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Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 28, 2002. Thursday, March 28, 2002

Survey: Are fax machines legal? 

A picture named papadoc.gifNewsweek: "Another blogger in the room read Searls’s log, and copied the link to his own site, acidly commenting on the inappropriateness of Nacchio’s whining. Though it’s not clear how many in the room were reading the weblogs, apparently there were a lot. In any case, it seemed that the room palpably chilled toward the pugnacious executive. This is a dangerous trend for public speakers everywhere." 

Monday is the fifth anniversary of Scripting News, and the fourteenth of Frontier. It wouldn't surprise me if there are some Radio users who were born after the the code that's running their blog, not that that actually means anything. 

Tommy Williams: "I work for Microsoft. I have worked for the company since June 1999. But it gets harder every day." 

Mary Wehmeier wrote a letter to Senator Hollings. It's the first letter I've seen from a user explaining the consequences the senator's bill would have on the vendors' products she depends on. In other words, users can't afford to be silent on this bill. If you like our software and you want it to keep evolving and improving, you have a stake in the outcome. 

Dudley Moore, Uncle Miltie and Billy Wilder, RIP. 

Michael Bernstein found a directory of Israeli weblogs

The NY Times covers the big news of the day. Sarcasm. 

Reuters: "A Dutch appeals court on Thursday told an Internet software company it could distribute a software program that is designed to let users share music and films on the Internet." 

Wired: "A political brawl over mandatory copy protection is about to spread to the U.S. House of Representatives." 

Russ Lipton documents Radio's Status Center. 

Hey Rebecca, Dan did have a moment of epiphany. Integrating computer technology with face-to-face meetings has been a long time coming. And get this, it happened at a computer industry conference. Something new at an industry conference. That in itself is an epiphany.  

Scoble: "Conference directors don't weblog and don't get why this is important for them to do this." Scoble is right about that. He used to run Fawcette's conferences until he jumped ship and joined UserLand. We're not in the conference business (please, there's already too much on our plate) but our technology will eventually play a big role in conferences.  

A picture named glenn.gifI saw the same kind of edging-up to interactive conferences at Davos 2000. They had a big screen with pre-composed information displayed in The Brain. Very few people tuned into it. I watched and tried to engage people in discussion about it but audience members were hardly aware it was present. I believe this is because it was completely static and mostly off-topic. Look once or twice, don't see anything interesting, don't look again. There's so much other stuff to look at. Anyway, the trick is to have audience-entered material visible to the moderator. Members of the audience, perhaps only 3 or 4, can comment in realtime on what's happening. The moderator is in both conversations. The difference in perspective between an audience member and a person on stage is so big, sitting in the audience I often wonder why don't they ask the obvious question now. Standing in line waiting for my turn guarantees that my comment or question will not apply to the discussion when I finally get my turn to speak. That's the vein of gold that Dan struck. His off-the-cuff instant thoughts made it into the room, and his inner-geek loved it because of the Rube Goldbergish way it got there. Dan, did I get it right?? 

Jon Udell's first essay on Instant Outlining. As always, Jon cuts right to the core. "It's not about XML, or HTTP, or outlining. It's about people evolving to the point where they publish what they're doing, and subscribe to what other people are doing, in just the right proportions, so that there's maximum awareness of shared purpose but minimal demand on the scarce resource of attention." I would only disagree with the statement that it's not about outlining. I think it is.  

One of the reasons the time is ripe for Instant Outlining is that email has become so unusable due to spam. With I/O, you choose who to subscribe to. If they spam you, or you lose interest, unsubscribe. 

Adam Curry: "My I/O has already replaced my email conversations with 4 people in one day!" 

Julian Harris: "It starts with a cage containing five monkeys." 

Did you watch The West Wing last night? What a great show. I loved the part about LemonLymon.Com. It reminded me of a few sites I sometimes watch but mostly don't.  

On this day two years ago, Joel Spolsky, an ex-Microsoft guy, published an essay about legal encumberments and why software developers should never agree to them. What he says about employees applies equally to independent developers. Be careful what you agree to, the lawyers keep copies of everything you sign.  

Charles Miller is talking about doing a clone of Radio Community Server in Java. He posits that if he ported our code we'd sue him. Probably not, but please play fair. It's probably not possible anyway because Java doesn't have the high-level integration of an object database with the scripting language. Of course there's no reason he can't clone RCS in Java, and to that I say Gambatte. (Japanese for Go For It.) BTW, the core spec for RCS was available quite a few months ago, but few people were interested until we had a base of users and an application that built on it. Another comment. Because there are no patents on any of this stuff, it's likely that Radio Community Server will become a universal architecture for Internet-based groupware apps. HailStorm, Groove and Liberty Alliance don't stand a chance. Too encumbered by crazy intellectual property constraints.  

Matt Goyer: "Let's buy a senator!" $300K. 

A picture named maynardGKrebbs.gifThanks to Sam Ruby for sending a pointer to the Microsoft shared source license. The patent disclaimer is at the top. "You may use any information in intangible form that you remember after accessing the Software. However, this right does not grant you a license to any of Microsoft's copyrights or patents for anything you might create using such information." It's a poison pill for sure. Very clear.  

On this day last year, the first draft of: A Busy Developer's Guide to SOAP 1.1. No patents. 

I hope some day the independent developers appreciate that because we've been developing in advance of Microsoft in this area, that their patents are going to be pretty hard to establish. UserLand does not patent any of its technology. This is a matter of ethics, core values and self-respect. We believe in the power to compete. We think our technology is so good that it can withstand competition. Microsoft clearly has jumped over to the dark side. It wasn't always so. At one point they were willing to bet on their engineering. Today they're betting on their lawyers.  

I say this in a challenging way, knowing that engineering still has some power at Microsoft, and that a lot of developers at Microsoft read this weblog. Guys and gals, this is over the line. Your company has a disconnect. You aren't producing 1.0 software if the bosses keep your competition out through the use of patents. Today, if you want to make real software that has a chance of getting to 2.0 and beyond, you must do it outside of Microsoft, or change Microsoft. 

Peas in a pod 

Good morning. Just getting started. First stop Daypop. Good to see the Eisner piece is #3. If you know someone who thinks Disney is great, but also liked Napster, send them a pointer to this piece. Also let them know that Eisner made over $700 million in five years. And he wants more! Wow.

A picture named stutz.gifThanks to Sam Ruby for the pointer to this email from Miguel de Icaza about Microsoft's release of Rotor. Summary of what's happened so far. Earlier this week Microsoft released the source for the core technologies of .NET in source form under their "shared source" license. What's the catch? For that you just have to read Miguel's email. Patents. Has Microsoft disclosed the patents they've filed on this stuff? The license appears to be buried in the source release, so if you want to stay clean, is there a way to read the license? Not clear. We know there are patents somewhere because Craig Mundie and David Stutz said so in public, last summer at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention. (Postscript: Sam Ruby sent a pointer to the license.)

Jenny the Shifted Librarian likes her Replay TV. "Even on my 60-hour unit, I usually only have about 5 hours clear at any given time because I'm recording everything I or my family might want to watch. Some of the stuff on there has been waiting months for me to watch it. Other stuff I just delete without watching when I need the room." My TiVO works the same way, except I don't have as much storage as Jenny. A note to Eisner and the other filthy bastards who think I'm a pirate, I pay $60 per month for this service. And I largely use it to watch stuff that's broadcast over the public airwaves for $0. Go figure.

BTW, do you see a pattern here? Microsoft sends a friendly hippie to make the pitch. But Bill Gates made even more money than Eisner. Bill wants more money. And he's willing to look like a benevolent dictator to get you hooked. But the patents are there, it's like a field full of landmines. Go in, if you choose to, with your eyes open.


Last update: Thursday, March 28, 2002 at 7:44 PM Eastern.

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