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Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, December 19, 2001. Wednesday, December 19, 2001

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. 

So maybe, just maybe, IBM wants to support XML-RPC in their systems? (Ducking.) 

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. 

Doc: "Ken's emails are so expletive huge that my Eudora literally crashes trying to open them." 

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. 

Ken Dow: "Scoble Scoble he's our man! If he can't write it, nobody can!" 

WickedIntellect.Com has a Flash interface for Blogger. 

Remember when I said I'd kick myself for not nominating certain sites ? Well, I found one. Aaron Cope does fantastic work. I'm not sure if he actually updates his weblog, but he does so many neat scripting things that he shares on the Web. I just tripped over a browser-based OPML viewer that he did last year, and it's so nice! And it's just one of many things he does with XML, Perl, Javascript, etc. 

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 1970ís, wending my way through the Hilton Anaheimís parking garage, where the National Computer Conference had exiled those unruly, juvenile PCís." 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.  

Microsoft's next moves 

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.


Last update: Thursday, December 20, 2001 at 7:36 AM Eastern.

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