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Permanent link to archive for Sunday, January 27, 2002. Sunday, January 27, 2002

1995: "What is a platform?" 

Garth Kidd: "I've been having such fun hacking away on Radio, I just had to buy it. I look back on my early skepticism about UserTalk and cackle. All it took was a big enough dash of Killer App Sauce to make the platform compelling." 

One more thing before signing off for the day. Weblogs.Com will probably grow quite a bit next week because the Blogger Pro users are coming online. All kinds of new sites to explore. Incredible cooperation between two competitors. Every day I feel more and more like we're building a new layer on the Internet.  

Economist: Who's afraid of AOL Time Warner? 

1995: "I want Undo in the Finder." 

Ken Bereskin: "Without much notice, the Undo command in the Finder's Edit menu now works allowing you to undo most operations that the Finder performs." 

I've been writing notes about the My Pictures tool on what will become the docs page.  

A mind bomb for next week. Kevin Altis has wired up PythonCard to the Blogger API and will release the code to show people how to do easy GUIs for Web Services. Lawrence Lee, who works at UserLand, installed Kevin's code and got it working. Here's a screen shot. I'm going to install the software myself next week and write a How To that shows you how to install all the necessary software and get Kevin's app to run on your machine. I'm hoping to see people use the XML-RPC and SOAP interfaces in Radio to connect to user interfaces running in PythonCard.  

Bryan Bell: "Where were you guys before Radio?" Bryan's been getting lots of feedback. I sent Bryan an email saying now he gets to be a leader, not just a hero. BTW, when I said the price was Under $100 we already had decided on $39.95. It's a competitive market, and we wanted our competitors to have a relaxing holiday season.  

Xerox PARC: "Sparrow Web makes writing to the web as easy as reading from the web!" 

Daily Probe: Rejected iMac Designs

Adam Curry: "I've crammed all kinds of cool functionality into my setup." 

On this day two years ago I did my first day Davos and blogged it. I was excited. It was exciting! 

I have three Radio 8 projects in the queue, in various stages of completion. 1. The Blogger API seems to be done. A few bug reports, addressed. If I don't hear anything further, it will be released shortly. 2. A filesystem upstream driver, the simplest so far, it just copies the files to another folder. This is ideal for a system where you have a static HTTP server on your LAN. 3. The My Pictures tool, which I started working on yesterday. Expect a beta-beta release of this later today. 

After this queue is cleared, the next thing I want to work on is making XML-RPC and SOAP handlers as easy to write as macros are. That will be the fourth Going Crazy tutorial, Murphy-willing of course. 

NY Times report 

Last week I had a great dinner with several people from the NY Times. Most of the conversation was off the record. I was surprised to hear that they watch this site. Of course I watch theirs too. We talked about the future of the Web, and the realities of running an electronic version of a newspaper with hundred-plus year traditions. I'm a lifelong user of their product. A lot of the ideas I got about writing came from reading their paper every day as a kid growing up in NY. Protecting some of those traditions is important. In my own small way I try to do that here on Scripting News.

I gave them feedback about their website. My opinion -- they haven't fully embraced the Web (that's an understatement). The home page of the Times barely changes as the day goes by (they say this is not true, but as a reader, I don't see the changes). They used to systematically roll the site at 9PM Pacific every night, that's partially why I have a 10PM deadline here. I used to go there every night at 9PM with a sweaty mouse finger to check out their Technology, Business and the Editorial pages. Those are my big three at the Times, in that order.

But then sometime during the dotcom bust they stopped being so systematic. Stories stayed on each of the pages for days. The reward for looking to see what's new at the Times is usually to find nothing new. Add to that the screaming ads which are ever more difficult to tune out, and the reader experience at their site is going in the wrong direction.

The home page of the site is designed as the electronic equivalent of the front page of a daily newspaper. But the Web doesn't have a daily publication cycle. A Web reader can be enticed to come back many times during the day, I strongly feel that the editorial goal should be to give them a reward for doing that.

I also want to know more about the reporters. I want to know what they read, what influences them, details of the reporting process that the print edition can't carry. I want the home page to be a weblog, a pushdown stack of what's new in the world, perhaps categorized by interest (several home pages). I understand that tradition is in the way of that -- so I'll accept it one hop off the home page (I know how to use bookmarks), or as a series of XML feeds that I can read hourly using my personal news aggregator.

Anyway, as Doc says, the conversation will continue. I'll report here what I can report when I can. I don't often get the opportunity to influence the direction of such an important player and I want to be careful about it. Thanks for understanding.

BTW, a surprise at the meeting. Dave Liddle, who I've known from the computer industry for 20+ years, is now a NY Times board member. Was I impressed? Yes!


Last update: Sunday, January 27, 2002 at 9:10 PM Eastern.

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