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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.
Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, June 11, 2002. Tuesday, June 11, 2002

A news aggregator is "software that periodically reads a set of news sources, in one of several XML-based formats, finds the new bits, and displays them in reverse-chronological order on a single page." 

Paolo: "It's important to consider that 'set of news sources' could also mean reports generated by your accounting software, status of your servers, posts in a discussion group, orders from your e-commerce site, updates from your co-workers workflow management software.." Thanks Paolo, that's absolutely true. 

Fortune: "Katz spends all his time making money from patents rather than selling an actual product or a service." 

Charles Miller asks a key question. Suppose you work for a company and keep a public weblog. Are you required in some way to blow the whistle, in public, on your employer? Imho, absolutely not. It could easily get you fired, and it isn't fair to your employer, unless they employ you as a journalist. Now, this does not mean you are not a journalist. Just disclose that you are an employee of the company that employs you. Then readers will know to look elsewhere for information about that company. Reasonable people will understand that you will not disclose information that could hurt the company. 

I was interviewed today by a Japanese wire service. They asked if weblogs spelled the end of newspapers. I said they didn't have to, if the professional news organizations adopted the technology. He asked how. It's worth posting. First, I would offer a copy of Radio UserLand to every person on the editorial staff (okay, I'm biased) and say "Start a weblog now if you want." Then I'd make the same offer to the readers. Then I'd watch to see what happens. I'd say to the staff "Read the new weblogs, and for those of you who have your own, point to the articles you find interesting or useful." Let this run for a few months. My bet is that the community starts generating good news reports, on things like school boards, and city council meetings, the stuff that the organizations no longer cover. (Or medical care, or city workers who dump paint in the sewers.) Just what people see and what they think. Democrat weblogs that beget Republican weblogs.  

Elevate one of the staff weblogs to the main site (by then its flow would probably be almost as big as the rest of the publication). Go back to all the editorial people who haven't started weblogs, and invite them again. Wait a few more months. Here's the New Economy bad news (sorry) -- cut the people who aren't participating in the new network. My bet is that the community gets energized by the new participatory journalism and the former reporters, who now are editors, talent scouts and teachers, are also energized, doing what they wanted to do when they got into journalism. Now ask the community what they're willing to pay to keep the system working and growing. I know I'm naive and unrealistic, but this is how I think it will work. Another source of revenue. Charge local businesses to place their weblogs on your network. This is advertising turned around. No more interstitials and ads that interfere. If people aren't interested in your business, maybe it's time to find a new business. News drives interest. Minds, not eyeballs. Real issues not puffery. New products that meet people's needs and wants. No limits on where we go. 

Tom Degremont is using Radio to write his captain's log for the 4 months of sailing he plans to do this summer. 

Edward Champion: "The relationship between hard money and journalism is closer than you think." 

Deborah Branscum: "So various blogs may be buzzing about the [NY Times weblog piece] but I expect the rest of the world yawned and moved on." 

Jim Armstrong met Ted Nelson and Doug Engelbart last night. 

A picture named deanswearingsmall.gifTheoretically, a week from yesterday, we will know who Deep Throat was. The Washington Post, whose reporters invented the name, says "Only four people on the planet are known to have the name -- [Bob] Woodward; his partner, Carl Bernstein; Ben Bradlee, the former executive editor of The Washington Post; and of course, Deep Throat himself." If this is true, then we know that Deep Throat is John Dean, who plans to spill the beans in his book, coming out next Monday. John Robb thinks Deep Throat was Alexander Haig. Others say Henry Kissinger, William Colby (CIA) and L Patrick Gray (FBI).  

Two years ago today: "I am the god of my garden." 

Also on that day: "If you support developers who don't patent, one of the best things you can do is give them credit for their inventions, and do this carefully and completely. Almost all creative people want recognition for the risks they take. When they are generous with their ideas and don't patent them, extra recognition is a good idea. This is something positive everyone can do to encourage generosity from developers." 

Mark Frauenfelder: "This is the first and probably the last time I'll ever be on a national TV commercial." 

Jon Udell: "The idea of disposable spaces is something Groovers take for granted, but it's a bit unusual from a web perspective." 

Several things on my todo list today. 1. Write a What is a News Aggregator? tutorial, to explain the "other half" of the Radio feature set. Done. 2. Announce and roll out Russ Lipton's new gentle guide to Radio UserLand. It's end user docs. Yeah. Finally. 3. Something else. 

ActiveState: "Do you know someone who's really made a difference to open language programming?" 

SubAverage: "Greg cannot get laid. This is not a popular culture cliche or a philosophical statement; he really cannot find a girl who will have sex with him."  

Noteworthy: I got a friendly email from Ken Layne. He said a lot of other things in his interview that weren't quoted. Every BigPub piece seems to have its scapegoat. In this case there were two, Ken and Cameron Barrett. I'm sure Cam said other things that were less fear-inspired, and more gracious than what he was quoted as saying. And Ken clearly wants more technology, and says he doesn't want to steal anyone's thunder. I asked him to post his comments so I can point to them. Glad to get that outage behind us. Today, in 2002 at least, it seems that the weblog world is self-healing. Nice. 

BTW, I use an outliner to edit Scripting News. Screen shot. Soon, you will be able to too, even if you edit a Blogger, Blogger Pro, or Movable Type site. (Of course it works with Manila and Radio UserLand.) Note to other blogging tool vendors, please, if possible, support the MetaWeblog API. The editing tools can do more for users if you do. To Evan, I think this would be a great Blogger Pro upgrade.  


Last update: Tuesday, June 11, 2002 at 8:11 PM Eastern.

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