Top > Dave's World > Weblog Archive > 2001 > December > 20Previous/Next

Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.
Permanent link to archive for Thursday, December 20, 2001. Thursday, December 20, 2001

Scot Hacker reviews Mac OS X. 

Hey there's a Christmas tree over there! ==> 

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! 

Alan Reiter has an analysis of the Earthlink wireless announcement covered so excellently yesterday by Glenn Fleishman. 

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." 

AaronLand is updating. Bravo! I added him to the rotation for my WeblogsComHelper app so his updates will show up on the home page. If you love scripting hacks in Perl, XML and JavaScript, Aaron is your man. 

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.  

Prior art 

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.

More awards, not none 

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.

What is DRM? 

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.

Killer apps and blockbuster OSes 

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.


Last update: Thursday, December 20, 2001 at 5:48 PM Eastern.

Dave Winer Mailto icon

Click here to view the OPML version of Scripting News.

Morning Coffee Notes, an occasional podcast by Scripting News Editor, Dave Winer.

December 2001
Nov   Jan

Click here to see an XML representation of the content of this weblog.


© Copyright 1997-2005 Dave Winer. The picture at the top of the page may change from time to time. Previous graphics are archived.