luckily for me, Scripting News will not be nominated in any category, so I can't self-nominate for Demon of 2001.
"It's even worse than it appears."
As I've put together the list I've also taken some notes on what makes a weblog award-winning, imho. Here are those notes.
Sites must update regularly without huge lapses.
Some longevity, or an expectation of longevity. I don't want to recommend sites that I think might go away soon.
They're sites I find interesting. No claim of an exhaustive search is made.
What makes a site interesting for me is that they have interesting links, the author has something to say, I get a sweaty mouse finger when I see that they've updated, and it doesn't seem to matter if I like them or not. "It hurts so good." I'm going to nominate some people who aren't friends. Let's see if they win.
BTW, the awards don't have a name yet. The Bloggies? Scripting News Awards. Hmmm. Have to give this some thought. We also need to have a virtual trophy for people to put on their sites (if they choose to -- I would). I'm graphics-impaired. Help is appreciated, with credit of course.
Siva Vaidhyanathan: Software Is Free Speech.
Hey, I've been invited to a demo of Segway on Monday night. Should be interesting. What questions should I ask?
Scoble's got some questions.
El Pais: "Los 'weblogs' son listas de enlaces, comentados por una o varias personas, en cuyo criterio confía la audiencia y que actúan como filtro del 'ruido' de Internet. También hay diarios personales."
Seth Dillingham: "Please don't make me explain that again."
I'm not sure I want to see what shows up at this site.
Reuters: "State attorneys general pressing the antitrust case against Microsoft on Friday asked a judge to order the company to offer a cheaper, stripped-down version of its Windows operating system.. The stripped-down version of Windows would come without Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, as well as its e-mail and media player software."
News.Com: States get tough in Microsoft case. "..requiring Microsoft to ship a stripped-down version of Windows; compelling the software giant to ship Java with Windows XP; replacing a three-person oversight committee with a special master; requiring Microsoft to continue offering Office for the Macintosh beyond the August expiration of an existing deal; and requiring Microsoft to develop a version of Office for Linux."
The full text of the proposed settlement. PDF.
My comments on the proposed settlement.
LA Times: "Disposable cell phones can be purchased and used anonymously."
Rafe Colburn: "How dare he attempt to make people feel ashamed for criticizing the government."
802.11b News: "The mainstream media is treating Wi-Fi the way the Internet was treated originally. The technical details coupled with scattered widespread and disparate methods of adoption and deployment lead to articles that try to exemplify a trend, but only illuminate a tiny aspect of it."
I'm getting the best mail I've ever gotten. The most poignant comment -- Bush should fire Ashcroft for saying what he said yesterday. I agree. What gives me the goosebumps is to find out that I am not alone. That we've stayed silent for so long on this is indication, I think, of how scared we are.
Two years ago today, pictures from the Seattle WTO meeting. A warning, it can happen here.
Yesterday I mentioned the unmentionable. Then I watched Ashcroft's testimony at the Senate, and heard him say that this kind of talk is unpatriotic and that it undermines their efforts to make the US safe.
Their pitch is basically this -- give us a blank check with freedom, and trust us to do the right thing, and keep your mouth shut or be labeled a traitor. Well, I don't trust them. Perhaps if he had paid some lip service to the value of freedom, I might have some doubt about it. Or if they were clamping down on sales of semi-automatic weapons at US gun shows. But he did the opposite, no lip service, and no gun controls.
How long before there are military tribunals for US citizens to keep them from criticizing the Bush Administration or gun advocates. Hey it chilled me to see Kennedy, Leahy and Feingold tiptoeing around the big question. Why should we trust you, Ashcroft? What do you stand for?
Further, they have said it over and over -- they can't make the US safe, and I agree. This is an open and vulnerable country. So we have the worst possible situation. We know that we can be hit, and probably will be hit again. And at the same time, all that's worth preserving in this country is being thrown away.
I know I keep saying this, but my grandfather, who ran from the Nazis, warned me about this when I was a kid, and I will keep passing on what he told me. It's at this point that we can do something. Later there won't be anything we can do.
The US is a special place, despite what the detractors say. Some of us will have to die to keep it special. Keep things in perspective. A few thousand people died on Sept 11. Why are those deaths more valuable than all the people who died to make the US a free country?
I gave this a lot of thought -- and will give it more. What you do depends on whether you think Bush and his people are trustworthy. Look in your heart and find the answer for yourself. I can't tell you what to think. But I can tell you this. A few thousand people read Scripting News yesterday, and no one flamed me for comparing Sept 11 to the burning of the Reichstag.
Jon Udell: The Event-Driven Internet.
PerryPack is working on XML-RPC for .NET.
Bug reports should have three parts. 1. Here's what I did. 2. This is what I expected to happen. 3. This is what actually happened. For extra credit, if it's a public Web app, provide a URL. It also couldn't hurt to say what version of the software you're using, what OS, and other things that might make your installation different from others.
Dan Mitchell asks a question that came up on yesterday's radio show. Microsoft's software can cost more than the computers that it runs on. Customers don't know what to make of this.
I'm glad that Paul Andrews is blogging again.
Joshua Allen: "Peter Blake, two time Americas Cup winner, was blogging in the Amazon when he was killed by pirates today."
Being in "shipping mode" since October, I'm starting to think about taking a trip to let my team take full responsibility for Radio 7.1. My friend Lance Knobel calls this "Management by being away." It's getting to be time. Anyway of course I was thinking of hopping over the pond to visit Europe, my favorite tourist destination, but reading Adam Curry's blog reminds me that the beginning of this year may not be the best time to go to Europe. Can you imagine what it will be like in Italy?
Every time there's a speed bump, it takes a while to factor it into your thinking. Recently I changed the way I use my personal Web server, and now instead of having 20 or so files in the www folder, I now have 594 files. No surprise, I guess, the upstreamer (a thread that moves new or changed files "up" to the community server for public access) started running much more slowly. So I started thinking of ways to get fewer files in the folder.
Just for the hell of it I wrote a bare-bones scanner to see how many cycles the scanner itself was taking. Here's the punchline. Sit down before reading this. To count the files took about 4/60ths of a second. Then, when I added a real burden to the scanner, checking the mod date of each file against a value in the object database (this emulates the real upstream scanner) it went up to 11/60ths of a second. That's is so much faster than I thought it would be. I was blown away.
So the slowness is somewhere else. (That's good news.) But my memory of performance of older machines said that scanning a deeply nested folder structure is expensive. In 2001, on consumer hardware, emphatically, it is not.
BTW, when I wrote this, initially, I mistakenly said I was embracing Murphy's Law, not Moore's. A little programmer humor.
Sylvia writes to ask why I like The West Wing.
Scene from last night's show. Everyone's in the White House movie theater. One of the aids says "Something's not right, the man's not talking, he always talks during the movie."
Later, when everything's right, the president sits down next to his daughter and starts teasing her. "Shhh," she says, "there's a movie on." To which he says "I don't think anyone's going to tell me to shut up."
I find this satisfying. As an alpha male, in a society that thinks we're the problem, it's nice to see another alpha male gain total acceptance in his alpha-ness.
Listening to the report on Ashcroft's testimony earlier today, on NPR. "It's wartime," they say over and over. No one mentions that there has been no declaration of war. What is going on with Congress.
Immediately after Sept 11, people compared it to Pearl Harbor. I've heard it compared, later, to the Cuban Missle Crisis. Now let's see how it measures up against the burning of the Reichstag.
Soren Swigart: "Hitler was asked by a corespondent of the Daily Express whether the suspension of liberties was permanent. He answered in the negative saying that full rights would be restored as soon as the Communist danger was over."
In late September I did an interview with the editors of XML Magazine. I was in a boisterous mood and they encouraged me. This is primetime Dave, full of ideas and vigor and guns blazing. My favorite soundbite. "You know, big companies tend not to see the little guys. But the Web was created by little guys."
Tonight I'm going to be on Jesse Berst's radio show for 45 minutes starting at 8PM Pacific, debating with some Ayn Rand guy and Jesse about the true nature of Microsoft. It's a syndicated radio show and is also webcast.
Why don't they leave Pee Wee alone!
Scoble: "Oh, OK, I won't tell you where I'm typing from now. Heheh."
We've been tracking the number of pings coming from each of the three sources since the Weblogs.Com corner-turn, and here are the results so far -- XML-RPC: 87,926; SOAP: 1955; HTTP-GET: 38,086.
Charles Leadbeater: "Participation websites will be part of the next stage of the internet's evolution. Destination websites are in danger of becoming the seaside piers of the information age: vast, beautiful and elaborate constructions, condemned to a brief life."
WBUR: Al Jazeera headlines in English. "We do not verify the accuracy of these stories; this is merely what Al Jazeera is reporting; reports updated approximately 8PM."
News.Com: "AOL Time Warner has joined a coalition of technology companies creating a common online registration and identity system to counter Microsoft's ambitions with its Passport service, an AOL spokesman confirmed Tuesday."
Survey: "Do you think we should do awards this year?"
Note: I was thinking we'd start with just a few categories this year, all of them about weblogs. The best-named weblog is one we're already getting into. Other ways of looking at it -- the best news-oriented weblog (Tomalak being the prototype). The best celebrity weblog (Wil Wheaton, Adam Curry, Dru Paul). And then the personality categories -- the best nebbish (look it up), pundit, journalist, chick. The best weblog done by an educator. The best weblog done by a child. This is really getting interesting!
Adam Curry owns diaries.com, great domain, and has opened it up for free Manila hosting.
Karlin Lillington on Lawrence Lessig. "He was polite but quietly furious."
Steve Waring writes that he has been working on an xmlStorageSystem clone. That's cool!
James Kobielus on Segway: "They've invented a vehicle that's powered by sheer hype. Maybe it's a useful innovation, and good for the environment and all that, but it has arrived in a cloud of noxious PR fumes."
Hey I'm blogging while I'm on hold waiting for the show to start. Is Microsoft bad for the economy? Hmm. I don't know. I guess the other guy says they're not bad for the economy. I think if Microsoft weren't such a mean monopoly that would be good for the economy. Does that mean Microsoft is bad for the economy? I have trouble getting up for that. We'll see how it goes. I'm a little nervous. Are you all listening? Send me an email! I want some Testosterol! "I don't give a rat's butt about flattering your ego." How am I doing? We're doing a four minute break. We're back on the air now. This is a frustrating way to have a conversation. All these friggin commercials. Jrobb: "Also, the computer industry is too important to hand it over to a single monopolistic corporation." More commercials. What would I say to Congress? Well that's over. I had fun. Ended on a positive note. I know I interrupted too much. Oh well. Sue me. Time to watch The West Wing.
Email attatchments -- never open them. Bad for the health of your computer, bad for the health of the Internet, and a vestige of the computing model of the 1980s.
I never open email attachments unless I can see the extension and it's txt, gif or jpg, and even then, only rarely. I'm a computer expert, so I kind of know what I'm doing, but I tell my friends and loved ones who are not computer experts never to open them, and I think the point is beginning to sink in.
Now, as a software designer, this is an intriguing puzzle. What are people really doing when they send an attachment? Has anyone accumulated statistics on what types of documents are most frequently attached to email messages?
Email is getting more and more useless. Soon it will be time for the next thing after email. What is it?
Wes Felter: "What's after attachments may be personal Web servers like IBM's uServ (recently mentioned on decentralization). Of course, Radio is a pioneer in this area."
John Sumser: "In your essay about bootstrapping, you talk about the layering effect that happens over time. What you don't mention is the fact that the technical team gets so focused on the accomplishment of the current layer that they simply can not see the next one while construction is underway. My sense is that you are completing a layer and are starting the search for the next one."
For no special reason I told myself the story of my old cat yesterday on my daily walk. Living in NY in 1976, I decided I wanted a cat. So I looked in some NY newspaper, probably the Voice, and called a few classifieds, and ended up in an apartment in Manhattan, a small one, with hundreds of cats, and a woman who kept all these cats. I sat on the couch and she brought me cats and I checked them out. She pointed one out and said "This is the most amazing cat, look at how she's taking care of this other sick cat." I watched, and yes indeed, there was a sickly cat, being pestered by other cats, and the little cat was fending them off. "I'll take that one," I said. I named her Nurse, because that's what she was doing.
Later that year I moved to Wisconsin and Nurse came on a mid-winter plane flight a few days after I found a room in a house. Something about the trip really freaked Nurse out, and she never was the same. She got a hard edge, but she still was the most amazing cat. She'd go on walks with you, like a dog, and she had a litter of kittens, and she killed birds by the bushel. Then I ended up in a house that didn't allow pets, and it was time to put her up for adoption. A farmer from rural Wisconsin took her, he needed a mouser to live in his barn. I was sad to see her go, but I'll bet she was a great mouser.
Anyway, that was a long time ago, and cats don't live that long. By now Nurse must be gone, but I'll remember her spirit as long as I live. What a great cat!
Good morning Segway users!
Brandon Watson: "Can you get some discussion going on the gone.scr mail that is running around the Internet. We don't know what it does over here since no one opened it, but it would be good to know."
Josh Lucas: "Jericho is a Java-based weblogging tool which interfaces with the Blogger and Manila XML-RPC interface."
Happy Birthday to EditThisPage.Com! It's 2 today.
BTW, I'm starting to assemble the Thanks To list for Radio 7.1. At the top of the list will be a surprise, perhaps. A hearty thank you to Cobalt for showing me that browser-based user interfaces are optimized for user convenience. How's that for a string of smarmy buzzwords!
BTW, I finally was able to stump Dictionary.Com in the following bit. They don't have kvell. But they do have smarmy.
Before the Sept 11 attack I got a review copy of Steve Lohr's book about programming history. It sat on the night table until last night when I read a couple of chapters and skimmed the rest. Lohr is a reporter for the NY Times. The book is more popular watered-down lies about the history of software. I read the chapter on Unix. The Unix developers were my heroes when I was in grad school at UW-Madison in the mid-late 70s. I took their philosophy with me to CP/M, then the Apple II, then the IBM PC, then Macintosh, then the Web. Along the road I met many others who had adopted the lightweight do-it-then-use-it attitude of Unix. Lohr says that their philosophy resurfaced in the "open source movement" in the 90s. What a bunch of hooey. I hope that lie doesn't stick. Unix was far more influential.
Hey it turns out that the ICANN blog has been running for almost a year. I found it through weblogs.com which is turning into the meeting place for blogging excellence on the Internet. Couldn't be more pleased. The proprietor, Bret Fausett, wants to create a non-profit to manage a new Top-Level Domain called .blog. I don't really like the idea of new TLD's, but if there were going to be any new ones, this is the one I'd go for. (I don't like them because new land grabs are a waste of energy. We're just starting to get back to work after the mania.) Much more important is the idea that you can blog something like ICANN. This is how we make the Internet work. Commit your time to improving something you care about.
Patrick Logan: Dynamic Languages.
Another good example of passion in the blogging world is Kevin Werbach's campaign for open spectrum. It's great to see him get evangelical. I'm going to write something about open spectrum myself. It's an interesting idea. I didn't know about it until I read Kevin's piece.
Note to Glenn Fleishman, we are getting close. Very soon. Sorry for the outage. 7.1 runs native on Mac OS X.
Progress report on my cold. My nose is running like an open faucet. My spirits are very high, in a good mood. Sneezing and wheezing. Whatever.
Got a note from someone at IBM saying they had done performance testing on wire protocols and found that RMI was 1000 times faster than SOAP. Of course this is meaningless. You have to measure performance in the context of deployed apps and their scaling profile. How much of your time is spent serializing and deserializing RPC's? As you approach a scaling wall, optimize.
The problem with RMI is that it only gets you to Java. If that's where you want to go today, go for it. Our servers run zero percent Java. If Sun really had the answer, they should have blasted RMI toolkits into every development environment known to man. But they didn't do it. C'est la vie, and quit bitching about it.
Isn't it funny that way back then Sun was telling the rest of us to get out of the box. The subtext was "get into ours." Heh. BTW, this was the bond that tied us to MS when we did the initial work on SOAP in 1998. We all hated what Sun was trying to do to developers. It's a different world now.
Of course MS's pitch to developers today, lame as it is, is almost equivalent to Sun's old pitch. Moral of the story, the bad guys won inside MS. For now.
DaveNet: John Doerr on a Segway.
Bret Fausett is blogging ICANN.
NY Times on Segway, formerly known as Ginger, or It.
Paul Nakada started a Segway blog. That was quick!
Paul Andrews: "Maybe it should have been named the Segway.Com."
Judith Burton: "I suddenly realize how very dependent I am on electricity."
A list of the mappings for the icons. If you see your weblog in this list, if the URL has changed, please drop me a note and I'll update the database. At some point I'll check the URLs and de-assign the icons of sites that no longer exist making room for some new ones.
Little-known fact. When you search for John Doerr on Google, my first DaveNet piece is on the first page of hits. Today we don't show up at all in this search. And the race is on for this search term.
DotGnu: "GNUe, DotGNU, GNU Groupware Standards, and phpGroupWare will favor XML-RPC over other RPC protocols whenever possible. SOAP is the second choice if XML-RPC is impossible for some reason."
Reading it more carefully I see they're looking for a way to abstract the differences between SOAP and XML-RPC. We've already done that with the Frontier verb called xml.rpc. It's a little more complicated than the lower-level routines it covers, but you get a choice of protocol at runtime. In our environment, the high level code doesn't know whether it's calling a SOAP or XML-RPC routine.
This was the cap on the work we did with A Busy Developer's Guide to SOAP 1.1 (aka the BDG) in April 2001.
Anyone is welcome to clone this interface in other environments, or use it for inspiration for something even cooler.
Following up on yesterday's discussion about clones of NBC's hit show The West Wing, how long would it be before one of the actors ran for President? And if one did, wouldn't the others have to follow suit?
Perhaps this is the ultimate efficiency. Instead of actors having to raise huge amounts of money to buy commercials on the major networks, actors could just be employees of the networks. Then we'd have some insight into the character of our elected officials, we could watch them on TV discussing the issues of the day.
Now then would the capital of the US move to Hollywood? And what about Congress? And would the two major political parties wither and die, to be replaced by NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, AOL, etc? Who would you vote for? (I already know who Jrobb would vote for.)
Larry Magid: "Why not just ride a real bicycle? It goes just as fast (faster if you want it to), it's cheaper and it burns calories and strengthens your heart. I think the biggest problem with Kamen's device is where people will ride it. You could probably use it around here on the streets or the sidewalk but in cities like NYC, they'll need to build lanes for it cause neither the street nor the sidewalk would be appropriate."
Magid is a columnist for the LA Times.
Microsoft sent an offer to get $800 off Visual Studio .NET so I can build powerful Web services applications using SOAP. Now be forewarned, a commercial message follows.
Why would you pay Microsoft all that money, when you could buy a year's subscription to Frontier, and get XML-RPC support along with SOAP, for a mere $899 per year, and when the subscription expires, you can keep using it. (It also has a full content management system baked in, and it's a 13 year codebase so it probably runs with a little more stability than Microsoft's new codebase.)
Scoble reminds me to tell you that Frontier is shipping right now and Visual Studio .NET isn't expected until early next year. That's an important point. Sometimes software slips. Even Microsoft's.
Time: "Developed at a cost of more than $100 million, Kamen's vehicle is a complex bundle of hardware and software that mimics the human body's ability to maintain its balance. Not only does it have no brakes, it also has no engine, no throttle, no gearshift and no steering wheel. And it can carry the average rider for a full day, nonstop, on only five cents' worth of electricity."
Bara Vaida: "Howard Schmidt, Microsoft's chief security officer, is expected to leave within the next month to join the Bush administration and work with White House cyber-security adviser Richard Clarke, according to sources in the computer-security industry."
NY Times editorial: "This is a nation built around the rule of law, not faith in the goodness of particular officials."
NoMoreWar.Com: "Many of you are saying that suspending this site is the wrong thing to do, because now - more than ever - we need to maintain the call for peace."
Even Doc Searls is a soldier in the war against ants.
Michael Fraase: "Directories are a very powerful feature of Manila that is hidden in plain sight."
Jim Roepcke: "This has been Pro Wrestling Interrogation Theatre."
Glenn Fleishman: Gifts to delight Mac users.
First, a question. Why haven't ABC and CBS followed NBC and started their own White House drama series? Now that we know that the people love watching high stakes drama, sort of a Dallas on a larger stage, why not have the Republican version? And maybe a third version where Pat Buchanan accidentally gets elected President? Hey you could probably even hire him to play himself.
That leads to the next question -- when do the mythical White Houses start becoming more real than the real one? Of course the actors don't control the nukes, or have the budget of the Executive Branch, but they're even more interesting than the real actors who live in the real West Wing.
The West Wing has been conspicuously silent on areas of political significance after the Sept 11 attacks -- all the michegas with military tribunals and freedom, but what if they took a stand?
Interestingly, it seems the TV networks have wandered into an area where they could do some damage, or good, depending on how you look at it. They could easily test the waters for us as to how good-natured Ashcroft and Bush really are.
All that assumes they haven't already made their deal with the devil.
The rainy season has started with a vengeance. There are a few signs that it's here for real. The leaky spots in the roof are leaking. The creek behind the house is a raging torrent. And the ants are back. I don't think I've ever written about the ants.
They're a seasonal thing, like the bees (that are really yellow-jackets). Once the ground gets saturated they look for dry warm places, like the kitchen. The first scouts are showing up now. They like the coffee maker, presumably because it's a little warmer than other spots. Not much ant food there. And boy do they like to eat. Just a drop of food left on the counter and thousands if not millions of ants beat a trail to it.
Not much to be done about the ants, I don't like the smell of the chemical sprays that get them to stay away. I'll keep you posted about their invasion.
Brain Power Magazine: "Most of us have, at some time, watched with fascination as a group of ants work together to bring food back to their nest."
Orven Lewis: "See if you can find Combat or other brand bait trays for ants -- little plastic disks that ants carry poison from back to the nest. After a couple days, they should be about gone."
Bill Appleton: "I know you are a pacifist, but one way to stop the cycle of violence is to kill every last one of your enemies, in this case, the ants. These are small, well organized California ants, they live in a single large nest that is in a dry, protected place up to 50 yards from where you see them. A situation like this calls for the suspension of civil liberties, and perhaps the use of chemical weapons."
Yes, I agree good writers make a big difference. But they need facts. That's what a KM system can capture.
Second, we do have writers on our team. I am a writer. So are Brent and Scoble. Jake is getting good, when he gets out of his head and relaxes, he's great. Doug shows promise. I like working with developers who communicate. Ask any of them. I stress this all the time. "Narrate your work," says Dave. Our RFC process generates excellent writing. Perhaps we have different values than other devteams. People wonder how we get so much done with so few people. Perhaps this is it.
Third point, every well-designed piece of software should have great docs. Show me a product that has great docs, and let's do a case study on how they got created.
Christian Langreiter: "Mathematica has great docs."
An important fact people may not have considered. In the endgame of a product ship, most of what developers do is writing. There's a lot of coordinating to do, lots of checking assumptions. An example, yesterday I wrote a 6-step RFC, it took about twelve hours from concept to sign-off. All writing. This morning I'm writing the code. Lots more writing as I document the steps I took, all the changes I made so people on the devteam know what to expect. Would a docs writer, working on a user's manual six months from now find this narrative useful? Without a doubt.
Scoble: "McNealy? What's his dream?"
DSL Reports: "It appears that only AT&T@Home did not negotiate a temporary extension, and was shut down."
If you're an Excite@Home user, please let us know if you're still on the net.
Heads up to xmlStorageSystem implementors (are there any?) -- today we added a new entry-point.
Patrick Leahy: "First and foremost, as an American and as a Vermonter, I want to see us protected from terrorism. But I want it done in a way that does not diminish the basic protections of the Constitution."
Steve Hooker invites you to create your own warblog.
Got the blues? Here's a cure.
John Van Dyk is learning RDF.
Get better soon Dan.
This blog may win the award for best blog-name of 2001.
Another candidate. Look at the URL.
At my first meeting with John Robb at the Hailstorm rollout at Microsoft early this year, we talked about the application category called Knowledge Management. I felt that our software could be positioned in that area, that people who were interested in KM would also be interested weblogs and outliners. But today I'm understanding the subject in a whole new way. We need KM at UserLand, desperately, always have, and knew it (without knowing what it was called), and didn't know that the philosophy of KM would offer us a way to get over this in the management of our own work.
Here's the problem stated from a UserLand perspective. When a developer starts working on a feature or a system, we get formal. The developer writes an RFC. It addresses issues like prior art, breakage, scaling (if it's a centralized service) and user interface issues (depending on who the intended user is). Most important, it helps the reader visualize the software, and this is relatively easy to do, because at RFC-time, the developer hasn't seen it, no one has. These documents are excellent, partially because the developer is communicating with friends, he relaxes, and the writing is good, even excellent.
But here's the problem -- when it comes time to write docs for users -- the system breaks down. The excellent writing is lost. The developer, tasked with explaining the feature to users and outside-UserLand developers gets "in his head" and the docs are incomplete, sometimes grossly so, and miss the mark. The problem is a KM problem. How can we get the excellent writing done at the beginning of a project to flow out to the users and developers when the project is complete?
See if this matches your experience with UserLand. How well are our systems designed? I think very well. Now, how much work do you have to do to figure out how to use them? Far too much.
We're still struggling with this. For our next ship I want to have complete docs, but I know we won't. At least I want a structure for docs so that as the early adopters get on board, we can answer the questions once and have those answers flow onto the record. We have a fulltime guy here who's main job is that. Flowing information from the team and users into a permanent structure of documents, accessible over the Web.
The frustrating thing is that we know now what questions people will ask. We even know the answers. The challenge is to get them where people find them. That's a total KM problem. Now of course once we solve the problem, we'll commercialize it, and offer it for sale. This is our business. As Doug Engelbart said so well, we want to augment human intelligence.
Images. John, Paul, George and Ringo, on TV, being cool. In 1964 I was nine years old. I was in the hospital recovering from a ruptured appendix when She Loves You came out. Everyone was listening to it.
That's what the Beatles did, they got everyone to listen. Even my dad. He told me that they wore wigs, that no man really has hair like that. I knew better. (Of course like all kids, I had a Beatles wig. A perfect product for fathers who wanted to "prove" to their kids that they were just wigs.)
These are just words. Harrison's death is a real tear-gusher for me. What am I crying for? The little boy, me, who is still in there somewhere, who just got touched. Sweet and sad at the same time.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.