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Permanent link to archive for Thursday, April 11, 2002. Thursday, April 11, 2002

Google: "With the Google Web APIs service, software developers can query more than 2 billion web documents directly from their own computer programs." Bravo! 

DaveNet: Google is just the juice

Using the Google API with Radio and Frontier. In progress. 

Important note: A limit of 10 results per query was added on the Google server at the last minute. Radio and Frontier users please update again to get the fix. 

Something James Snell and I agree on. "What would really be interesting is if it was a two way thing. You know, I own content on the net. Google maintains a directory of that content. Google let's me notify it when that content changes, a simple ping that says 'Hey, I just updated my web page! Process the changes and update your database please!'"  

No matter what, we're now past the starting point on the relationship between content and search engines. Just a few hours after the release of the API, Google Boxes, primitive though they are, are already on several dozen weblogs. Even though the scripts are simple, they have been written and they work. I hope the conversation can become two-way. We are listening to Google. Now we'd like to help make the index even better, more responsive, more current. What if, an hour after they shipped a new feature, their index could help you explore what just happened. What I did today on Scripting News could be automated. We could watch in real-time as knowledge enters the world, on a global scale.  

A new sub-directory on SoapWare.Org for the Google API. 

Steve Zellers is connecting AppleScript to Google. 

Matt Webb has a Perl interface for calling Google. He adds "I can't wait to see this integrated with the Instant Outliner." 

David Watson has a Visual Basic interface. 

Mark Pilgrim has a Python interface. 

Aaron Cope has a Perl interface. 

Rael Dornfest: Google Web API

John Robb has a Google Box on his weblog. Jake has one too. More bings coming. Steve Ogden, Andrew Wooldridge, Dan Mitchell, Marc Barrot, ICANN, Jon Udell.  

Amy Wohl: "I'm a Google addict." 

First we had Ernie the Attorney. Now there's I Am Not A Lawyer. What comes after that? 

Microsoft's Kevin Browne. "The way we’re looking at the Mac is as a great client platform for connecting to .NET." 

A picture named finkel.gifPeter Drayton has a pointer to a book written by someone named Raphael Finkel. The prof for my introductory course in algorithms at UW-Madison in 1977 had the same name. I clicked on the link and sure enough -- it's Dr Finkel. He's a great teacher. Very patient, intelligent, and didn't skip any steps. I learned how to program in Algol-like languages from him. I still, to this day, program in an Algol-like language. It's cool, he's put the full text of his book on the Web.  

Jon Udell: "You've got to love the openness of a system that makes it possible, and easy, to do this non-kosher thing."  

Geeky feature: Description Filter Callbacks

John Markoff says that HailStorm died a quiet death. 

A Microsoft spokesperson says the Markoff story isn't exactly correct. Frank X Shaw, a vice president at Waggoner-Edstrom says: "There is evolution, but even at the launch of the whole initiative Bob Muglia said that Microsoft would not be the sole provider of HailStorm services. Microsoft will provide some services, but lots of others will provide them as well." 

John Hiler asks if bloggers are journalists. In my humble opinion, anyone who follows rules 1 and 2 is a journalist. 

A joke that women who date engineers would get. 

News.Com: Groove 2.0 due on Monday

Library cats in the United States. 

Another engineer joke 

Thanks to Stan Wesolowski for sending this joke.

During the French Revolution, many high-profile people were sent to the guillotine for execution. On this day the first up was a doctor. However, when the executioner dropped the blade it fell only halfway and stopped.

The executioner declared, "Sacre bleu! By the laws of the new republic, if the execution fails you are spared. Do you have any words before you are set free?"

"Oui," replied the doctor, "I declare that I will now dedicate my life to tending to the sick and wounded who have suffered so much in our recent trying times."

Next up was a famous philosopher. But again the blade stopped halfway down!

"Unbelievable!" cried the executioner. "This has never happened before -- twice in one day! You, too, are spared. Will you also have something to say?"

"Oui, oui!" said the philosopher. "I, too, shall dedicate my life to help our suffering countrymen and women. I will try to ease their minds and assist them in becoming vibrant members of our new republic."

As he left, an engineer was brought up to the guillotine. "You know, if you greased that pulley..."

Postmortem on HailStorm 

With Markoff's piece today, it seems we can now write the epitaph for HailStorm, and hopefully learn the lesons, and never make these mistakes again. (Hah.)

HailStorm didn't work for two reasons: 1. The antitrust conviction. 2. They don't bootstrap.

We read the transcripts of the trial, and some of us read David Bank's book. No one with a mind was going to get in bed with Microsoft after reading about their low regard for developers. The Bank book was a expose of the first order, never has "it's even worse than it appears" been more clearly true. Who wants to be the next one to be deprived of air supply? HailStorm was the most megalomaniac attempted power grab ever. Not only did Microsoft want to write the rules for air supply, but they wanted to own the atmosphere. Why would anyone with a mind willingly sign up for that?

A picture named engelbart.gifAsk Doug Engelbart if you don't believe me about bootstrapping. Look at how all previous revolutionary technology came into existence. There's no reason to believe that a BigCo can concoct the next revolution in its labs. At the beginning of the SOAP process Microsoft had two engineers who understood the power of this technology. That lasted for a couple of months, then the BigCo swooped in and complicated it, obscured it, and set up the HailStorm strategy.

There's still cause for hope. Microsoft can still become the statesman of our industry, the evangelist of developers, the enabler of markets. They can have the lion's share of the growth, they just have to give up on the concept of control. It's just an illusion anyway, they don't actually have any control, and as soon as their strategy reflects this, we can all get productive at building the next layer of the Internet, including Microsoft.


Last update: Thursday, April 11, 2002 at 7:05 PM Eastern.

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