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Permanent link to archive for Monday, April 08, 2002. Monday, April 08, 2002

Radio 8: "Shortcuts make it easy to enter repetitive or hard-to-remember text in your weblog." 

I just got an email, I bet Cory got one too -- and it's so exciting, but I can't tell you about it. :-( 

Thanks to Ernie the Attorney for the link to this ABA article about blogging. Ernie says "Oh, God, run for cover everybody. The lawyers are coming, the lawyers are coming."  

It gets better (or worse) -- here's a court in West Virginia that has a Radio weblog. Man this is so coooool. 

Wired: "VersionTracker, a popular software-download website, lists more than two dozen different hacks for the iPod." 

Michael Sippey offers some fantastic ideas for ways Google can make money. The last one is surely in jest, but the first one hits the bull's eye, except I don't want it in the toolbar, I want a local Web app with Google branding and technology that integrates searching on the Web with searching on my local area network. I don't have $25K for a Google box, and that would be total overkill. I just want Google to index my email and other documents I have lying around on various local systems. It's so weird that it's faster and easier for me to find stuff on the Web than it is for me to find stuff locally. So much harder I usually don't even try.  

BTW, I like his #2 too -- that's kind of like what we're doing with Jabber.  

Eric Norlin: "It is not a crime to try to make a buck on the Internet." 

Radio Poster connects RealBasic with Radio.  

Eric Freeman at Disney has a Radio weblog, and his own Radio Community Server. Nice. And then Alan Reiter pointed to an article by Freeman entitled The Real Reason WAP is Crap. With a compelling title like that you gotta read it right?? 

NY Times: Google's Toughest Search

Gordon Meyer: "These notes were written in Tinderbox and exported to Radio for upstreaming and formatting." 

Matt Deatherage: "It's a big world out there, and I'm part of it." Excellent tagline. It's twisty and fun and humble and smart. All that in just 11 words.  

We're working on a redesign of the DaveNet site. I wanted a simpler easier to read format. Last week when I saw the design of the Oddpost FAQ page, I said -- that's it -- that's what I want. Easy to read text, large type, nicely spaced. I gave the job to Lawrence. Today the first iteration is up, my comments are here. If you have some ideas on design, post them to a weblog and send me a link. I want to use more CSS, but do it tastefully. 

The lizard brain 

Shortcuts. A new feature for Radio, a loop back to 1996.

1996 was a big year of innovation at UserLand. It started with a project with a thousand writers, that proved once and for all that the Web is not a productivity application, it's groupware.

Most of the code in my GUI website design tool was running in scriptland, in Frontier, which was then a shelved product after doing battle with Apple, and losing my shirt. Who knows whether it was wise or not, but in April 1996, I went back into Frontier and came up with what eventually would be called the Website Framework, which viewed a website as a hierarchy of content, attributes and scripts, and introduced the concept of rendering, and along with it, macros and the glossary.

All these concepts are still here today, and perhaps even more surprising, so is the implementation. The text you're reading now was rendered through the website framework that was developed in 1996. I think of this as the lizard brain of Frontier, Manila and Radio -- these were the first full steps towards web content management at UserLand, and while we only had a glimpse of what was to come, the work was good enough that we still use it today. Our detractors who say, unfairly, that we don't have an appreciation for continuity at UserLand should consider that website framework apps of 1996 still run in 2002, in the same way that today's web browsers can display sites that were built in 1996.

Anyway, when we were in the endgame for Radio 8 late last year, we had what I considered an inadequate implementation of Shortcuts, which is a browser-based interface on the glossary part of the lizard brain. I wanted to do something better than what we had, so we pulled the feature, and promised that we would swing back around to it after Radio 8 shipped.

And today we're ready to show you how it works.

What does lizard brain mean? 

A picture named reptilebrain.gifI looked on Google, Teoma and Dictionary.Com and came up empty. So let me try to define what I mean by the term lizard brain. The human brain is a map of evolution. At the base of the brain are the most primitive functions, the unconscious automatic things like regulating breath, the heart, fight or flight, etc. As you go up and forward, the functions advance, and become more human, more conscious. The lizard brain is the part of the brain that we have in common with lizards, a very primitive form of life, compared to humans.

If you apply the same evolutionary principles to software, which is totally valid, you can see the layers as they came online. The Frontier 4 glossary was hardly the most primitive part of the system, for that you'd have to go deep into the kernel, and the low-level database functions, the script engine and the outliner, which were the first bits I programmed in 1988. So perhaps more analogously, the glossary of 1996 was really the bird brain of Radio 8. But you get the idea.

Matt Kineiko says I should look for reptile brain and sure enough, there are lots of hits for that. Thanks!

Salon: A unified theory of software evolution.

XML in South Carolina 

Jenny the Librarian spotted a white-on-orange XML icon in an unusual place. The Latest Headlines page at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, in South Carolina, now advertises its RSS 0.91 feed and aims it straight at bloggers. Screen shot. How did it come to be? Andy Rhinehart, who's an editor there, reads Scripting News. The Spartanburg Herald-Journal is owned by the NY Times.


Today's song: "She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes. She'll be coming round the mountain she'll be coming round the mountain she'll be coming round the mountain when she comes."


Last update: Monday, April 08, 2002 at 8:13 PM Eastern.

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