Guest DaveNet: What We're Doing When We Blog. "As weblog readers, we respond with frequent visits, and we are rewarded with fresh content."
Reuters: "Blue-chip stocks staged a late rally."
Motley Fool: "In 1999, Microsoft spent $2.9 billion in stock buybacks; in 2000, $4.9 billion; and last year, a whopping $6.1 billion, all of which intended to hide the dilution from stock option grants."
Seth Dillingham: "I feel as if Macrobyte was hit by a truck last Thursday, and was in a coma until early this morning."
Chuq Von Rospach has been operating sports sites and mail lists for a long time and has some really good advice for other people wanting to do the same.
Tom Negrino: "If you've paid any attention to the tech market, you probably noticed that things aren't real good out there for anyone except Microsoft and Dell."
Radio Free Blogistan: "blog meme tipping point metablog."
Bryan Bell ships four new Manila themes, CSS-based, perfectly outline structured, and validating.
Newsday: "Major League Baseball forced a 6-year-old Mets Web site, started by an upstate fan when he was 14, to shut down yesterday after league officials said it illegally used registered team and league trademarks and profited from the team's name."
A Yankees fan gets his digs. Oh geez. See what they've done. Seriously, the suspension of disbelief is blown when the lawyers take over. How cold of the Mets to shut down young Bryan and his friends. I really have been a fan since 1962. The Mets are a young team, too young to screw around this way. On the subway, coming home after Game 5 of the Subway Series, I heard an older man say to a young Mets fan who was in tears -- "Son, if you're going to be a Mets fan your heart is going to get broken, a lot." The Mets will break your heart, every time. That's why we care. When the Mets win, it means something, for all of us. I loved the Mets without reservation when I was a boy (I'm 47 now). Later I learned they were a corporation, as selfish and stupid as any other. I try to overlook that, when I can.
Kevin Werbach: "As its now being deployed, 'broadband' is too slow, too expensive, too asymmetric, and too restricted to be the driver of economic growth."
Scott Mace: "Don't call it broadband."
Jenny the Librarian on ebooks. "The biggest obstacle to the implementation of ebooks in any type of library is that we play virtually no part in the creation, publication, or dissemination cycle so we are completely dependent on vendors, publishers, organizations, and authors to provide us with digital content."
Cory is back! "Didja miss me?" Yes.
David Watson: "Very little really usable software has come from people who are willing to work for six figures." That's true too.
John Robb: "With Bill Clinton's political machine behind him, he is likely to sweep the field of contenders in 2004 and face W in the fall."
Ink-stainers, while starting to get a clue, still see themselves at the center of the conversation. Thanks to Glenn for the pointer to Howard Kurtz's admonition to his colleagues to listen to weblogs. "Some media critics dismiss bloggers as self-indulgent cranks. That's a mistake. They now provide a kind of instant feedback loop for media corporations that came of age in an era of one-way communications." Uhhh Howard, we're not here for the corporations.
Lance Knobel: "He focuses mostly on outpourings from bloggers on the right of the political spectrum."
On this day last year, O'Reilly lost one of its editors.
Some good news. I've been given permission to republish Meg Hourihan's excellent essay on weblogs. At the time it came out I was getting ready to write something similar, it was the right time for the weblog world to define weblogs, because so many journalists had been trying to do it. Meg did such a great job, and I want to carry more voices through DaveNet, so I asked her, and then her editor at O'Reilly for permission, and this morning they said yes.
From there, I want to start an outline about what a weblog is, because there's more to say. Maybe it'll be a three-column table. In column 1, a topic. For example: Fact-checking. In the second column, how centralized journalism does it; and in the third column, how it works in the weblog world. That way, if someone understands how fact-checking works in the print world, they have a basis for understanding how it works when done in the open.
Perhaps you see more errors in weblogs, but they can get corrected quickly. I guess the diff is that you can see the process in weblogs. Some people say this is a bad thing, but I think it's good. When I see writing that's too polished, where the grammar is too perfect, I am suspicious that at a deeper level it has been sanitized and dumbed-down. I like getting my news and opinion straight from the source without the middleman.
Another row. In column 1, "Research". In column 2, "A reporter spends two weeks interviewing experts, with transcription errors, dumbing-down, etc added." In column 3, "Experts spend a lifetime trying new ideas, learning from their mistakes, and learning how to explain their philosophy. Weblogs let them publish their ideas without intermediaries."
So much of the debate on the Internet seems aimed to so thoroughly discredit (or humiliate?) someone so that everyone will instantly stop listening to that person.
Such a position leaves no room for subtlety or complexity.
No one is so devoid of intelligence or soul. Not even a serial murderer, convicted and sentenced to death, has as little grace as the fools who argue this way say.
Aha! How come I never viewed it that way. A good retort to a flamer.
You have no honor.
I saw the honor-free arguing style in a new way when I saw Scott Rosenberg confronted by one of his detractors. Sheez, don't they know how hard it is being Scott? He does it cheerfully and honestly, oozing integrity, holding up far more of the Internet than he probably ever bargained for.
Apparently the NY Mets couldn't find a way to compromise with some of the team's most dedicated fans. A sad day for New York baseball. What would Mookie say??
Salon: "Listen's $10-per-month Rhapsody service has a fantastic interface, and, since it has content from all five labels, you can find much of what you'd like on it. You can listen to any song as often as you'd like -- an option that gives a taste of what a perfect subscription service would feel like. The only trouble is, Listen won't let you burn -- and, as one file trader asked, 'Who wants to be stuck listening to shit at their computer?'"
It's been one week since Salon's blogs booted up. Scott Rosenberg posts a progress report.
FarrFeed: "I love this stuff."
Well, yesterday I went for my 30-day post op review (it was actually 38 days after I was discharged) and there was good news and bad news. The good news is that I'm healing quickly. My body is very strong and doing really well. My blood pressure is great. Heart rate is great. Cholesterol needs work and I have to lose a bunch of weight, and of course I can't smoke. Now the bad news. I have to be a saint for the rest of my life. I knew this day was coming. As I start to feel better, I want to relax. That ain't going to happen. Oy. Here's my old theme song. "Don't ask me to be Mister Clean, cause baby I don't know how." I need a new song. Oh mama.
Ed Cone's got the blogging bug: "I filed my N&R column about the bad proposed corporate hacking bill. It will run on Sunday -- it's an early deadline no matter what, but after blogging for a few months it's almost painful to wait so long. I feel like just posting it now, or scooping myself with the best parts....but patience is a virtue." Hehe.
Historian Stephen Ambrose, who is interviewed on the PBS News Hour today: "You can do whatever the hell you want. Who's going to criticize you? And if they do, what the hell do you care?"
Radio Free Blogistan: Blogger vs Radio.
Reuters: "Stocks briefly extended their losses in late morning trading on Tuesday, biting into Monday's monster rally."
Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link to metsonline.net. As a Mets fan since 1962, I think it's great that sites like this exist and are flourishing. Like Bryan Hoch, the webmaster, I also run websites as a labor of love, and know there isn't generally a whole lot of money left over after you pay for bandwidth. I totally believe Hoch, a college student, when he says he isn't making money. The site clearly disclaims that it is not representative of the Mets or Major League Baseball. If you go deeper you see that Hoch contributed his time for free to help the Mets improve their own site, before all sites were taken over by MLB in 2001 (what a bad idea, why can't teams differentiate themselves based on the quality of their community sites). Now of course there's another side to it, so let's keep an open mind. But to the owners of the Mets, please remember, it's the fans that make it work, and it's pretty clear that this website is from the fans, for the fans and the team, and that's a good thing.
Postscript: I've been emailing with Bryan, and asked if the local NY press has taken up his cause. He says: "Not yet. You can help by calling any one of the major metro papers (Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday)." More.. Ernie the Attorney is looking into this. "LSU Law School is suing one of its students for trademark infringement over a website that he maintains. The site is called lsulaw.com, and it includes a school calendar, law-related links and comments by Douglas Dorhauer, some of them critical of the law school."
Bret Fausett, yesterday: "It's hard to imagine a more complete win than what ICANN Director Karl Auerbach received today from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs."
James Jarrett wonders where is his blog flow?
Mark Crane writes: "Woke up early the other morning, and started listening to a BBC special on the Silicon Valley. Suddenly I heard the voice of Dave Winer, and he sounded like this mellow California hippy-geek. You should do a DaveNet that is just a stream of you reading the essay. Hearing the Dave voice totally changed my perceptions of the Dave Winer experience." It's true, I have a pretty soft voice. I laugh a lot too. Many people are surprised.
OSCON, last week, has done its job and stirred the embers of the Great Open Source Debate of the 1990s. I found myself writing in an email yesterday: "Very little really usable software has come from people who are willing to work for $0. (I chose my words carefully, infrastructure is another matter entirely.) Further, it's weird to say, as Richard Stallman does, that by coercing programmers to work for $0 that that's freedom. To me it seems obvious that that's slavery."
Washington Post: "Operated for years by Internet addressing giant VeriSign Inc., dot-org is slated to get a new landlord in October when VeriSign relinquishes its hold on the domain."
Two years ago on this day: "The best standard is the one with the most users."
NY Times: "Stock prices staged a broad, strong advance."
Ernie the Attorney has a directory of lawyers with weblogs.
Steve Gillmor on why trusting Microsoft is not the best idea.
The Top-100 weblogs report for Salon is starting to get interesting.
And Scott Rosenberg puts to rest, once and for all, the question of whether or not blogging is journalism. "Bloggers can be journalists any time they practice journalism by actually trying to find out the truth about a story. A journalist can be a blogger by installing some blogging software and beginning to post. These words should be labels for activities, not badges of tribal fealty." Ta-dahh, and duh.
Glenn Reynolds comments on Delaware Senator Joe Biden's new entertainment-industry-friendly bill. "These legislative initiatives aren't just about copyright. They're about building a regime that's hostile to content that comes from anyone other than Big Media suppliers."
US News: "Keep an eye on bloggers."
News.Com: "The Recording Industry Association of America's Web site was unreachable over the weekend due to a denial-of-service attack." Prediction: A new law that stops all HTTP requests because we might be doing a DoS against the RIAA. Hillary Rosen says the new law is "innovative."
Blogmapper "lets you associate blog entries with hot spots on a map. When you click on the spots, the entries appear."
Here's an example of an RSS 0.91 file containing the location encoding. Not sure yet how you generate the Points.
Happy 55th to Papa Doc. Two other 55-year-olds: Rob Reiner and Arnold Schwarzenegger. How do I know? Maureen Dowd wrote a column about Meathead and the Terminator facing off in the 2006 California governor's race.
NY Times: "The creator of a Web site whose name is a vulgarism for 'failed company' said he would roll out a new site called InternalMemos.com."
A Hispanic mathematician has two penises.
One is named José.
What is the other one named?
I received another book to review over the weekend. This one is about web services. It's a college textbook. I skimmed five chapters. Without saying who the author or publisher is, so no one can say I have a bone to pick with them, and with the disclaimer that the story they tell is totally flattering to me and UserLand, they got the story wrong.
Now I know what I'm "supposed" to say. Since they gave me so much credit, I'm supposed to be happy with it. But I'm not. I think books and magazine and news articles should at least try to tell the story as it actually happened, not embellish it, or change it, or whatever they do.
The author clearly worked from this document. But he says that I designed XML-RPC, by myself, in frustration with the slow process of SOAP at Microsoft. Well, that's just not true. XML-RPC is a snapshot of SOAP taken in 1998. When it was designed it was not intended to be frozen, it was designed to be evolved. That it evolved so much as to be unrecognizable from what eventually was called SOAP might be interesting to some people. But XML-RPC did not come from left field. It was the earliest public version of SOAP. As far as I know, none of the people who were involved would tell a story that contradicts that.
If you read a Newsweek account of the development of a new Macintosh, what are the chances that the story bears any resemblance to what happened? If you read a Fortune story about Microsoft is there any truth to it? And how far back does this tradition go? Was there any truth to the history books we read when we were children? Does anyone try to tell the story as it happened or is everyone just trying to sell books and articles?
Thanks to Mark Pilgrim for the kind wishes and great tutorial.
I just re-read the I'm Not A Smoker bit he points to, and thought I should post an update. My mind no longer seems so interested in solving problems by smoking cigarettes. There are still things that make me think of smoking, but not the things people warn about. Here's an example. I think "Wouldn't it be nice to rent a house on the east coast of Florida for the winter and do a lot of body surfing?" My mind thinks: Cigarettes! I issue a correction. "No cigarettes, sorry."
Okay, so I can deal with that one. Now, here's another automatic response. I'm on my walk, pumping lots of oxygen, turning it into carbon dioxide, and feeling really good. My mind generates a limiting comment. "But you're killing yourself by smoking." A moment of depression. Then I remember: "No I'm not!" In other words I'm not doing anything overt to kill myself now. A nice difference.
If you've never smoked you have no idea how weird it is.
In mid-June, Megnut wrote a definitive piece entitled What We're Doing When We Blog. So many others skim the surface and make superficial statements about weblogs, but miss that there is something going on both at a techical level, and at a democracy and citizenship level. Weblogs are deceptively simple and not easy to grasp. They give a voice to people with big experience. Lots more to say about this.
I got a great political action plan from an anonymous wage slave in the entertainment industry. Well worth reading, contains some stimulating thoughts. Thanks!
Don Larson sent a letter to his Congressperson.
Eric Norlin is getting pounded by wiener boys. Our best wishes to Eric. I find wearing garlic wards them off.
Remember what it was like being a teen, looking for role models, trying on other people's lives as one might try on a shirt, hat, or pair of sunglasses. It's really interesting to watch that process, in real-time, on young Aaron Swartz's weblog. He's self-aware as he tries on Richard Stallman's life. "How human Stallman is. As people asked him long questions he would practice his dance steps. He'd make jokes about everything. I could really see being him." The rest of the post is interesting too. I totally don't get how writing software for users and not giving it all away is anti-freedom, but that's not the point of this link. Live and let live. To each his own. Big wheel keep on turning.
Mo Nickles: "Safire also has a tendency to 'crown' etymologies (as opposed to coin): he'll claim one as the source of a word or phrase, rather than the likely source."
SJ Merc: Ailing valley searches its soul. Let's stop feeling sorry for ourselves. We're still the technology capital. Let's make some products and have fun. The 90s really sucked here. We lost our way. It was better in the 80s, before our leaders became rock stars. Make technology products.
NY Times: Venture Capitalists Are Taking the Gloves Off. What a bunch of losers. The VCs should be apologizing for wrecking the high tech business, instead they're getting tough. Route around them.
Dan Gillmor: "If you or I asked Congress for permission to legally hack other people's computers, we'd be laughed off Capitol Hill. Then we'd be investigated by the FBI and every other agency concerned with criminal violations of privacy and security."
Steve Michel: "Sign me up, I'll contribute whatever I can."
Did you watch the miner's rescue last night? What a surprise. CNN was betting on one of two unhappy endings. 1. They'd all be dead; or 2. There would be nothing there. What a surprise, they were all there, alive and in good health, rescued quickly and in the hospital recovering. A real-life story where everything went right. Ye-hi.
NY Times: "Each emerging miner, gleaming wet and grimy, was ordered by medical workers to lie down on a stretcher, even if he felt like dancing."
On this day two years ago Napster got a reprieve. Want to see what happy looks like on the Web? Check it out.
Eric Albert outlines a very reasonable plan for political action re Internet users' rights and the Berman bill. This is exactly the kind of input this political neophyte needs. Thanks!
Another kickass 1-hour walk today. This time I pushed for more vigor, it didn't hurt. Took the iPod with me, the tunes were very excellent. Thanks to the community for the gift. Now it's really making a diff.
A NY Times weblog article by Glenn Fleishman that I missed due to surgery.
Ernie the Attorney: "The copyright owner has to notify the Department of Justice 7 days in advance of taking action."
New to the blogging ecosystem, I'm a Crawly Amphibian, with 31 points, whatever that means. I'm going to learn about this now. I get it. It's like the Weblogs.Com Top-100, with InstaPundit's and VodkaPundit's blogrolls as the starting point. Nick Denton is an Adorable Little Rodent. Heh. Doc Searls is a Marauding Marsupial. It's interesting, because it's only one of several ecosystems. In their world I'm Hard To Get. I assume this means I don't point to many of the sites in their world. In my original ecosystem I bet I'm a total Link Slut.
Here's an idea we have to implement on Weblogs.Com.
Sheila: "I've been an ex-smoker since April 12, 1997." 1932 days.
I just read on David Watson's weblog that he was having trouble editing the templates for his Radio weblog using the browser form. Perhaps he didn't know that you can edit the templates in any text editor. Open the www sub-folder of the Radio folder, and look for #template.txt. Open it in your favorite editor, make a change, save, refresh your desktop website home page in the browser. If you don't like what you see, bring the editor to the front, choose Undo, save, refresh. The browser interface is there for newbies and for light tweaks. For serious template work, use a real text editor, you won't be sorry. Screen shot.
Slate: "Until recently, it's been difficult for a computer to ask a Web site for information."
Ed Cone: "Howard Berman, the other sponsor, also appears to be running unopposed."
Roland Piquepaille: "Peek-a-Booty allows people in Beijing to surf the Web freely."
In the Sunday NY Times, William Safire explains "blog." This takes the concept to a high level of acceptance in the English language (at least American English). I've been here before. In the 80s, with my brother, we got credit for "laptop" from Safire, but told the researcher that the word was already in use in the industry when we wrote about laptops in Byte in 1982 or so. I learned then that Safire is the authority on American English. So blog is now a very real word. It will be in the Oxford English Dictionary, and Safire has written it up. We all did something real. Jorn Barger, Blogger, the Frontier community. Congrats to one and all!
Jorn Barger: "Everyone should keep a weblog, if they have any interest in sharing their opinions with others." Amen.
Peter Merholz: "Does anyone know of any printed references to 'blog' in 1999 that discuss its coinage?"
Mary Wehmeier is going to a picnic in the San Fernando Valley this weekend, with a bunch of people who work in the entertainment industry in Howard Berman's congressional district. She points out something that's visible on the map of Berman's district --> a lot of the big entertainment companies are there. Of course, that's why he's their water boy! But the voters are the people who work at the companies. If they think their bosses are screwing the Internet here's the chance to send a message to Michael Eisner and Sumner Redstone. Feel powerless? If you're a voter in the San Fernando Valley, you aren't.
The San Fernando Library may prove a good resource for information about Berman's district.
Doc Searls comes from Coble's district in North Carolina.
Zappa: "Is that a real poncho or is that a Sears poncho?"
Prince: "Ha, toy, I don't serve ribs."
Bing! We got lucky. Ed Cone lives in North Carolina's 6th District. I think once I'm fully recovered, I'm going to devote myself to working with Ed, and people in the San Fernando Valley, to correct the problem in Washington. I gotta believe we can eliminate one or two Congressmen to make the point that computer users can't be taken for granted. Can we raise $5 million for this? It would be worth it.
Donald Larson suggested a name for our $5 million campaign group. iVote. It's cute. iDoVote. Believe me, that scares politicians. Wear a button saying you vote and they fucking listen. I kid you not.
BTW, I did my 1-hour walk today. And I went for the gusto. I got to the turning point where if I turn left I go up three hills in succession. It was those three hills that got me into the hospital and under the knife in June. Today I did them. No pain, no shortness of breath. Just a sweaty strong body. Man do I feel good!!
Questions questions questions. Can a small record label run a virus too, or just the monopolies? How about a software company? How about the Department of Justice? Can they install a virus on our systems to look for terrorism and report it back to the FBI? Do you think that would be constitutional? What if there's a conflict betw a record label's virus and a car dealer's virus, which one survives? Can a record label rent space in its virus to do someone else's bidding? Could they put an advertisement in their virus? Can I go to the bathroom while a virus is running? What information on my hard disk is private? What if I record my own MP3, can they erase that? Who pays for the bandwidth the virus uses? Does their virus have an implicit shrinkwrap agreement? Can Symantec defend against Hollywood's virus? Could an irate user write a virus that seeks out Michael Eisner's computer and destroys his data? What about Jack Valenti's computer? Hillary Rosen? Can we read their data? Do we have any privacy remaining after this law is passed?
Howard Berman: "I rise today to introduce legislation that will help stop peer-to-peer piracy." I rise in response to say you really stepped in it Berman. Everybody knows that viruses are bad. Welcome to the next Enron-level scandal. Maybe we can clean up Congress in November, if so, you're going to be the poster boy Howard.
The Register says that the MPAA's Jack Valenti is hedging on the Berman bill. "Somehow, Valenti failed to impress on the over-eager Berman's mind that this legislation is for media giants only."
Amy Wohl: "This is yet another example of corrupt politicians, paid by wealthy constituents to enact unfair laws."
Eric Norlin: "Palladium can prevent the Bill that this DaveNet is disgusted with." So can voters taking responsibility for their Representatives. We don't have to trust Bill Gates to prevent this Bill. We can just vote the bastards out of office. Every member of the House is up for re-election in three months.
Dave Cullen: "Three different leads I wrote for the same story, published on the NYT op-ed page June 15. You tell me which one you prefer."
Doc: "I'll be speaking in Dave's slot." Good choice. Doc's going to talk about the philosophy we share -- Ask not what the Internet can do for you, ask what you can do for the Internet. This is, as Martha Stewart says, A Good Thing. I only wish the US Congress could get behind that. Otherwise we're going to have to kill a lot of companies in Hollywood, and vote a lot of openly corrupt bums out of office. It ain't going to be pretty. By the way, that's our right as consumers and citizens. We're allowed to invoke the death penalty at a corporate and congressional level. The question is, do we have the courage to do it. (They're betting we don't.)
Kevin Werbach: "Anyone know of a good change notification tools that still exists?"
Christian Science: The Web didn't kill libraries. Cool!
Today's song: Mother's Little Helper. "'Mother needs something today, to calm her down; and though she's not really ill, there's a little yellow pill.."
AP: "Rep. Howard L. Berman, D-Calif., formally proposed legislation that would give the industry unprecedented new authority to secretly hack into consumers' computers or knock them off-line entirely if they are caught downloading copyrighted material." If this bill becomes law I'm going to join Saddam Hussein in calling for the destruction of the United States.
Bonus song: "If I had me a shotgun, I'd blow you straight to Hell."
A brief editorial. Commercial radio sucks. I want to program my own music. I am not a pirate. Fuck you. I've bought all the music I use, first on vinyl, then on cassette, then on CD. I'll pay again. PS: I vote.
Russell Beattie: "Would you like to do some AudioBlogging?"
Mary Wehmeier has a list of radio stations silenced by CARP. It's a very lonnnng list.
Pet peeve. People who send emails to people quitting smoking that explain how hard it is to quit, and how in all likelihood, you'll fail. These people are total assholes. Even worse, they're lying. Don't believe them. When you get such an email send them an email back with a pointer to this post.
Dear asshole. Stop discouraging my friend. He (or she) is quitting smoking in order to live a longer, happier life. I totally support that. Your bullshit is interfering. Please stop now and have a nice day.
It's easy to quit. The first week it's physical, after that, it's all in your mind. When you want a cigarette, acknowledge that. "My mind is telling me that it wants a cigarette." Breathe. In and out. Again and again. Walk around. Drink some water. Chew on pen. Breathe. The desire passes. Resume your life. You can do it.
BTW, this is a non-smoking weblog since June 14, 2002.
Paul Andrews: "I'd feel more optimistic about R&D at Microsoft if the company could point to a single successful original product to emerge from R&D expenditure."
NY Times: "The stock market fell today as it struggled to hold on to some of Wednesday's stunning gains after two weeks of severe losses." Dow down 5.
News.Com: ACLU to put DMCA on Trial. "I don't want to go to jail," said Edelman, who graduated from Harvard in June, and who plans to study law there this fall. "I want to go to law school."
A couple of weeks ago I said I don't understand books about weblogs. Double-click. How do you write about a book about the Web if it isn't on the Web? All you can do is write a very short review, unless you want to try to explain what the book is saying. Well, writing for weblogs doesn't work that way. I want to link to the source so you can read for yourself exactly what they're saying, not my paraphrasing of it. If all I can do is link to a page where you can buy the book, well, okay, I'll do that once or maybe twice, but if it's on the Web, and indexed by search engines, it can come up over and over. So I think the BlogRoots folks did the right thing. Their book will be studied, examined, probed and questioned by the weblog community, as they release chapters on a regular basis over the coming weeks. Will their book sell? We'll find out when it's published. I'll buy a copy to support the idea of books being dual-published on the Web and in print. It's a good idea, in general, but it's essential for books about the Web.
Health note. I will not be going to San Diego for the Open Source Convention. Best wishes to the people who are there. It sounds like a great show. The O'Reilly people have been very helpful and understanding. My next public appearance in the industry will be at Seybold, on Sept 11 in San Francisco where I will lead a discussion about web services in the publishing industry. Amazon and Google are confirmed, we're now working on Apple and Microsoft.
SJ Merc on the last days of Gene Kan's life.
InfoWorld: "Microsoft's Bill Gates kicked off the company's annual Financial Analysts Day here Thursday by announcing the company will boost R&D spending by 20 percent from $4.3 billion in FY 02 to $5.2 billion in FY 03."
NY Times: "Microsoft is now locked in competition with small start-up companies that originally pioneered the Web services field." I assume Markoff means UserLand, although we're hardly a startup and I don't see anyone locked in competition with them over web services. Microsoft clearly does not understand what they're used for. With all possible humility, if they want to get going in a productive direction with this stuff, let's reconvene the group that started the work in 1998, and plot out the next steps. No doubt the development and runtime environment that MS has developed in the interim will play a role, but there's more to it, and less, than Microsoft said there is, two years ago. There's a killer demo the reporters and analysts (and users) should be seeing, but aren't.
Frank Schaap wrote an evangelical essay about directions for Salon and weblogs.
According to results from last night's survey, the stock market has not hit bottom. Hold or sell, say the voters. John Robb says a contrarian would buy on the results of this survey, but that the summer months are not a good bet for a rebound.
NY Times: Setting Up a Weblog. Q. How do I set up a Weblog of my own?
Note to the Times. A correction. Weblogs.Org is not a UserLand site. It's confusing, perhaps because the site is managed with Radio and uses the default theme for Radio sites, but it is owned by Dan Geiser, one of our customers. It'll be interesting to see how the Times handles this.
Glenn Reynolds sent me a pointer to Andrea See's quit-smoking weblog. I believe in this. For me, writing this weblog while I'm recuperating is very good therapy. If you've never smoked you might not understand. I'll try to explain.
When you're smoking, the cigarettes tell you many lies, including this one: "If you ever stop, you won't be able to do the things you love to do." Well, needless to say, I can write prose without smoking, I've proved that right here on Scripting News. I haven't tried to write code yet without it, but I'm sure I can do that too.
Here's another interesting angle. I started smoking when I was a virgin. So until I quit, on 6/14/02, I had never had sex as a non-smoker. I won't go into details, but it's quite a bit better without the cigarettes.
I tried a new approach last night with some of the leading flamers and their friends -- an appeal to pity.
I begged "Can the flamers take a vacation please. I am recuperating from serious surgery. If you have an ounce of kindness, now would be a good time to deploy it."
It's starting to get ridiculous, there is no mail list or discussion group I can participate in without the flamers tracking me down. And they were trying to interfere with the new Salon weblogs project. These guys are real soldiers. I show some weakness, and they attack. Man.
Postscript. Two of them, believe it or not, are pushing back on this simple request. Oy.
Richard Rybolt: "There will be a time when loud-mouthed, incompetent people seem to be getting the best of you. When that happens, you only have to be patient and wait for them to self destruct. It never fails."
DaveNet: Our Deal with Salon.
Survey: Are we at a market bottom?
WorldCom Magazine has a great article on blogging.
Scott Rosenberg is a NBB. (Natural Born Blogger.)
Shane Michaelson wants web services for eBay.
I just had the weirdest (nice) experience this afternoon. I went out for my daily walk. I'm up to 45 minutes now. A big SUV stops and I'm greeted by a smiling man. It's my cardiologist. He says "We always check up on our patients." Heh. Of course it was just a coincidence. I love my daily walks. At the beginning they're hard and painful. By the end I'm feeling just great. Another fifteen minutes and I'm exercising the amount I want to, and then it's time to up the speed and distance.
Evan Williams: "I'm at my wits end trying to keep my life and business and web sites minimally functioning."
BTW, a note to the wiener boys. Check out Evan's post congratulating us and Salon on the deal. He sees it as a win for the weblog world, and I do too. A few people have tried to stir up shit betw us and Pyra, but it's never existed. I like Evan, we've always gotten along, at a personal level, and that's been going on for a long time, and I don't see it stopping any time soon.
News.Com quotes Microsoft's Bill Gates saying that .NET hasn't achieved the goals they set two years ago.
Reuters: "Investors rummaged through the wreckage left by the financial storm that has hit Wall Street in recent weeks, looking for bargain stocks after the market was slammed to five-year lows." The Dow closed up 488.
BBC: "Biggest one day gain in almost 15 years."
I guess the market likes the deal we did with Salon!
AP: "AOL disclosed that the SEC was looking into a series of transactions that boosted the company's revenues."
Sean Gallagher: "I tried the other day to explain what web services were to a non-technical friend. His eyes wandered. He grew distracted. A shiny object captured his attention. I gave up." Uh huh.
Warren Buffet: "CEO's don't need 'independent' directors, oversight committees or auditors absolutely free of conflicts of interest. They simply need to do what's right."
Glenn Reynolds: "Dude, I'm gettin' screwed."
Press release: "Salon Media Group, in partnership with UserLand Software, today announced the launch of Salon Blogs, a new service that will allow Salon's users to publish their own weblogs through Salon."
Scott Rosenberg: "One reason I'm glad Salon and UserLand are working together is that, from what I can see, both are independent companies, survivors in fields dominated by unresponsive giants, and both are driven foremost by passion -- on Salon's part, for good online journalism, and on UserLand's part, for great software." Amen.
Liz: "Weblog. SalonWeblog. The mind boggles, so it does."
News.Com: "Congress is about to consider an entertainment industry proposal that would authorize copyright holders to disable PCs used for illicit file trading."
Beau Lebens did something obvious that no one else thought of -- he put a REST-style interface on the Google API. Heh.
A reminder that KDE supports XML-RPC, and was on board very early in the process. Since then I have become friends with the ever-present and effervescent Miguel de Icaza of Gnome, who is driving a lot of open source resources behind Microsoft's new operating system. KDE may not have a champion like Miguel, but their heart is in the right place. Thanks for the support.
Gerd Kortuem of the Wearable Computing Lab at the Univ of Oregon writes: "You might be interested to know that the regular Scripting News mailing I receive are classified as spam by SpamAssassin, an Unix-based spam mail filter." Thanks.
John, Jake and Lawrence: This is going to be a FAQ.
About a year ago talking with John Robb I lamented that I get so much hate mail. John said "Dave you're a rock star." I didn't like that answer, but he was right. With thousands of readers, there are a couple of dozen who think I write just for them, and they hate me and what I say, and express it constantly and in great volume. But when I got sick, I learned a lot, not just about myself and people who were friends, but people who had been my most vocal and at times unfair and abusive critics.
I said to one of my detractors, in a private email, after he expressed concern on my return from the hospital: "Life matters, right?" and he agreed. He probably would have been one of the people to join the latest Dave-bash-fest over on Queso, in normal times, but he didn't participate this time around. These are the silent signs of progress, worth noting. The person knows who he is, and presumably will read this. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. If you'd like to acknowledge this on your weblog, I'd be happy to point to it.
There are other signs of people with good hearts. I am glad to see people put their animus aside. That's how we heal. Let's agree that life is more important than anything, without it there's nothing to discuss, no progress can be made.
Being kind to each other doesn't have to interfere with being true to ourselves; please let's do the extra work to find out where the anger is coming from, and try not to be angry at someone, esp not me. It's okay to have anger, just don't direct it at anything or anyone, that's a better way to go. Nobody's perfect, especially not me. So if you find an imperfection, try to love it. I'm not your father or mother, sister or brother, you don't know me very well. Express yourself, but keep a respectful distance, and all will be well.
Finally there's a myth that men are strong, we can take it. Well, I learned in a new way in June that that isn't true. My body came close to breaking, but thankfully it didn't. I got another chance. I'm not going to waste my remaining time arguing with a small number of selfish people. I have love to give for people who want to heal themselves. But for people who want to hurt me, I have nothing more to give.
Scott Rosenberg, Salon's managing editor, has a new weblog, and it's very nice. I've known Scott for quite a few years, he wrote one of the first articles about weblogs, in May 1999. His weblog is edited with Radio UserLand, and that makes me proud. You can subscribe to Scott's weblog with Radio's news aggregator. Stay tuned for more Salon weblog links.
Jake: "So far I have yet to notice any problems, but if you happen to see something go wrong, click the comment link below, and let us know."
Phillip Pearson is keeping a running commentary on the new blogs appearing at blogs.salon.com.
Heh heh *cough* tease *cough* heh heh.
Something to relax about -- today the Dow Jones went down by less than 100 points. Meanwhile, famous Jewish author Chaim Potok died at 73; and the war in the Middle East is escalating. There's been much discussion why we hold Israel to a higher standard than others. The reason is that we're their closest ally, and our values must be reflected in their actions, if they want to continue to enjoy our support.
Best wishes to Jim Roepcke's dad, who just went through some heavy-duty surgery.
Here's something interesting. The Hot-Or-Not folks are now rating weblogs. Nice.
Jon Udell: "To turn knowledge into some kind of deprecated highbrow fantasy seems a terrible shame." Amen.
Reuters: "People are thinking why buy it today when you can buy it cheaper tomorrow."
Roland Piquepaille tunes into the subtext in Bill Gates's email to millions of Internet users last week.
Patrick Logan and Sam Gentile push back on Paul Andrews' assessment of .NET. Perhaps I can shed some light. Paul is a user and a journalist, not a developer. Two years ago Microsoft started making a lot of claims about .NET including some specific ship dates and features, that they have missed. Paul isn't responsible for explaining to readers the why's and wherefore's, and it's good that he is checking up on their delivery, so perhaps next time big companies like MS make grand proclamations about their dominance, they'll be taken with a few more grains of salt, and not clear the landscape of all innovation until they ship, or fail to. It's happened over and over. Paul has been around the loop enough to have seen it a few times. And he's generally a Microsoft booster, not a detractor.
BTW, a note to people who don't like criticism, and this is not about Microsoft, who generally takes it pretty well, all things considered. If you get some criticism, that's not a bad thing. Try to listen. On the other hand, if you're giving criticism, don't make it personal unless really is. Most people try to do the best they can. Even Bill Gates probably thought they were going to ship a revolution with .NET in a quarter or two. Human beings make mistakes, all of us.
BBC: "US shares opened slightly higher on Tuesday, but have got a very long way to climb to recover the previous day's heavy falls."
Mary Wehmeier: "I am an AOL Surviver."
Mike Chambers: "I am going to be testing a simple Flash Communication Server app on Wednesday (July 24) at 1PM Eastern, and need some (a lot) of people to join to see how it handles the bandwidth. The app basically allows me to broadcast to everyone who is connected."
Greg Burch is a Macromedia engineer with a new weblog.
Please take note. I edit in public. You may catch me saying something that I change my mind about later. When I see it on SN it looks different than when I type it in my outliner.
You may not like this. Your sole recourse is to complain about it, over and over, in every possible forum, and say I'm corrupt or that you're threatened by this, but (key point) that won't change the way I write.
I strongly suggest that people who don't like this immediately stop reading this site.
JY: "Some times you'll have to make a disclaimer that you can go and have a pee between 2 posts." I disclaim that too. Thanks for the reminder!
Paolo wonders if there is or was a rule that Web writing can't change. I responded in the comments section of his post.
"I think the moral of the story is that being too relative in your writing is bad form. If your work depends on other work not changing, you're not loosely coupled. If one were to write a definition of the Web, loose coupling would be part of it."
Check with David Weinberger, if you don't believe me.
On this day last year, Noah Shachtman of Wired News wondered if Napster was the answer. "We may look back and say, 'If there had been a way for the music companies to come to peace with Napster, then we might be at a very different, (better) place,'" one label executive said, requesting anonymity. "I'm worried that some of the offerings (the labels are coming up with) might be too little, too late." Yup yup yup yup yup. It's as if the personal computer revolution had been halted in its tracks by an organization hell-bent on making sure spreadsheets and word processors never gained traction.
On this day three years ago, Scott Rosenberg of Salon reported on an Industry Standard conference he attended, which, with the benefit of hindsight, was one of the last dotcom-boom conferences. What a trip that was. It's great that Salon's archives are still there to tell the story, even if the Standard is gone, and so are many of the people in the story.
"Revenues? We don't need no stinkin' revenues!"
BBC report on warchalking.
Two new Radio themes from Bryan Bell, inspired by Movable Type's templates.
Mark Pilgrim's series of articles about accessibility becomes a Web-based book.
NY Times: "After a small rally when the market opened, stocks resumed their sharp decline today and then attempted to recover."
Hey I was named the 16th most powerful person in IT this year, between Tim O'Reilly and Miguel de Icaza. They say that even though we worked with Microsoft on SOAP long before it was fashionable, I still give them hell for making it proprietary. I guess that's kind of a short hand for saying that I don't mind criticizing them, when it's called for, because that's one of the few things that Microsoft hasn't done as far as I know.
NY Times: What Will Halt the Skid on Wall Street?
USA Today: "More than 200 Internet-based radio stations have shut down because of a royalty fee that takes effect in September, and more are closing daily."
InfoWorld: AOL Time Warner struggles to avoid hard fall.
Self-induced fall. Briefly, to recount. The bubble of the 90s was due to misdirected enthusiasm over technology. AOL, a leader, hasn't kept pace. Microsoft will overtake them if they don't refocus on giving new features and performance to users. The music industry, of which AOL is a major player, holds some if not all of the keys. They refuse to use them to give the users what they want. AOL should also be investing heavily in writable-web technology. When we look back five years from now, after MS forecloses on the music industry for pennies on the dollar, we'll realize that AOL, like Netscape, actually had the lead when it capitulated. If anyone at AOL understands this it's Steve Case. I wonder if anyone is listening to him there. I wonder if he has the stomach for it, given the recent tragedy in his family.
Anil Dash: "Dear whomever replaces Bob Pittman.."
Information Week: Are You Blogging Yet?
John Hiler wrote a very long article about different kinds of blogging software and tries to piece together the history. Some things he says Perl got first actually were done first in Manila, in the seminal year of 1999. And you don't need to buy Manila to get comments in your Radio weblog, the service is included in the $39.95. Jorn Barger, the person credited with coining the term "weblog" used the NewsPage suite in Frontier, he didn't do his weblog by hand as Hiler says. It's possible that Jorn still uses Frontier. I suspect there are (many) other factual errors in this very long piece, but I also suspect that Hiler would be willing to correct them. The source of many of his errors appears to be Rebecca Blood's history of weblogs, which he references and points to. We're going to be fixing her bugs for years to come it seems.
Congrats to Groove and Microsoft on their latest deal. "Groove Workspace provides offline access to SharePoint information and collaboration while providing end-users a simple and secure means to move that experience across firewalls, without the need to deploy servers in the DMZ."
Interesting thread on Ben Hammersley's syndication weblog. A competitor takes issue with a feature of Radio, we let people post weblog items that don't have a title and/or link. Of course users can include a title and link, but they don't have to. Lots of people, myself included, post items to our weblogs that don't have obvious titles, and may link to two or more other pages (and sometimes none). The thread eventually got to the core of the issue. Coool.
NY Times: "The Internet may not be doing so great on Wall Street, but it's doing great on Main Street."
Paul Andrews: "What happened to .NET? Microsoft's flagship strategy for 'any time, anywhere computing from any device' has sunk like a stone. By now we were supposed to be seeing initial .NET applications, but the new rallying cry seems to be for Palladium, a security initiative that has met with the same skepticism and resistance from the developer community that .NET inspired. At its worst, Palladium looks to be a sop to Hollywood and its efforts to control digital content."
BBC: "Just as still video camera discs and laser discs have become mere technological curiosities in less than a decade, it's a sure bet than many of the storage media that are used today - cartridges with names like Jaz, Zip, Syquest, Bernoulli, state of the art CD-R and DVD-R discs, and the tiny SmartMedia, Compact Flash, Memory Stick, Secure Digital, Multi Media Card, and MicroDrive storage cards - will be obsolete and hard to access in a few decades' time."
Last year on this day I reviewed John Gray's Men are from Mars, etc. To Anil Dash, this is how I generally do reviews. Not a whole lot of detail. Just a judgement with a little spin. Rarely much more than that. Why? Well, I say what I have to say and leave it at that. Further, the attention span of Web readers is pretty limited. So more words are worth less, fewer words, worth more. Have a nice day.
7/22/99: "Just because we have websites and 24-hour news feeds doesn't mean we don't get lonely, hungry and horny."
NY Times: "President Bush is off to the worst start of any president in 75 years as measured by the Standard & Poor's 500 index."
Yet another Bloggers vs Journalists story. What a mess.
Sam Ruby has been pondering the philosophies of SOAP and REST. I appreciate the effort he and others are putting into this. On Friday I spoke with the people at Amazon who did their Web Services stuff. I said they did a Good Thing by giving the REST folk what they wanted, and also giving the SOAP folk what they wanted. The actual interfaces matter not one bit. The goal is to enable developers to build apps on your services. If a significant number of developers want you to use a cottage cheese and chicken fat interface, I say go for it.
Paolo writes about Apple immigrants. "These people were true Mac nerds, but for some reason switching to Windows they didn't become Windows nerds but simply Windows users." Attsa me, Dave Winer. I use Windows, exactly as I used to use a Mac. I resigned as a Mac user, not over Amelio, as Paolo says, but over the religion. I like using a computer just as a computer. Apple could have kept me, if they had embraced the standards of the Web. Instead they tried to get the Web to balkanize over QuickTime, Cyberdog and OpenDoc. Yuck. I went with the mainstream. Apple's proposition was more slavery, the Web offered an enticing freedom, for a while, until Microsoft killed Netscape. Oh well. It's too much trouble to learn a new OS now. Why bother.
I got another great gift yesterday, the first season of The Sopranos on DVD. I watched the first four episodes yesterday. It's all new content for me. Great stuff.
Papa Doc: "What KPIG deserves from the RIAA is a fucking award, not a knife in the heart." Doc, this is why the stock market is tanking. Common sense is not part of how our businesses work. Clearly KPIG was pushing the envelope, honorably, into a new channel for distribution of music. The music industry, run by a bunch of people who probably understand music about as well as Steve Case and his little buddy do, stuff a cork up the ass of the distribution channel, and then complain about all the shit that's splattered all over the place. That there's demand for music delivered over the Internet is totally obvious. For the 18th time in eight years, we're waiting for the idiots to get out of the way and let the goddam business develop.
NY Times: "If consumers shut their wallets, hope for an economic recovery goes out the window."
Steve Outing wrote a very deep article about weblogs and professional journalism.
A great parody of Apple's TV ads. "My dad used to beat me with his PC."
Rush Limbaugh says Apple makes a great product but that Steve Jobs has his head up his butt. Hey when Rush says you're stupid, that sounds like a compliment to me.
Dvorak: "The retraction in corporate confidence began shortly after the dot-com bust, which left the industry filled with marketing people who know nothing about marketing or even selling."
Paolo: "SharedOutline is a Radio UserLand tool that lets you share outlines with other users."
NY Times editorial: "Before anyone gets too excited about the restoration of Time Warner culture, it is worth remembering that it was Time Warner management that blundered into the AOL deal in the first place."
John Robb: "The gain in homes over the next decade will make your head spin."
On this day three years ago: "The Bees are back. Every year I write about them when they reappear. Every year they teach a different lesson."
I got a briefing yesterday from some Microsoft people on Palladium. It was an interesting but depressing meeting. They're putting a lot of effort into something that no one I know wants. There are few if any developers to validate the idea. Any developer with a mind is going to stay out of Microsoft's program, remembering this is the company that cuts off the air supply of its successful developers. This is a tragedy, because MS is a PR-conscious company, that at its core probably wants developers, but in the heat of their war with Netscape and Sun, and then the DOJ, forgot their mission and lost their way. Now the software business is a wrecked landscape. They're producing products as if it were not. That won't work.
Net-net, if you want developers, you have to work really hard over a long time to get some trust so there can be some triangulation on your ideas. As it stands, there's no way to know if the claims MS makes are credible. Absent any way to know, I'm going to assume the worst. Unfortunately, based on the history of the last ten years, that's the only reasonable assumption one can make about Microsoft.
If there was ever any doubt that there's a diff betw DN and SN, as of now, that's erased.
Yesterday, I wrote very briefly, about my medical situation, and smoking cessation, in a DaveNet piece. A huge amount of concerned, and very sweet, email is coming back. Now, that's not a difference, the people who read Scripting News have been fucking wonderful in their support and encouragement, but it's a different quality. People who are in the DaveNet loop tend to be older, and have known me longer, sometimes much longer. It seems the DaveNet people are more concerned. I want to tell them I've already been through the worst of it. But then again, from their point of view, as non-daily Dave-readers, they're going through the worst part right now. Who am I to deprive them of their shock, grief and whatever else they're experiencing.
As I wrote a few days ago, to SN readers, my sudden absence was very much like a sudden death. To the extent that readers project a familial relationship (inevitable, we're all human) the feeling of loss is immediate. You can see the same thing in the thread on Queso. Everyone processes grief in a different way. Some people rally, putting the past behind them and others hold on. I have a theory that if you go through a challenging medical situation in your family, you're better prepared for such situations outside your family. I've certainly seen that both in my family and among my friends, both online and in meatspace. To the people who are still troubled, let it go -- I'm going to be okay, but different. I wrote about this in Programmers, in May 1997. Here are a couple of quotes.
1. "This is not one of your ancestors (unless it actually is) and they are not behaving just like someone you know very well."
2. "Just when you think you know someone, they change."
Those are keys to consciousness, imho. In reality, this thing you experience as a "person" is actually just a series of zeros and ones traveling over an HTTP connection. That's point one. And it's even worse than it appears, because this virtual person is changing all the time. "Wheeee," I used to say, but don't anymore.
I'm doing everything I can to feel better, and live a long time.
Maybe it'll work maybe it won't.
PS: People give me shit for editing my copy on my weblog. Well, you try taking the risks I do on yours and see if you don't want to tweak it up every once in a while.
DaveNet: A new beginning.
Tim O'Reilly: Amazon Web Services API.
NY Times: "The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted more than 4.5 percent, breaking sharply below its post-Sept 11 closing low. Before it bounced back slightly at the end, the Dow flirted with closing below the 8,000 level for the first time since 1998. Today's sell-off dealt the Dow its eighth weekly loss in nine weeks."
Mark Pilgrim concludes his 30 Days to a More Accessible Weblog series of posts. What an excellent resource this will be in the future. Thanks Mark.
Jon Udell reviews Traction, which, according to Jon, is "best described as an enterprise Weblog system."
Tim Jarrett did AppleScript glue for the Amazon web services using SOAP.
Steve MacLaughlin hits the funny bone with his MasterCard treatment of the disaster at AOL-Time-Warner.
NY Times: "Meanwhile, where is Steve Case?"
Two years ago on this day. "The problem is two-fold. Evan has a brain, and integrity."
Guardian Unlimited is "launching the first competition to find the best British weblog. The winner will receive a cash prize of £1,000 and five runners-up will receive £100 each." I'd nominate Nick Denton, but he's living in NYC. What about Ben Hammersley. Hmm. Edd Dumbill. Paul Andrews, who's not a Brit, suggests that other newspapers should do the same in their geographies.
Thanks to Rogers Cadenhead for the supportive comment in the thread at Queso. There's been a bunch of the usual mindless stuff, as if this environment were sixth grade, or maybe kindergarten. The thread began with a question about proper credit for the invention of the weblog, and it wandered into the usual humiliation and abuse one commonly sees on open discussion groups.
Yesterday I was interviewed about weblogs, maybe for the 800th time, and I said again that the diff betw weblogs and mail lists (and Usenet) is that anyone can have the last word any day on a weblog. Five hundred people can have the last word. The stop energy is much lower. But the greed and intellectual dishonesty in the weblog world is something I'm thinking about a lot while I'm on sabbatical. I'm not allowed to develop software until I've recovered from my surgery. I'm wondering whether I should continue after I've recovered.
Without cigarettes to numb me out, it might hurt too much. UserLand will continue, if I have anything to say about it; although the software business is tough. But the question is, will Dave, at age 47, with a body that's already shown serious signs of wear and tear, risk going back into the fray. It's going to be a tough decision. I still have some more ideas about networks of writers and stuff like that, but the cost at a personal level can be so high.
NY Times: Pittman Resigns at AOL. "His departure signals a recognition that the merger of equals now appears to be a vast monument to mania of the Internet boom."
Washington Post: "AOL converted legal disputes into ad deals. It negotiated a shift in revenue from one division to another, bolstering its online business. It sold ads on behalf of online auction giant eBay Inc, booking the sale of eBay's ads as AOL's own revenue. AOL bartered ads for computer equipment in a deal with Sun Microsystems Inc. AOL counted stock rights as ad and commerce revenue in a deal with a Las Vegas firm called PurchasePro.com Inc."
BBC: AOL denies improper accounting. "The media group has dismissed a Washington Post report that it engaged in improper accounting as factually 'flawed' and 'misleading.'" That's not a denial.
Fascinating thread on H-T-P on Apple as a platform vendor.
Guardian: "No search engine, no matter how good, can be all things to all people."
Simon Fell is trying to get AppleScript to work in Radio. "Is there any way to have it work without requiring the dummy parameter?"
Press release: "Civil libertarian John Gilmore today challenged as unconstitutional a secret federal rule that requires domestic US travelers to identify themselves."
Jon Udell: Forgotten software, space junk.
Sheila Lennon: "My mom died at 3:15 this morning. Wide awake, I opened my blog and started stripping the page. I put a picture of her on the Web. Then I wrote her obituary for tomorrow's paper. My brother and I emailed each other all night." Best wishes Sheila.
On this day last year Apple announced they would support SOAP and XML-RPC natively in Mac OS X.
Aaron Swartz: "I applaude Apple on their beautiful user interfaces, clever implementations of ideas, and innovations in products. I just wish they'd do something to help out the rest of us."
Today I woke up with no pain. A major healing milestone. For the last few days the pain has been very much in my way. I rationalized this as good news -- the feeling is coming back. For a few days I wondered if it was going in the right direction. Everything is so subjective. The observer is the feeler of the pain. To everyone else it seems like I'm fully recovered. Not true. Well, it's confusing for sure. I'm still trying to figure out if I can travel to San Diego for the Open Source Convention next week. I have a doctor's appt tomorrow, that will be one of the topics we discuss. BTW, for some reason today every thought is about cigarettes. My subconscious seems to have forgotten that we quit that nasty life-shortening habit.
Phillip J. Windley: "I believe that the 900 or so IT employees of the State of Utah would benefit from speaking and listening to each other more." Bravo!
Thoughts about the stock market. I rarely make predictions, at least in public. Last November I had all my liquid assets in stocks, and I sold them, turning them into cash, in US dollars, locking in some substantial losses. At first, it was not a good decision, but in the last few weeks I've come to appreciate it. I saved a lot of money. Today I had a flash that the market is at or near its bottom now. I don't think it's going to go up very quickly, but I think the precipitous fall is over. We've factored in the lack of trust of management of companies. Greenspan's comments, referenced below, really made a difference to me. From this point we'll get much better information about how the companies are doing. Stock options are over. Salaries and benefits matter. Transparent management. Time to ride the Cluetrain, for real. Companies that make identifiable products for real people that they communicate with. And responsibility among shareholders and customers and journalists, as well.
Somehow the information technology industry, which is still riding Moore's curve, should be able to make some lemonade out of this. We're learning about the pitiful information technology at the SEC and the FBI. They desperately need the combo of weblogs and search engines. Their legacy systems are horribly out of date. Off to the glue factory. Meanwhile the general stagnation in the software industry, which is the core the western economy now, is a huge problem, and people aren't even talking about it. We're stuck behind a horribly inefficient system for trying out new ideas. A Hollywood movie gets much more funding than a breakthrough software idea. That seems out of whack to me. The venture capital industry doesn't get money into the hands of the unemployed technologists in Silicon Valley. We could do so much better than we are doing. There are so many people who now would appreciate a good job with a nice steady salary and a health plan. OK, the VCs don't want to make that kind of investment. Who does??
Apparently my ghost has been haunting Brent Simmons. Sorry bout that.
Sam Ruby: "As long as it is interoperable, I am happy."
Russell Beattie: "Not one of my Spanish co-workers knew who Steve was."
NY Times: "The man who gave us 'irrational exuberance' is back, with a phrase that sums up the late 1990's even better than that one did."
I'm still getting the nicest emails. It's so weird, I did get really sick, but I survived. But for all the people who just know me through the Web, it was as if, in every sense, I died. Now it's cool for me (and I guess you too) that I didn't, but what's really strange is that I got to find out, in some sense, what people will say about me when I really die. ;-> Don't get me wrong, I'm not in any hurry, but I hope the good vibe lasts. It reminds me of a lesson I learned a couple of years ago when my teacher died, something he taught, and something I inferred from his teachings. Don't waste energy mourning the dead, if you can help it. They're gone. It's better to honor people while they're alive. That's something you can build on. It can be hard to say nice things about people who are alive, or to recognize their accomplishments, but it's almost meaningless after they're gone. Say and do the honorable things while life is here.
I'd like to especially thank Jason Kottke for the very kind words he said about me on Jason Levine's discussion group. After Sept 11, I've tried reaching out; not just to Kottke, but to all the second-wave bloggers, to say bygones are bygones, and let's move on. For some reason, people have tried at times to write me out of stories I wrote. Kottke says clearly this was wrong, in his post. Thanks. No grudges held, even though Levine infers that they are. However, as long as self-proclaimed historians like Rebecca Blood tell the wrong story, I'm going to keep pushing back. I work openly and share my ideas. One of the risks of doing that is that people don't place a high value on your contribution. It should be the other way around, imho.
Geek Culture: "We're all fuckheads sometimes." So true.
Sippey is doing something really cool on his weblog.
Interesting note on John Robb's weblog about Alan Greenspan's number crunching that routes around the noise added by corrupt management. "We do have a set of profits data which, for all practical purposes, are free of spin," says the Federal Reserve chief.
xmlhack is "the editor of choice for hack 'n slashing your XML files."
Mark Pilgrim did Python glue for the Amazon web services announced yesterday. A few comments. First, it's very good to see Amazon supporting SOAP and doing it in the same way that Google did. I've initiated a conversation with Amazon, I want them to present on Web Services Day at Seybold in Sept. (I'm also going to invite Google and Apple.) Now about the Frontier/Radio glue for Amazon. I'm not programming in July, probably not in August either, getting my health back, etc. So if we want glue for Amazon, it's got to come from the community. Please follow the example of system.verbs.apps.google. A demo app like the Google boxes, and a brief tutorial for newbies. It doesn't have to take long. We have a good template.
From 7/17/97, a wonderful prank you can try in an elevator in your hometown. "A friend and I used to get on at different floors; when we were both on, one of us would say, 'Anyone want to trade shirts?' Then we'd exchange shirts and watch the reactions."
Carter Family: "Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, keep on the sunny side of life."
NY Times: "Prices of blue-chip stocks fell for the seventh consecutive session yesterday, as investors and traders ignored generally reassuring comments from the Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan."
Press release: "Today Amazon.com launched its first version of Amazon.com Web Services, a platform for creating innovative Web solutions and services designed specifically for developers and web site owners."
Peter Drayton looks into the Amazon API.
Ben Brown: "What I'd really like to see is a book about how to stop blogging. With twelve steps."
Jacob Reider: "I was teaching a class of medical students today and somehow we got onto the topic of physicians as decisionmakers. The best medical care, I argued. is provided by those who make the best decisions. This is why I'm so interested in medical informatics."
Shelia's back behind the firewall, blogging for bucks, and has uncovered a new advocacy group for people like you and me.
Today's movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. What to say. I read the book. The Quiddich match was cool. Tears at the end. Nice story, nice movie. Blah blah blah.
Wired: "Seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, with mild to moderate memory loss, are writing weblogs to help them make sense of their daily lives. And the activity, they say, is slowing the onset of their symptoms."
Jon Udell: "Nobody is going to miss visiting O'Hare."
Happy 31st birthday to Brian Buck. He is such an inspiration. Enjoy the tiramisu Brian.
Two years ago today we had a TranceFest™ on Scripting News. It was a very interesting exercise. First I showed everyone a picture, and asked them to write stories explaining what the people were doing in the picture. Then I asked why there were no women in the picture. More stories. Then I showed another picture from the same event that had a woman in it. The interesting part is this. Everyone will see a different story given the same information. It's like Don's Amazing Puzzle, but personal. Basically you'll see the story of the house you grew up in. Someone in the story will play the role of your Mom, even if there's no woman in the picture. It's funny how the subconscious fills in detail, even when no information is present.
John Robb recommends the Bay Area Futurists, meeting the third Friday of every month in San Mateo, starting this Friday. Meanwhile John is on a roll this morning. He says that almost everyone with a net worth of more than $2 million made their fortune by bending or breaking the rules. Of course I am the exception to that rule, assuming I still have a net worth in excess of $2 million, which is somewhat questionable.
OK, let's deconstruct a myth. Someone says that weblogs aren't journalism. OK, suppose a journalist has a weblog. When that journalist writes something on the weblog, therefore, it must not be journalism. Suppose the journalist writes exactly the same words on her weblog that she writes in a column in the newspaper she writes for. In one place it's journalism and in the other it's not? Hmmm. OK, try this one out. Are weblogs medicine? Suppose a doctor is writing a weblog and the doctor writes something she learned in medical school. Then the same doctor writes the same text in a medical textbook. I guess it's not medicine when its written in a weblog? You see how silly these arguments are, how easy they are to deconstruct. If there is such a thing as journalism, it must be possible to practice it in a weblog. It's just a format. Nothing more. It's really not a mystery in 2002.
It also goes without saying that if an idiot writes a weblog, then you get idiocy in a weblog.
I just got a pointer to QuitNet, operated by Boston University, it's a site that helps you quit smoking.
Weird fact about smoking cessation. Health insurance (apparently) won't pay for it. What kind of sense does that make. The diseases caused by smoking are expensive, the cure -- not so expensive. Maybe they're owned by the tobacco industry? Next. Smoking is not as hard to quit as they tell you it is. The first week is relatively difficult, while your body is dealing with the physical addiction, and then it gets a lot easier. In a sense I was lucky, being hospitalized, with no way to get a cigarette, made the physical part easy. Now why can't people check into a nicotine detox resort for a month where you get pampered with vitamins, juices, exercise and massage, hot tubs, great scenery, and no way to get a cigarette. My doctor's advice was ridiculous. He told me to go cold turkey. Ehhh. That doesn't work for most people.
Postscript: A few emails say that smoking cessation is not covered under health insurance because most programs and treatments don't work. A few emails say that health insurance generally doesn't cover birth control either. And smokers are a better deal for insurance companies because they die a decade or two earlier than non-smokers, on average. That's a good point. Death is generally expensive. If it happens sooner that's a savings for the insurance company.
If you had told me a month ago that I could write a Scripting News like today's without a single cigarette, I would not have believed you. If anyone says you can't quit, don't believe them. I am the ultimate nicotine fiend. If I can do it, you can too.
Peter Drayton reports on the Liberty Alliance spec which was released today. BTW, I'm having lunch in Menlo Park with Microsoft's Palladium team on Friday. Still trying to figure out if there are application developers for our Seybold show in September. I don't want to host another BigCo shootout. I want apps conneced to scripting systems that publishing system managers can use, esp Mac OS X apps.
NY Times: Stocks Rebound in Late Trading.
Adam Curry: "Take me back to 1996 levels and call it the bottom." Wishful thinking.
Poor Dubya gave another speech about confidence in the economy, and yup the stock market responded by going down again, by hundreds of points. Analysts speculate that this is because he said nothing that inspires confidence. It's true, his manner of speaking does anything but inspire confidence. He still has that sing-song way of talking like he's reading off a cue card even when he's ad libbing, and the huge pauses in awkward places don't help in confidence inspiration. Then again what could he say that would get people to not be scared of their friends and neighbors continuing to dump stocks?
John Patrick: The Spam Has Got To Go.
Mark Pilgrim explains how to do relative font sizes in a way that works in all popular browsers.
Paolo says my picture and his are in the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, next to Gutenberg's. They're talking about weblogs. For some reason, on my About page, I claim to be speaking "witta Italian accent," and that's how I got this writeup. I love Italy.
Excellent AP article about integrity in search engines and the US Federal Trade Commission. "Google was the only search engine that appeared to meet all the criteria laid out by regulators."
Duncan Wilcox on Google's integrity.
NY Times: "While the music industry scrambles to keep albums off the Internet before they reach stores, one highly successful artist has managed to skirt online piracy with a surprisingly low-technology solution."
Paolo: "Weblogging is not just a way to socialize, it's also a way to do business and to create relationships with people all over the world."
I noted on Wes's site that he also has a copy of the new Rebecca Blood Weblog books, which I very briefly reviewed yesterday. Paul Andrews comments, saying he would like to write a book about blogs. Paul is a very thoughtful writer. But like Paul, I wonder how to ensconce Web writing in print. To me, this is like fresco painting, and books are much more permanent. Have there been any books about Burning Man? How would you write a book about something that looks so different from every angle. That is the main failure of Blood's Blog Books, and of course is no fault of hers. When she looks at blogs she sees the weblogs she knows; and misses the enormity of the medium. It's my opinion that anyone who attempts to write a book about weblogs will miss the point in this way. Perhaps it's the impossibility of writing a book about it that makes the medium so interesting. It's also why most of the BigPub articles about weblogs are such surface-scratchers.
I started writing this morning at 4:30AM Pacific. It's interesting to look at Weblogs.Com at this hour. It's mostly Europeans, with a few sprinkled Americans, perhaps insomniacs, or, like myself, early risers.
I'm on the mend for sure. I have lots of pain this morning, more than I've had since being released from the hospital a little over three weeks ago. I take this as a good sign. One of the things that happens when one has such disruptive surgery is that the nerves at the site get disconnected, resulting in major numbness. This is a blessing, for while the numbness is very uncomfortable and disconcerting, it masks the pain. Luckily I have a good pain killer. It makes me feel pretty damned good. For a while. ;-> (Postscript: The Web reveals all. I suspected that Vicodin was highly addictive. I like it a bit too much.)
I'm also lucky because a few Scripting News readers have been through this, and are sending me reports on what to expect, and they're right on mostly. One of my correspondents, a Scottish professor, had a bypass in late May, he's about three weeks ahead of me. One correpsondent says that it's a six-week recuperation for someone my age. If so, I'm about half-way, which feels right. And I guess, Murphy-willing, the second half of the recuperation will be easier than the first, but get this, paradoxically, it will take much longer. My doctor says it goes like this. In the first thirty days you feel 65 percent. After the second thirty days, 85 percent. But you don't get to 100 percent for a full year after surgery. But what he doesn't say is that 100 percent after surgery is a lot better than 100 percent before.
Good morning weblog fans. I got a few emails overnight about a project John, Jake and Lawrence are doing with a famous publication while I'm reading books and watching movies, walking and recuperating. Murphy-willing we'll be hosting thousands of weblogs under a new brand quite soon. The nice thing for me is that UserLand can move forward while my body fixes itself.
Hey here's a list of Indian weblogs.
Dubya should be very worried about this here story. Older affluent American voters who invested their retirement money in speculative stocks. "The Pringles have since lost about 75 percent of their investment. Far from taking any trips to Europe, they have done what they vowed never to do: mortgaged their house and gone back to work." The Dems now have a killer issue for the 2002 election, barring fresh homeland terrorism.
On the other hand, I heard Daniel Schorr's commentary this morning and it made me retch, I almost wet my pants with anger. All the cries for reform from the journalists are a convenient form of finger-pointing that draws the attention away from them. Yeah, sure the boards of directors of the companies should have been watching management more carefully, it was their job to do that and they fell down. It wasn't really Dubya's job, as the governor of Texas, to be watching this. Sure he's a dirty man, he's profited from the slackish rules. But the press was supposed to be blowing the whistle then, and instead were playing footsy with the CEOs just like the board members and the accounting firms. That came home to me, reading the latest issue of Fortune with Bill Gates on the cover (they say he's achieved serenity, oh sure, give me a fucking break). The journalists of the 1990s were lapdogs for the CEO du jour, they still are, even though the CEOs are going down down down.
Another btw, I saw Humphrey Bogart's last movie yesterday on Turner Classic Movies. It was Rod Steiger day on TCM. The movie, The Harder They Fall, was about a journalist who lost his job and decided to get dirty to make some money as a boxing publicist. That was Bogart. The fight promoter was played by Steiger. Bogie's wife was a weak clone of Lauren Bacall. Bogie looked older, but not that sick. He died of cancer shortly after the movie was completed. I guess in those days, before chemotherapy, you looked okay before you died of cancer. It was a good movie. The last Bogart scene was also a good one. He blows the whistle on the corruption. Bravo.
Another elegant juxtaposition thanks to the iPod. Money Can't Buy It by the Eurythmics; followed by Money For Nothing by Dire Straits. Couldn't be more different, but both are about money and they play well with each other. A few songs later, we hear Morgantown by Joni Mitchell. Is there a better Sunday morning song? Nahhh.
A big hug and a kiss on the cheek and best wishes to the always-lovable Marek, who had a birthday on July 3 (he shares that with Sheila Lennon). He was and possibly still is in the hospital, they thought he might have cancer, but it seems not. Whew. This is the summer when the blogs take a break, whether or not they're ready for them. Hospitals. Who'd a thunk it was time for that.
There was no doubt that it's the time for blog books, lots of em, coming soon; and what a strange idea that is. Take a medium that's even more ephemeral than news and freeze it in print, let it sit on a publisher's shelf for a year, and hope that the writing remains relevant as anything more than a time capsule of a particular point of view that didn't end up dominating (with the benefit of hindsight, that every reader has, but the author(s) don't).
Yesterday I got two books in the mail, for free, thanks, they were worth a skim, maybe more to find out what Rebecca Blood thinks about blogs, which hasn't changed much. I found little that I agree with. Her original history was all wrong, and while she's made some corrections, she still doesn't understand the medium, or even tell the story of how weblogs came to be with any accuracy. This is why her friends didn't dominate, and why her books are both so anachronistic. Lack of respect for the story. Yuck.
I could give lots of examples, but you can get the book yourself and imagine you were the editor, and get out the blue pencil and start marking up. Or skip the whole exercise, realizing that there are lots of computer books vying for your attention and lots of free opinions on the Web, like this one, which is worth about what you pay for it.
The second book, which is a collection of essays from the Web about weblogs, didn't appear to have an editor (or none claimed credit). I'd be interested in knowing the process by which essays were selected. I had read most of them. Once again, just a slice through the story and community, an arbitrary starting point, and some cute stuff, some interesting stuff, but mostly they miss what's going on now.
One of Blood's theses is that there's been too much focus on the software. A year ago I might have agreed, but today I think that all that blogs have in common is the a reverse chronologic structure, with a calender; links and comments. It's a structure to hang ideas on. Much the way a spreadsheet is a structure, or an outliner or a word processor (although structure in a wp is a looser thing). Add some community features and tweak from there.
In 2002, we're beginning to get to a category of software, with lines of delineation -- Movable Type is different from Manila, and Radio is different from Blogger, if one wanted to study a category, the products are lining up to accomodate. Other than that there's little that each blog has in common with other blogs. It's like trying to figure out what word processing documents have in common. People did try to do that in the late 70s and early 80s, but then the market exploded, and that ended all such speculation.
Of all the books in process, I hold the most hope for the BlogRoots book: written by ex-Pyrites Meg Hourihan, Matt Haughey, and Paul Bausch. They put enough time into it (the O'Reilly book was a rush job) and they (appear to) have the right premise. It would have been possible for a philosophical book to have lasting value, but to do so, they should have gotten a social butterfly to edit it, one who crosses all the lines with ease, someone who likes everyone and who everyone likes, but somehow doesn't have to kiss ass to do it. (Note: I am not that person, as you can see I don't suffer fools, I don't write to make friends, and I know it.)
One of the things that kills books about blogs is the shelf-time they spend between the time they were written and the time they go to press. This is a fast-moving area. That really is visible in the Blood books, and I suspect will also be evident in the O'Reilly and BlogRoots books.
Another problem with books about blogs (blooks?) is that as I read them I want to comment, more than any other kind of book (I've been reading a lot lately). Well, how do you do that? Will these books be on the Web? Will they have paragraph-level permalinks? That's a naive question, I don't have an opinion, and I don't really understand books about blogs.
Shifted Librarian: "I understand that Sony is too scared to put an Ethernet port or embedded WiFi in this thing (every other record label would probably line up to sue them), but it's short-sighted because no one is really going to buy this paperweight. Why would I when I don't even buy CDs anymore?"
Sam Gentile: "For the last 7 months, I have had the priviledge of working for Jack Ozzie and with some very bright people at Groove Networks in creating a full design add-in, the Groove Toolkit for Microsoft Visual Studio.NET, that will allow the .NET developer to create fully collaborative and peer-to-peer applications quickly and easily inside of VS.NET. You will be able to freely download this toolkit in a couple of weeks!"
Two years ago on this day I recounted a phone conversation with Gene Kan about business models for peer-to-peer apps. He was a smart young man. People have all kinds of theories about why he shot himself, I don't think it had anything to do with disappointment. Lots of people go through that, no one gets through life without lots of disappointment (no one gets through a day without lots of disappointment). Depression is a disorder. Sometimes when the chemicals in your bloodstream are wrong they make you feel worthless. When that happens it can be hard to stay in the game, remembering that such feelings often pass, pretty quickly. At age 25, lots of people don't know that. It's a tough time of life. But I guess every age has its unique challenges.
NY Times: "Every time you play a CD, the machine automatically copies its tracks onto its built-in 20-gigabyte hard drive. Thereafter, you can play back those songs without having to insert the original CD. The hard drive holds 300 CD's worth of music, turning this handsome unit into a self-contained jukebox."
Via Glenn Reynolds I'm getting the idea that something is going on in Iran. But it's not clear to me what is going on. Postscript: I heard a report on the BBC during my daily walk that one of the main clerics in Iran had resigned, citing the well-known corruption among the clerics and calling for reform. Postscript to the postscript, my daily walks are up to 40 minutes now. Not walking at quite the pace I'm accustomed to, but when I come back I feel so damned good.
Russ Jones has a weblog that watches PayPal.
Paul Boutin: "What's Palladium?"
Chris Taylor: "In this brave new world of information, media is organic. There's a whole food chain going on. The big journalists and the little journalists help keep each other alive."
Paul Andrews: "Idealism lives in America, it just needs a voicebox." Note to Paul. A motto like It's even worse than it appears is timeless, and can't be dropped. It's always a good fit.
Sam Ruby: "It's a shame that 99% of attorneys give the other 1% a bad name."
Bernie DeKoven: "I live in a world where it is increasingly difficult to develop healthy, supportive human relationships. Go ahead, count them. The healthy, supportive relationships in your life. The time you actually spend doing healthy, supportive things together."
Four weeks -- no smokes. 28 days. Still think about them, but less often (in other words, not every waking moment). The heat wave has broken. Today the forecast high is in the 80s, not the 100s. Whew. There's a new movie coming out, I may catch it later today; and I got a recommendation for a three hour movie that's playing in downtown Palo Alto. So there's a backlog of flicks to see now.
John Robb is doing morning coffee notes. It's been a while since I've done some. Really slacking.
AP: "Experts can now download a genetic blueprint from the Internet and use mail-order materials to assemble a deadly virus, say researchers who made a synthetic polio virus in the lab to demonstrate the threat."
John Robb: "One person with a $50K basement lab could declare war on the world, and make it an even fight."
I've seen a spattering of comments about the fiasco at baseball's All-Star game earlier this week. Time for me to weigh in. First, the All-Star Game is total bullshit. It's an exhibition. It doesn't matter. It never did matter, and it's hardly the end of baseball as we know it when the managers, umpires and the commisioner of baseball don't respect it enough to allow it to be played like any other baseball game. No, ladies and gentlemen, the end of baseball as an honorable sport with a rich philosophy came with the Designated Hitter Rule of the so-called American League; and the final nail in the coffin was interleague play. Pitchers were meant to come to bat, so the opposing pitcher could throw at them, and the mystery of the two leagues matters.
SJ Merc: "Sales of the Segway, priced at $8,500 each for now, have been anemic."
Heat wave continues. Recuperation continues. Tomorrow it will be four weeks of no smoking. I remarked to a friend yesterday that I was ready to be fully up to speed recuperation-wise, but my body isn't. It's kind of a bummer, I still have a few weeks before my strength is mostly back, according to the doctors and the literature. The heat wave is not a kind thing when one's body is so weak. It's a little cooler today and it will be cooler tomorrow. I wish I could swim, but I can't. Oy. I've been reading a lot, but really getting into Turner Classic Movies. Saw an interview with Howard Hawks, what a great director, and then watched a bunch of his movies. No commercials. What a deal. My favorite movie of the week was Lost Horizon, 1937, directed by Frank Capra starring Ronald Coleman and Jane Wyatt. I want to go to Shangri-La.
On this day two years ago, Tom Matrullo did a fantastic brain dump on Napster on Doc's weblog.
NY Times: "The worst bear market in a generation deepened today as stocks fell sharply for their third straight session, leaving several of the leading market indexes at their lowest levels since 1997."
Glenn Fleishman: "War chalking derives from 'war driving,' a pastime of discovering wireless networks using widely available data-sniffing software that identifies open and restricted wireless nodes in homes and businesses."
Don Box has a new weblog. Welcome!
Note to Apple, Wired News is a rumor site too.
Andy Ihnatko: "I guess some people are already coming to Expo in a decidedly bad mood. It seems that the organizers have been giving independently-run news sites a hard time about press passes. Some sites are in the business of posting the most absurd rumors and nonsense imaginable. And oddly enough, they're taking umbrage at the fact that their Geocities webpage isn't being recognized with full Press Access to the show."
The WSJ has an article about how to get started blogging. A reader forwarded me the article via email. I saved it into my upstream folder. It worked. Hey he's using Manila for his weblog. That's very cool.
ESPN: "Reports that the son of Ted Williams has frozen the body of the late baseball great, with the alleged hope of reproducing him in some form at a later date, has been met with bewilderment and disgust in baseball circles. But the rational truth, say scientists, is that cloning of humans is right around the corner -- and elite athletes possess some of the most exquisite DNA."
ieSpell is a "free Internet Explorer browser extension that spell checks text input boxes on a webpage."
It's going to be another hot one today. It's kind of chilly this morning. That's the nice thing about living in a desert (just in the summer) it really cools off at night. The forecast predicts a high between 100 and 110 F. Maybe another movie.
AP says the cause of Gene Kan's death was suicide.
Gene Kan had a weblog.
A new Bryan Bell theme called Moveable Manila Blue. Bryan says: "CSS themes rock!"
Jon Udell: "Control your identity or Microsoft and Intel will."
Reminder to Apple. News.Com is a rumor site.
Andrew Orlowski: "Apple's wealthiest and most prominent celebrity cheerleaders have yet to break their silence on the company's culling of its grassroots publishers."
Karl Martino found the first divorce directly related to 9-11.
That article is a hoax, and a good one. I went to the movies today, it's so hot here in California. After the movie I was out tooling around and my brain kept generating this phrase over and over. "A carton of Marlboro Lights please." I had a Frappucino instead. I am an addict for life. The movie, Bourne Identity, came recommended by friends, but I wasn't crazy over it. The girl was very cute, and Matt is a good actor. Low suspension of disbelief. No commercials before the show. The air conditioning in the theater worked.
NY Times: "By the end of July, all of the Fairmont's 38 properties, including the Plaza, the Fairmont San Francisco and the Fairmont Dubai, will offer wireless Internet access in public spaces, enabling guests to check their e-mail messages while having cocktails in the bar, for instance."
Heads-up to developers wanting to sell software to people in the publishing world. In September we're doing a special show at Seybold to showcase web services, as they relate to people in publishing. So if you have a product or service that interfaces through SOAP or XML-RPC that's relevant to publishers, please let me know. We have a whole day to fill up with cool demos. Esp interested in stuff that builds on the built in support for web services in Mac OS X.
Everyone's telling me that Fuck The Police is done by NWA, or Niggaz With Attitude. Maybe so, but my iPod insists (through Napster) that it was done by Public Enemy. There's a transcription error, perhaps, in there somewhere. Sue me.
Marc Canter sheds some light. "Musical acts evolve - just like software companies. NWA was the original name of the group that did Fuck the Police. Guess what? Some of the founders then went on to create Public Enemy!" Postscript: I got at least two dozen emails saying Marc is wrong. OK, got the message. You all can move on now.
On this day two years ago: "It's the music, dummy."
News.Com: Gnutella pioneer Gene Kan dies. Ouch.
Nick Denton says it best. "Please let this be a sick joke: a eulogy for Gene Kan of Gnutella, on Yaroslav Faybishenko's site. Update: it was a sick joke, but by God. Gene's funeral was on Friday." Cory Doctorow's remembrance of Gene Kan.
US Dept of Commerce: "On July 17, 2002, the Technology Administration will host a Public Workshop on Digital Entertainment and Rights Management. This Workshop will bring together leaders from the information technology and content industries to address the status of technical standards that provide the framework necessary to enable legitimate digital media distribution and the present state of strengths, weaknesses and availability of current and imminent technological solutions to protect digital content, barriers that are inhibiting movies, music and games from coming online. In preparation for this workshop, the Technology Administration invites public comment."
Newhouse: "To the cable TV company that provides his high-speed Internet connection, Tait became a thief when he installed a home wireless network in his Manhattan apartment."
I read on Manton Reece's site that the engraving on my iPod is customized. "Let's not limit the dreams of people who use our tools." I thought it was Apple's motto. Sounds like something I might have said. Interesting. Postscript: I did say it, and thanks to Rogers for organizing the iPod gift. It was hard to get it started up, but now it's a really nice thing to have. It's got all my music on it. I'm still going through the songs in alphabetic order. The other day it played Fuck The Police by Public Enemy, followed by Funeral for a Friend by Elton John. The two songs couldn't be more different, but somehow seemed to belong with each other.
Amy Wohl: "We've had at least one vendor this year (not Apple) who failed to invite us to an important briefing 'because we wrote negative things about them.'"
Raph Levien: Attack Resistant Trust Metric Metadata Howto.
Jon Udell: "DRM has its place in the world. But I wouldn't sacrifice the open architecture of the PC on the altar of DRM. It's not the thing holding e-books back. Active paper is the real technical hurdle. And beyond that, there's a purely intellectual challenge. As more and more people write for the web, publishers will have to work harder (and smarter) to create content that's worth paying for."
Emmanuel Décarie: "FrontierMonitor is a Perl daemon installed on a OS X machine hosting a Frontier or/and Radio servers. FrontierMonitor will try to launch the Frontier/Radio servers if they are down and will send you a warning by email while loging the event in a log file."
NY Times: What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie? A must-read article for people controlling their weight or cholesterol through diet. The advice doctors have been giving since the 70s may have been totally wrong.
Steven Levy: Labels to Net Radio: Die Now.
Another NY Times piece worth pointing to. If you're shocked by scandals, consider this question from Daniel Akst. "Did investors just a short time ago not fight for the opportunity to throw their money at companies with no plausible business plans except to do something — anything — on the Internet? Exactly what part of this is shocking? And to whom?" What's coming to light now is that not only did the stupid little startups lie wildly about their businesses, but bigger ones like WorldCom and Enron did it too. Why is everyone so shocked? It was documented. And hardly without precedent. It's been going on for centuries. Businesses lie to inflate their stock prices. So what else is new??
DJ Adams is doing something innovative with Weblogs.Com and Jabber. "Rather than reproduce a blogToaster-like mechanism, I thought I'd have a go at putting together a mini-infrastructure on top of which lots of different blogToaster-like mechanisms could be built."
On this day last year Sean McGrath posted the canonical How many XML gurus does it take to change a light bulb joke.
On this day in 1999: "It's fun to watch the Microsoft machine rumble into position for a battle that ain't gonna happen. They post bug reports about Linux in the Wall Street Journal and PC WEEK. After a bit of hand-wringing and groveling, what does Linus's community do? They fix the damned bugs."
Cory Cory Cory, I did not have a heart attack. I had surgery to prevent a heart attack. My heart feels happy now. I've been an exerciser most of my life. It has its benefits. Now the blood flow to my heart is solid too. Health status is basically pretty good, but I'm still healing from the surgery and will be for a few more weeks. And I'm a recovering nicotine addict. Some people say this is the wrong attitude, but sheez, that's what I am. "My name is Dave and I'm a nicotine addict."
NY Times: 25 Most Emailed Articles.
More Palladium coverage and comment from Mitch Wagner.
I agree with James Hong that Hot Or Not is a communication platform, not a fad.
Russell Beattie has a new IM-based blog notifier called BlogAgent, written in Java and open source.
Boston Globe: Ted Williams Dead at 83. "The Red Sox legend, who hit .406 in 1941 to become the last player to break the 400 barrier."
Scoble: "How does Microsoft grow its size? Certainly not by listening to Robert Scoble. It does it by visiting Boeing, GM, EDS, the U.S. Government, and various other big Fortune 1000 companies and organizations. Now you know where the pressure for Palladium is coming."
Bravo to Janis Ian for speaking out on the Internet as a medium for music distribution.
News by a Nerd. "It Just Doesn't Matter."
In Denmark today, a judge rules against a search engine that respects the robots.txt convention, and stops it from "deep linking" into sites run by the Danish newspaper association. All these court cases are as stupid as dirt. Several good technical preventatives exist. First, if the search engine supports robots.txt, you can simply edit the file on your site, and save the lawyer's fees. If it doesn't support robots.txt, first raise the issue in public, and the tech weblogs will get right on it. If that doesn't work, add a simple script to your server to look at the referer attribute on the HTTP request and if it isn't from your site, redirect to your deep linking policy page. We know for sure that when a company goes to court for "deep linking" that they aren't talking to, or listening to, their technical people. BTW, deep linking is an oxymoron. There's only one kind of linking on the Web. Why would you ever point to the home page of a news oriented site.
David Watson has Radio talking to Movable Type's TrackBack feature.
One word review of Minority Report: Riveting. As good as Silence of the Lambs. A dark vision of the not too distant future. Captivating. Clockwork Orangish. Great acting, great plot, something for your mind, a surprise around every corner. Some bloggers reported that the movie starts well but ends poorly, I have no idea what they're talking about. I was sitting on the edge of my chair from beginning to end, enthralled and delighted and at times freaked out. I'll see it again, for sure.
I've seen two movies in 48 hours and both movies began with five minutes of commercials, for Coca Cola, Bank of America, some stupid British car that's now available in the US, and some other insipid and worthless products. These ads stood out for two reasons. First, I paid $9 US currency to watch each of these movies. I remember what products intruded on this experience that I paid for and will go out of my way to spread bad juju on their brands at the slightest opportunity. Second, there's no way to fast forward over the stinking commercials as I can on TV. Arrrgh. I don't watch commercials anymore. I resent that they force themselves on me in an environment I paid to be part of.
Chuck Shotton "highly recommends" the iRock FM transmitter. "I have one that I use on frequent drives to Philadelphia and it has the best battery life and signal range of the several I've played with."
Doc Searls: "iRock should allow the user to select any channel on the FM band."
Shawn Dodd: "Microsoft wants to know what they can do to regain our trust. The answer: give up DRM altogether. Microsoft can't push DRM and regain our trust at the same time; we can't and shouldn't trust someone who is planning to hurt us."
Ed Cone: "My dad died fifteen years ago today."
"thinkusaalignright"On this day 226 years ago, the US declared its independence from Great Britain.
Nice to-the-point blogging piece from The Economist. "Blogging has taken off thanks to the development of online tools, such as Blogger and UserLand, which make it simple and cheap to update personal web content instantly."
I should write a FAQ about arguing with Microsoft and how not to fall into their trap, as Mitch Wagner does here. Here's the first question that would be in the FAQ. Why is it pointless to argue with Microsoft people? Answer: because they hold you to a higher moral standard than they themselves support. When discussing their transgressions, they argue that they have the right to do that. They overstate your case and rebut that, leaving you stuttering "But I didn't say that." If that doesn't work, they question your objectivity or qualifications, or resort to veiled ad hominems (a quick subject-change). It's very disgusting. I used to fall for it all the time, arguing with them as if they were willing to be convinced, when they want nothing of the sort. They want to confuse you and tire you out until you give up. So I don't argue with them anymore, I just form my opinion, state it, and don't worry if I'm being terribly fair to them, because they clearly don't worry about being fair to anyone else, including me (and you).
BTW, last night Scoble presented a counter-argument to my anti-Microsoft DRM rant that's been running for the last few days. I don't want to steal Scoble's thunder, so I'll wait till he writes it up and then I'll point to it. Now that said, Scoble's theory, while very plausible, even probable, still screws individual computer users, and there's probably good reason why MS doesn't talk about their strategy openly, but there you have it, it's never as simple as one might think. I'll let you know when he writes it up.
A new installment from Paul Andrews, in which he takes apart Martha Stewart (yes it matters if she cheats) and stands up for patriotism (that's what weblogs are about, exercising the free speech guaranteed by the Constitution, use it or lose it), and recounts a phone conversation we had earlier this week, and says I'm strong like a horse. Don't believe everything you read. ;-> I do sound strong, but still have a long way to go. The doctor says in the first month I'll regain 65 percent of my strength, after two months, 85 percent, and the last 15 percent will take a full year. I believe it. Some days are hard, it feels like I'm moving backwards. But every day I walk a little further and on average feel a little better. One step at a time. And the best part is this -- I'll be back stronger than I was before, Murphy-willing, of course.
Last night I went to see Men In Black II with Scoble and Son. I had a great time as usual. The movie wasn't so great (I really liked the original). One word review: plotless. Also, this was the first time I had been exposed to lots of cigarette smoke since quitting almost three weeks ago. Some people have sent emails saying they think I'll be back. Nasty folk, they are, but I don't think so. To me, smoke smells very bad. I hate the way it smells. Uck. Tonight's movie: Minority Report.
Dr Bott carries an FM transmitter for iPods, thanks to Frank Tansey for the link. I wonder which works better?
BBC: "Benches in public places in Barrow-in-Furness have been fitted with MP3 audio players. Passers-by simply plug in standard headphones to listen to specially written plays and stories relevant to the benches location."
Amy Wohl: "I recommend lighting a sparkler or raising a festive cup tomorrow, July 4th, to toast both our country and us, citizen-journalists all."
Talking with Jon Udell today he told me about the Kuro5hin fund-raiser. "Altogether you contributed over $37,000 in memberships, donations, and text ads, along with perhaps another $2500 in donation pledges, and an unknown amount in pay-by-mail memberships."
Reuters: "The music industry is adding more firepower to its arsenal in the fight against online piracy, planting 'decoys' on free peer-to-peer services and considering lawsuits against individual song-swappers." Fuckers.
A roundabout story re the Reuters story above. I got a call from Microsoft PR earlier this week about my blanket dismissal of their "DRM" operating system, aka Palladium. They may have a monopoly on OSes, but nothing says I have to use computers. I still have choice, even if they figure out how to impregnate my W2K machine with their viruses, theoretically I can still turn it off and go make pottery. Now, I can do the same with the music industry's product. As long as they keep treating their users with the same kind of disrespect that Microsoft does, they're going to end up just as reviled. The MS person asked what they can do to regain my trust. I said it's possible. Start by restoring competition to the browser market. Then we can talk about next steps. It comes down to this, how can they be a leader if they destroy everything they would hope to lead?
A fantastic music industry rant on Kuro5hin.
NY Times: "A chance encounter that grew out of some Weblog postings in May has gone a long way toward putting New York's growing community of bloggers on the map."
Business Week: "Just as Napster changed the monopolistic music industry by making it easier and essentially free to obtain music, Wi-Fi could rip apart the burgeoning broadband industry, a duopoly of established cable and telecom companies, by replacing last-mile connectivity with last-acre connectivity."
NY Times: "Mr. Eckhaus was one of the first few to use the wireless Internet connection at Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan."
nycwireless: "Bryant Park is located in midtown Manhattan, adjacent to the New York Public Library Main Branch, on Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets."
Bret Fausett: "Are Internet directory services still relevant?"
Peggy Noonan: "Blogs may one hard day become clearinghouses for civil support and information when other lines, under new pressure, break down."
I'm slowly working my way through my MP3 collection on my iPod. As I write this it's playing the first song I got through Napster -- Father and Son by Cat Stevens. "Take your time, think a lot, think of everything you got, for you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not."
Russell Baker: "This is journalism's age of melancholy. Newspaper people, once celebrated as founts of ribald humor and uncouth fun, have of late lost all their gaiety, and small wonder. They have discovered that their prime duty is no longer to maintain the republic in well-informed condition—or to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, as the old gospel has it—but to serve the stock market with a good earnings report every three months or, in plainer English, to comfort the comfortable."
Sam Ruby is keynoting the Sells Brothers Web Services conference in October in Bedford, Mass.
Meltdowns at Enron and WorldCom. Yesterday a board revolt at Vivendi, a media company, and the CEO is toast. What happens when one of the owners of one of the major TV networks becomes the target of a business scandal. Viacom, Disney, GE, AOL. Who will be first to go down? But will the reporters go there? Heh. Why is everyone so surprised. Didn't they know that BigCo's have no integrity or ethics. Where were they for the last ten years? We all didn't care too much as long as the stock prices were going up. Sure they're lying everyone knew they were. So what's new. Just as blogs are the cure for integrity outages at the BigPubs, LittleCo's will be our haven from the excesses of the idiots who run the BigCo's. Microbusinesses and microcontent. Hey it's cool that people seem to require integrity of their business leaders. How are the current crop going to compete. They didn't teach integrity at b-school.
Angry White Girl posts her Top 10 tips for fitting in at Apple.
Nick Denton surely is looking for some kind of pushback or maybe just a kick in the butt. Yesterday he posted an item saying that blogs were never going to equal the pro's because some of us take vacations, or (in my case) ease up when recovering from major surgery (getting better every day, btw, still no cigs). Then today he says the bubble may have burst, implying that blogs were a creation of massive media hype. Nick, you're so fucking wrong. First, blogs exist independently of the ink-stained media, they can hype us or not, it makes no difference either way. Second, there isn't much going on right now, so why not take a break. Third, if you think blogs are about a handful of people like Glenn Reynolds, etc etc, you have completely missed the point, and need to go back for re-education on the very concept you're writing about. All of the A-Team bloggers could quit tomorrow, and the thing would keep going. It'll make a difference next time there's a big story that we need triangulation on. On Sept 11, the first-hand accounts from amateurs with keyboards, telephones, digital cameras, friends/relatives at the scene, were just a demo of what's coming in the next few years. It's the massive number of people distributed over the planet that can cover a story as the shrinking budgets and conflicted interest of the pros constrict the amount of news they can carry. It's circulation and distribution. Blogs are bypasses for information, like the Internet routes around outages, just at a higher level. Thanks for listening. The most amazing thing to me (after all this is a weblog) is that I wrote that with absolutely no nicotine.
Dean Peters writes that Archive.Org has been hacked. It appears to be true. Here's a request to list all the pages in their database from back issues of scripting.com. Every time I click on the link I get a porn site. Hmmm. (They fixed the outage. Here's a snapshot of this site four years ago today thanks to archive.org.)
Reading this article at Business 2.0 about basic techniques for rising through the ranks at Google got me to check my various rankings, and hey, for the first time ever, I'm the number one Dave at Google. Neat. Theory about why. When I took my leave a couple of weeks ago, lots of people pointed to me by name, driving me past Dave at Bungi.Com, who was previously untouchable in the top spot.
Ross Anderson: TCPA/Palladium FAQ.
Mitch Wagner comments.
Chris Dahlen: How to Survive Without Audiogalaxy.
Salon interview with John Gilmore on ICANN.
Survey: "Was the crash in Germany accident or terrorism?"
Mark Pilgrim: "Don't force links to open in new windows.
Jon Udell explains Jon Schull's visualization of linking in BlogLand. I opine: As long as I've been doing outliners, people have been trying to do boxes-and-arrows visualizations of the same structures, with tantalizing and colorful demos, that aren't too useful. I did a project myself in the mid-80s. The user interface was unwieldy.
NY Times: "Three years after Napster unleashed the first wave of music-trading over the Internet — and a full year after the company was shut down by a court order — the labels are coming to terms with the notion that Internet file-sharing is reshaping their business, and they must compete with piracy or risk losing a generation of customers."
Rogers Cadenhead: "Give me the safe, bland, quiet desperation of the 'burbs, where I can go to Barnes & Noble to buy a book about your interesting city experiences and read it over some Starbucks coffee."
James and Jim, the Hot Or Not guys, visit NYC.
Adam Curry has an outline-oriented weblog. You can expand and collapse by day.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.