Change notes for the RSS 2.0.1 spec. In progress.
O'Reilly: Photos from the Mac OS X Conference.
Doc Searls: "The Net was born without an Identity service."
BusinessWeek: "If you try to print or copy sections of Middlemarch on an Adobe eBook Reader, you'll be informed that Adobe allows users to copy only 10 sections every 10 days. Readers of Aristotle's Politics, which as far as anyone knows was never copyrighted, aren't permitted to copy or print any text."
Brent's Law of CMS URLs: "The more expensive the CMS, the crappier the URLs."
Do all the women of the world have the hots for this man?
Scoble: "It's pretty obvious that RageBoy is in love and that his lover doesn't want him to talk about her."
Chris Croome has pics from Saturday's anti-war demonstration in London. Three guesses which pic most people click.
NY Times: "'I couldn't conceive of a situation with my software applications today where I need a computer with a 2.4 gigahertz Pentium processor,' Mr. Schreiner said."
Mark Pilgrim's sample file for RSS 2.0. I've subscribed to it in Radio. This example will be linked into the section of the 2.0.1 spec that talks about namespaces.
"rssflowersalignright"With any luck we should have one or two more days of namespaces stuff here on Scripting News. It feels like it's winding down. Later in the week I'm going to a conference put on by the Harvard Business School. So that should change the topic a bit. The following week I'm off to Colorado for the Digital ID World conference. We had to go through namespaces, and it turns out that weblogs are a great way to work around mail lists that are clogged with stop energy. I think we solved the problem, have reached a consensus, and will be ready to move forward shortly.
Joshua Allen: Who loves namespaces?
Don Park: "It is too easy for engineer to anticipate too much and XML Namespace is a frequent host of over-anticipation."
Three Sunday Morning Options. "I just got off the phone with Tim Bray, who graciously returned my call on a Sunday morning while he was making breakfast for his kids." We talked about three options for namespaces in RSS 2.0, and I think I now have the tradeoffs well outlined, and ready for other developers to review. If there is now a consensus, I think we can easily move forward.
Fredrik Lundh breaks through, following Simon Fell's lead, now his Python aggregator works with Scripting News in RSS 2.0. BTW, the spec is imperfect in regards to namespaces. We anticipated a 2.0.1 and 2.0.2 in the Roadmap for exactly this purpose. Thanks for your help, as usual, Fredrik.
A great line in a recent Law and Order. Lenny Briscoe, played by Jerry Orbach, is interrogating a suspect. The suspect tells a story and reaches a point where no one believes him, not even the suspect himself. Lenny says: "Now there's five minutes of my life that's lost forever."
In the discussions over namespaces in RSS 2.0, one thing I hear a lot of, that is just plain wrong, is that when you move up by a major version number, breakage is expected and is okay. In the world I come from it is, emphatically, not okay. We spend huge resources to make sure that files, scripts and apps built in version N work in version N+1 without modification. Even the smallest change in the core engine can break apps. It's just not acceptable. When we make changes we have to be sure there's no breakage. I don't know where these other people come from, or if they make software that anyone uses, but the users I know don't stand for that. As we expose the tradeoffs it becomes clear that that's the issue here. We are not in Year Zero. There are users. Breaking them is not an option. A conclusion to lift the confusion: Version 0.91 and 0.92 files are valid 2.0 files. This is where we started, what seems like years ago.
BTW, you can ask anyone who's worked for me in a technical job to explain rules 1 and 1b. (I'll clue you in. Rule 1 is "No Breakage" and Rule 1b is "Don't Break Dave.")
One of the lessons I've learned in 47.4 years: When someone accuses you of a deceit, there's a very good chance the accuser practices that form of deceit, and a reasonable chance that he or she is doing it as they point the finger.
Don Park: "He poured a barrel full of pig urine all over the Korean Congress because he was pissed off about all the dirty politics going on."
1/4/95: "By the way, the person with the big problem is probably a competitor."
I've had a fair amount of experience in the last few years with what you might call standards work. XML-RPC, SOAP, RSS, OPML. Each has been different from the others. In all this work, the most positive experience was XML-RPC, and not just because of the technical excellence of the people involved. In the end, what matters more to me is collegiality. Working together, person to person, for the sheer pleasure of it, is even more satisfying than a good technical result. Now, getting both is the best, and while XML-RPC is not perfect, it's pretty good. I also believe that if you have collegiality, technical excellence follows as a natural outcome.
One more bit of philosophy. At my checkup earlier this week, one of the things my cardiologist asked was if I was experiencing any kind of intellectual dysfunction. In other words, did I lose any of my sharpness as a result of the surgery in June. I told him yes I had and thanked him for asking. In an amazing bit of synchronicity, the next day John Robb located an article in New Scientist that said that scientists had found a way to prevent this from happening. I hadn't talked with John about my experience or the question the doctor asked. Yesterday I was telling the story to my friend Dave Jacobs. He said it's not a problem because I always had excess capacity in that area. Exactly right Big Dave and thanks for the vote of confidence.
A summary of what we learned in the last few days about XML and namespaces. It's not a pretty picture!
Simon Fell: "I can't see how RSS 2.0 can be both fully backwardly compatible with RSS 0.9x and introduce namespaces, as we saw earlier, tools written with the assumptions that are valid for RSS 0.9x are just going to break when faced with a RSS 2.0 file that uses modules."
Don Park: "My recommendation for RSS 2.0 is to support namespaces but not require them to be declared unless they are needed and require only default namespace declaration to be used."
Jake Savin: "[Don Park] speaks with the benefit of first-hand development experience with a partner whose software didn't understand namespaces. He also quite rightly points out that 'the primary value of RSS format is that it is being used widely and anything that breaks that voids the value of RSS.'"
GNOME has a RSS 2.0 feed for the latest files on their FTP site.
Late afternoon (Pacific time) status on the namespaces conundrum. On the RSS2-Support list Phil Ringnalda sums up the options. Ben Hammersley's thread has reached an impasse. Simon Fell tests the popular aggregators for namespace support. At this time there is no consensus on how namespaces should work in a plain vanilla format like RSS 2.0. That's what we're looking for, consensus. And it will probably have to be a compromise.
LM Orchard: "I don't think that this is a fundamental flaw with RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, or namespaces. This is an issue of versioning, understanding the technology's implications, and reverse-compatibility."
Ben Hammersley: "If this was 0.94, the breakage would be unacceptable. But as this is 2.0, we've got to take the hit."
CNN: UN backs dwarf tossing ban. "The pastime, imported from the United States and Australia in the 1980s, consists of people throwing tiny stuntmen as far as possible, usually in a bar or discotheque." Thanks Daypop!
Hixie's Natural Log: Trackback vs Pingback.
Reuters: Turkey seizes weapons-grade uranium.
Phil Wolff: "What would you be willing to do as a journalist to improve your chances of getting your story listed on Google's front page for a prime time hour?"
Justin Klubnik released a RSS module for trackbacks. Why do I like this? Because he claims support for RSS 2.0, a format I'm trying to build support for. A win-win. That's how flow works on the Web. We help each other, and share our gratitude. I know it sounds corny, but that's how it works, when it works. Thanks Justin.
I got an email during the week from Steve Zellers asking if the MetaWeblog API spec would be updated to call for RSS 2.0 item-level metadata, instead of calling for RSS 0.92 metadata. I told Steve I'd look into it, and at first glance it seemed like a good idea.
I just reviewed the relevant section of the MetaWeblog API spec, and don't see any problem, because 2.0 is totally a superset of 0.92, we now have some new vocabulary, like pubdate, comments, guid, etc that can travel over the MetaWeblog API, so unless there are any objections, I'll change the spec next week; and people who have a MetaWeblog API implementation can start thinking about how they might want to use the newly defined struct elements.
Thanks for keeping an eye out on this Steve. Good work.
Also note that there are rumblings of change re the Blogger API. We expect a new API from Pyra shortly. Let's hope it's forward-compatible as the MetaWeblog API is. Or, even better, it would be fantastic if they adopted the MetaWeblog API. Now that would be super cool.
Ed Cone: "As the only opponent of the Berman-Coble P2P bill to speak at yesterday's hearings, Gigi Sohn got a grilling from Howard Berman. 'He took every pot shot at me he could,' says Sohn, president of an advocacy group called Public Knowledge."
On BlogTree, Rebecca's Pocket lists Scripting News as a parent weblog. Cool.
Le weblog de Jean-Yves sur Radio UserLand pour les utilisateurs francophones. Le rock star.
Thanks to Charles Cooper for the good vibe. News.Com still delivers great flow.
News.Com: "These versions of wireless networks using the Wi-Fi, or 802.11b, standard create a wireless zone of up to 12 miles long, far beyond the usual 300-foot-radius range that Wi-Fi typically achieves, Zakin said."
Jeremy Zawodny: Google, News and Making Money.
BBC: "Until a year ago, customers at the chain were able to download music and burn it onto CDs in-store."
Russ Lipton is looking for inspiration on his Radio book.
Lisa Rein: Give Peace a Chance.
This newly issued patent (9/24/02) makes it appear that they did. However this is not the SOAP that's in use today. One clue is the date it was filed, 11/10/97. Work on XML-based SOAP didn't begin until March 1998. Further, the description is of something quite different from what we call SOAP today. People at Microsoft liked the name SOAP, and when the binary transport for COM was stillborn, they wanted to re-use it for the XML-based SOAP. I confirmed with Microsoft that they had not patented XML-based SOAP, and they said they hadn't. Another large software company told me at the time that they were sure that they had. No matter, had Microsoft wanted to patent XML-based SOAP they would have needed to get me on board, and I never gave permission to do that.
Postscript: I have confirmation from Microsoft people in the know that this interpretation of the patent is correnct. We may have some more info tomorrow.
However, at lunch today with an old friend, we talked about new ideas for spreadheets, and I said if I worked on that, I definitely would file for patents. After watching so many pigs feed at the trough, I realized that being the only honorable person is totally unfair to me. Further, to other anti-patent people, generosity seems to buy no consideration. If I have some patents, they'll have to negotiate. So if I invested the time to create a better spreadsheet (just an example), I would patent it, and make my competitors pay for the right to use my ideas. Maybe I'll change my mind again, it's quite possible; and it's also possible that I'll never have a unique software idea again, so this might be moot. If you're anti-software-patents, give it some thought. You might be being a chump too.
This morning an esoteric update to the RSS feed generator in Radio. We now omit the xmlns attribute on the rss element because some parsers, especially homegrown parsers, can't correctly interpret it.
This issue arose when Ovidu Predescu had errors polling Sam Ruby's and Simon Fell's feeds. Anyway, the fix was to drop the xmlns attribute. It's still RSS 2.0 without it, and Radio wasn't actually using any namespaces, so there's no functionality change, and it should unbreak Ovidu's parser, and any others that have trouble with namespaces.
Now, I'm not backing off namespaces in the Scripting News feed, through its use of the blogChannel module. This way, any breakage that's reported will come just for my weblog, not for Radio users' weblogs.
I apologize for the difficulties. I promise, it's for a good cause -- if we wanted to allow modularity (we do) in the XML feeds we would have hit this problem at some point. Now if people are concerned, they can update right now and all aggregators should be happy and life goes on.
News.Com: "I've never received such notoriety from a bill that I did not introduce," Coble said. "But if Howard Berman asked me today to co-sponsor it, I would do it again. It is our responsibility to promote efforts to reduce infringement or piracy of intellectual property."
I can't tell you how much I missed the Daypop Top-40. Smooch!
Brian, the support manager from Omni says: "Just wanted to let you know that the version of Outliner that supports OPML hasn't officially been released yet. I screwed up late one sleep-deprived evening and it was posted for a day or so, but this was unintentional. If you could do us a favor and spread the word, we'd appreciate it, since it's causing a bit of confusion. It's coming soon, though."
David Weinberger wrote a column where he said programmers are cynical and this is a good thing. This bothered me. I don't think of programmers as cynics, that's too negative. I played around with the thesaurus a bit, and think cynic is the wrong word. I think the correct work is skeptic. Or if you're British, sceptic. And when he talks about programmers telling the truth, that's something else entirely. "You can't lie to the compiler." People with an imprecise understanding of the truth don't make software. They can't.
The Guardian's list of top British weblogs.
I started a directory of RSS resources.
BBC: "Popular file-swapping system Kazaa has released a new version of its software which is certain to anger the record industry."
NY Times: "Bob Wallace, a pioneering programmer of the personal computer era who helped invent "shareware" software marketing , died on Friday at his home in San Rafael, Calif. He was 53."
Mark Pilgrim is developing a RSS 2.0 template for Movable Type, documenting his design decisions as he goes. Nice work. His guid element is not a permalink, which is totally valid, and his is the first feed to do that as far as I know.
Kevin Hemenway: Extending RSS 2.0 with Namespaces.
Phil Ringnalda: "The first RSS feed I created was done essentially by hand, in my favorite text editor at the time: Notepad."
I saw an ad yesterday with a puzzle. Two men play five chess games. Each wins three games. No ties. How is this possible?
Another puzzle that's not so difficult, from 1997: During the Cold War, a Russian plane crashes at the border of Poland and Germany. Where were the survivors buried?
Solutions to the first two puzzles for people who must know if they got it right. (Not fair to sneak a peak if you don't know.)
And finally for those who have never experienced the magic. Count the F's and be surprised by your cognitive disability.
Daypop is back. Ye-hi.
Gracie Allen: "Never put a period where God has placed a comma."
Ed Cone: "The House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property will hold a hearing on 'Piracy of Intellectual Property on Peer-to-Peer Networks' at 9AM., Thursday, September 26, (2141 Rayburn House Office Building). The Berman-Coble bill will be discussed. The hearings are open to the press."
Libération: Les jouebs, stars éditoriales du Web.
Jeremy Zawodny on life in Silicon Valley: "I came out here to work at a company that has since forgotten how to innovate and take risks. Yippie."
Wired: "Stronger ties between ISPs and file-trading companies could bolster Kazaa's defenses."
Thanks to Jenny for the pointer to this Yale Law article about The Wayback Machine removing articles about Scientology. "While Lawmeme doesn't know all the details of Scientology's request to the Internet Archive, especially the extent of websites removed, we do know that the Internet Archive is blocking all archived versions of one of Scientology's leading critics and the main target in the Google Affair, Xenu.net."
Last year on this day: "It's been not-correct for most of my life for Americans to say we love our country. That's a big bug. We're the world's greatest country and we know it. I love the USA. It gave me life, an education, role models and a philosophy. And if you think we're stupid or decadent, just try fucking with us."
Fred Grott: How to Keep RDF and RSS Straight.
Jon Hanna, on the RSS-DEV list, says that RSS, was "not designed to be of any particular use to bloggers, aggregators, or metadata providers." This is not true. Half of RSS 0.91 was scriptingNews format, which was totally designed to model a weblog in XML.
Great email from the RIAA's Hillary Rosen to execs at Yahoo, Real, AOL and Microsoft, on how to crack down on the millions of Morpheus and Kazaa users. Is this for real?
Ben Silverman, the publisher of Dotcom Scoop, says the Rosen email is real, and part of a confidential internal memo that outlines the RIAA's legal strategy re Kazaa, Music City and Grokster.
Jeremy Bowers: "None of the trackback mechanisms has reached the critical mass necessary to see the negative effects experienced in all other community models."
Ray Ozzie: "How long before we see auto pingback generator spambots?"
John Robb: "Yesterday, AT&T upgraded my cable box to a digital system."
Reuters: "Pets may not only provide good company for their owners, they may also help lower stress, according to new study findings."
I left a big hint there in the way the blogChannel module is designed, patterned after the Syndication module designed by the RDF folk. In other words, the place where they're expressing discomfort with RSS 2.0 is where they can make it their own. Lead. Instead of feeling disempowered, be powerful.
At one point I saw clearly where the compromise between RSS 0.9x and 1.0 was. We could have gotten there in early 2001, so instead we get there in late 2002. So what, not a big deal. Think about how much better it will be when we're all advocating the same format. Visualize peace. That's basically what I did when I did the 2.0 spec. I know it's hard to swallow, but swallow anyway. If I did it, you can too.
Mixed news from yesterday's heart checkup.
First, I went seven minutes on the treadmill. That was pretty good. My heart was racing like it hadn't since I was in college. They also did an extensive ultrasound on my carotid arteries, they're in the neck and supply my head with blood. More good news there. They're clear, free of plaque, healthy, not diseased. So it appears I just have coronary artery disease, not general artery disease. That's good because there would be a risk of stroke if they were sick, and not a whole lot they can do about it (as they can with the heart).
Now there was some not-good news. A small part of my heart isn't working very well. There are a few possible reasons for that, some fixable, some not. I asked the doctor, does this mean I'm going to die sooner, and he said no. Does it mean I have to restrict what I do, he said no. So what does it mean? Really not much, other than I should watch, as before, for recurring symptoms, the ones that brought me into the hospital in June. If they come back, we'll do an angiogram, and maybe an angioplasty, but the likelihood of another bypass because of this is small. That's quite a relief. I don't like the idea of part of my heart not working, but what can you do about it?
Bruce Loebrich has scraped RSS feeds for Google news, and a RSS 2.0 success story. In other words, it's okay to use the features in 2.0. We're doing it at UserLand and so is Bruce.
Sam Ruby: "Yup, I'm a sick puppy." Me too!
Note to self: Read the pingback spec. Form opinion.
Dotcom Scoop: "CNET's Download.com is set to introduce a new program for its Download.com software portal. Beginning Sept. 30, software vendors will be charged a fee to upload their wares. There is also a monthly-package to get better placement on the site."
Ray Ozzie: Software Platform Dynamics.
Jeremy Allaire: Wholistic Web Services.
News.Com: "Linux is a serious competitor," said Ballmer.
Scoble: "I'm just not that excited by much that Microsoft is doing."
NY Times: "Google's automated editors appeared to match the work of human competitors."
BBC: "Some critics have been less than impressed with Google's news service."
Looks like Google did a deal to index the NY Times. If you do this news search, and mouse over the link, you'll see there's a partner attribute on the URL, like the ones in our links. What are the implications of this? Here's one. Martin Nisenholtz may now have a chance of winning his bet with me.
Lance Knobel of Davos Newbies does a quick review of Tony Blair's case against Sadam Hussein.
Aaron Swartz: "If everyone is afraid to speak, who will defend our right to download?" I'm not afraid.
Lest anyone doubt that Brent has a good heart. "I laughed, because here's the irony -- on this site, on my own personal weblog, Radio UserLand rather than NetNewsWire is the most-used aggregator."
Iowa: "There was frost outside this morning!"
Wired: "An urgent business proposition and requests for urgent assistance from a so-called Nigerian official were heeded by a Detroit bank secretary in the latest example of how the ubiquitous e-mail scam actually works."
9/2/00: "In the overworked world of Web development, there's no time to study, there's only time to do."
Jeremy Zawodny who works at Yahoo Finance offers an RSS 0.91 feed for every stock. It's a beta feature. Here's the feed for Microsoft and one for Marimba. Thanks to Jon Udell for the pointer. Nice. Jon also notes that Microsoft doesn't show up too strong in the weblog world and describes a conversation with John Montgomery about this. What a small world. John and I got to know each other when we did the work on SOAP in the late 90s, and weblog software is one of the major reasons we were interested in SOAP. So close, but so far. But it's never too late!
"rssflowersalignright"I've gotten to know Phil Ringalda over the last few weeks in all the discussions about RSS 2.0, and I like him, and would like to work with him in the future. I don't say that lightly. This evening he posted a note on his weblog that he was giving up trying to get RDF to make sense inside RSS. As I read his essay I could feel two-plus years of exhaustion overwhelm me. I found myself writing a comment after his essay saying, among other things "RSS is not a brilliant format. It is a compromise. It is for syndicating news feeds. That's all it is for, for the 18,000th time." It's time for RDF to pack its bags and leave. RSS deserves some dignity, as does RDF. Emphatically, once and for all, they are not the same thing. Peace be with you RDF. Leave RSS alone. Thank you.
Ed Cone: "I told my grandmother goodbye."
Paul Everitt: Interop in the Bazaar.
CNN Headline News: To Blog or not to Blog.
Phil Wolff: Dave Winer books I'll buy. Sweet!
Halley: "When is someone going to create audio fonts for Christ's sake."
NY Times piece on reporters with weblogs.
Sheila Lennon was interviewed for the Times piece.
Slashdot reports that Amazon still wants to patent the Web.
News.Com: "Amazon.com is hoping to use more than the honor system to protect a payment method it established online last year."
Shelley Powers raises some interesting questions re whether RDF has a place in syndication. She says that RDF is trying to build a persistent database (aka the Semantic Web) and RSS is trying to flow news that has a short lifespan. I had not heard this point before. It's worth thinking about.
I've been hearing a lot about FOAF, which is an acronym for Friend Of A Friend. It's an RDF-based file format that lets you walk a network of people who are friends. It's a lot like a network of blogrolls.
Google PR sends a message that they have a new News service. Maybe I'm slow this morning, or maybe I'm spoiled, but what's the big deal. I thought they already had this. My personal aggregator is better, it shows me what I'm interested in, it's not one size fits all. Help me figure this out. I'm sure there's something innovative here, I just don't see it.
News.Com: Google search gets newsier.
Gold Lake Mountain Resort looks pretty gooood. Man there are a lot of cool relaxing places to stay in Colorado. Keep the suggestions coming.
After posting my comment yesterday about next things I want to do, I'm starting to get job offers. Hey I wasn't expecting that. But I like it I like it. Especially in this stinkin economy. On the other hand can you imagine me with a job?
Tara Sue got Slashdotted yesterday. I could see the secondary effects, I was linked to from the article that they linked to. They are still the flow machine. Good for Tara Sue. Coble got Slashdotted too. And the link to his bio is still broken.
What incentivizes Xian? Orgasms, praise and money. Sounds about right to me.
My next project, Murphy-willing, is to finish the Weblog Outliner tool. It lets you use Radio as an outliner to write for Blogger, Movable Type, Manila and/or Radio, or all at once. Screen shot. I had almost completed the project in June and then Murphy put me in the hospital. That's why I always say "Murphy-willing" and remember His first commandment. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Second commandment. It's even worse than it appears.
Next problem. I have two free days in Colorado after the Digital Identity conference. Looking for a place to go with scenic beauty, hot tub, fall colors, nice accomodations, not too far from Denver, maybe near a river or a lake but probably near a ski area. Where is that great place for rest really nearby Denver??
Howard Greenstein and son pay a visit to the baseball team that's steeped in deep philosophy, the NY Mets.
10/21/00: "We all must know that the world will go on even if the team we love loses. That's the Mets philosophy, we're steeped in love that's not conditional on defeating the other guys. The Mets in the early 1960s were very futuristic in that way."
Adam Curry: "Ever since the Osbournes' mega-success in the states (now world-wide) we'd been receiving offers to do a similar show in Europe."
Ed Cone: "And how was the food?"
It's interesting to watch Phillip Pearson, a Python programmer, learn how to program in Radio. The two languages are quite close.
An email from a reader who is offended. Maybe you should just stop reading my site. Or maybe being offended isn't such a bad thing. God knows I find your complaint offensive. What would you be willing to do about that?
I've given a lot of thought lately to the question of whether I will return to UserLand full-time at some point in the future. I still don't have a final decision, but I'm leaning towards not going back. It's a tough job even for people with strong bodies, and that's not me, now, and maybe not for quite some time. I haven't been involved in the company since mid-June and it seems to be doing fine. I'd like to try some different things out, perhaps teaching, maybe I'll write a book, travel, spend some time pondering what's next. I'm still not sure what I'll do, but like I said, I'm doing a lot of thinking about this.
Weblogs and healing, part four. Rod Kratochwill sent me an email after my last essay on the subject, saying that his weblog was helping him process the loss of his wife in a car accident earlier this year. I just read his weblog and got some small sense of his pain. By telling the story in public, by sharing -- even with strangers, it spreads out, and perhaps the sense of alone-ness dissipates. Best wishes Rod, if nothing else, you're being heard.
99 days no-smoke Dave. Tomorrow is 100. What does it mean? I can smell stuff. Tuesday is the big doctor's appt where I find out how my heart is doing. I go on the treadmill and get an ultrasound and EKG. By then it will have been 100 days since the surgery. Meanwhile after the last couple of weeks, starting with Seybold on Sept 11, I'm sleeping a lot to catch up on my 12 hours per day that I had been missing. I also decided I should go to Denver for Digital ID World. Not speaking, just as an attendee. What a luxury. No work to do, just schmooze and play.
Seth Russell: "The RSS 2.0 spec just reflects where the market is and where it wants to go. It's simple, uncontrived, and preserves the momentum of RSS. It is truly going to be difficult for a committee to come up with a better spec." Thanks.
I have a new test version of the channel compiler. If you've been seeing doubles after installing the last version, try this one out and see if the doubles don't stop. They have here, so far. But you have to wait for a variety of channels to update and convert to 2.0 to see the problems. I'm going to keep testing for a couple of days before releasing. Postscript: After three scans, it works great. No doubles. It's guid-aware. Yippee!
Michael Sippey wants to know what RSS is useful for beyond syndicating and reading news. Answer: nothing. That's what it does. Yes synthetic channels are a good idea. For TV program guides and interfacing with calendars. But if you want to do the Semantic Web, you need a different format. They're still discussing it on the RSS-DEV list. At some point I will write up a Where We Are document, that also explains the last two years of RSS and why it was so confusing. It won't be about blame, we can move beyond that now. Here's the synopsis. RSS stayed pretty constant while we all argued about what it is. We wasted a lot of time. Let's hope that's over now.
On this day in 1999, Jon Udell became a RSS channel in BYTE. And on this day in 1997 I was reading Microserfs. Did you know they came up with a new application for Lenin? I thought this was especially brilliant. As I said then, "It's not just about Microsoft" and it's not just about Lenin either.
BBC: "Californian authorities have decided against prosecuting former astronaut Buzz Aldrin after he punched a documentary maker who claimed his moon missions were faked."
IBM DeveloperWorks: "XML-RPC is the granddaddy of XML Web services."
Yesterday the weblog community found a peaceful solution to a war that was brewing.
It was the world vs Erin Clerico. There were so many people savaging him, I didn't see anyone looking for a way out of the dispute betw Erin and blogger Dave Johnson. For some reason I got a lot of email about this. I told everyone that as far as I could tell Johnson was being a gentleman, and that even though I'm not a lawyer, it seemed that Erin didn't have much of a case (he was threatening to sue). But I also asked people to stop calling Erin names, and try to see it from his point of view. He's worked hard to build a business that people respect, and he's upset that someone is doing something that may harm his business. He has a valid point, and probably would back down if people would just listen. So that's what I did, I listened, and it worked, they both backed down and peace came about.
Proves a point, sometimes someone has to be strong for there to be peace. When everyone is cowardly except the person being attacked, there's no way out. That's why the logjam over RSS broke. Mark Pilgrim had the courage to get the facts. That was a big deal. Yesterday some of Erin's detractors called him a bully. He's not a bully, he was just scared, but they were bullies. A mob, no better than white men lynching black men. No thinking going on. A blood sport. I am ashamed to be associated in any way with this. Think before you join a mob. Use your mind, and when you see people being cruel, have the guts to say it's wrong.
Bullies have a way of backing down when they feel the presence of just a tiny bit of courage. It takes courage to say "Let's find a way out of this." And that's how you can tell the difference betw the abuser and the abused. One doesn't want a way out, and the other desperately does.
A security hole was closed in Radio Community Server last night. Highly recommended that all RCS installations update asap.
Here's a feature request cast into the wind, not for anyone in particular. When I post a comment on weblog, as I do more often these days, I'd like to be notified when someone else posts to the same item, or perhaps the same weblog. It would automate something I do manually now. It would require a lot of cooperation to make such a feature work. More ideas here, in a comment thread, of course.
Introducing the North Carolina Ladies of Liberty. "Their turn-ons are long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners and free-market economies."
John Robb: "I still think that the only way out of this mess is to force people to pay to communicate with me."
The BBC's Ivan Noble is blogging the treatment of his malignant brain tumor, diagnosed in August.
Tara Sue: "It's not about music, it's our privacy stupid!"
Tara, it's not just privacy (although that's important) it's also about protecting private property. When Hollywood hacks our computers, they might destroy my property while they try to protect theirs. What if they destroy a recording I made, that I own the copyright on? Wouldn't that be ironic. I wonder if Michael Eisner would let me come check his system without a search warrant and delete stuff I didn't think he should have? No I didn't so.
I delayed the release of the new channel compiler I talked about yesterday. I'm seeing some problems I want to look into. It's a pretty delicate piece of code.
Are you going to Digital ID World in Denver?
Jason Lefkowitz: "If you asked the average citizen to tell you where important things were happening in American politics today, odds are that not many would point to Guilford County, North Carolina."
It's been a while since we had a little pseudo-intimate conversation, also known as Morning Coffee Notes. I write these in the morning, while drinking coffee, of course. At the beginning of a MCN you're getting the mind of a well-rested Dave, but one whose alertness hasn't yet been enhanced. But by the end, you're hearing from a new improved Dave, you might think of him as "Dave Plus" -- and the extra not so secret ingredient is -- you guessed it -- coffee!
First note. Thank heaven for Joel Spolsky. A pundit almost everyone can disagree with. Let's pop the stack on that one. First everyone likes Joel, but he says outrageous things that set my head spinning and make me want to rebut him and of course point to him, which is probably the secret to Joel's high flow.
Yesterday I read on Brent Simmons' personal site that Joel had dissed the Mac again, saying you had to be a hobbyist to develop for it, because you certainly can't make a living selling software for it. Now Windows, there's a platform a developer can profit on, boasts Joel. He quotes Robb Beal saying that venture capitalists run the other way when they hear "Mac" -- but that's too easy to dispense with, they do the same thing when you say "software" or "Windows" (they believe in the power of antitrust), or "Internet" (how times change), and aside from that, these days, who the hell cares what VCs think anyway? They're about as influential as an ex-CEO of General Magic, or a Lisa product manager from the early 80s.
Further, as I said on Brent's site, today's Mac market is ten times the size of the PC market in 1982, the one that made Mitch Kapor a mega-gazillionaire with his hit spreadsheet, Lotus 1-2-3. The Mac market may actually be 100 times the size of that market. Further, it's a lot easier to reach Mac users through free marketing channels, the kinds of channels a sole practitioner like Brent can afford.
Matt Croyden reviewed tonight's Cato Institute debate in Washington entitled Let Hollywood Hack.
The SF Chron asks how much we should blame journalists for the dotcom craze.
Radio Free Blogistan: Reading blog books.
Sjoerd Visscher started a mail list for support of RSS 2.0.
I'm having lunch today with a bunch of ex-Apple people at the Computer History Museum at Moffet Field in Mountain View. This year is the 25th anniversary of the founding of Apple. Next year they're going to have a gala to celebrate. I'm encouraging them to include developers in the celebration. They want to use a weblog to coordinate the work. An opportunity for a win-win, and a chance to see some old friends.
Early this evening, Murphy-willing, we'll release a new channel compiler for Radio and Frontier that is guid-aware, per the evangelism I posted on Monday. Before doing the release, it would be great if a few adventurous Radio users downloaded the part, installed it, and verified that the News Aggregator still works. The cool thing about the new version is that now the aggregator will only show truly new items. In the past it had to guess which items were new. Now it can tell for sure. (But only for 2.0 feeds that support guids.)
Chilling Effects: "Do you know your online rights? Have you received a letter asking you to remove information from a Web site or to stop engaging in an activity? Are you concerned about liability for information that someone else posted to your online forum? If so, this site is for you."
John Robb: "If you had complete control over a browser connected to Radio, what would you add to it that would improve the experience?"
Brian Buck: "I wanted to start a weblog about my cancer treatment long before I had the guts to actually do it." Brian helped me see that I could use my weblog to get back in the world before my body was ready to. He's an innovator, which really isn't a surprise, I knew Brian before he got sick, and he was an innovator then too. Life doesn't end when you get sick, and for people who are healthy, hearing from people whose bodies are sick can be very fear-evoking. But when there's a screen and a net connection between us, that can create enough distance so that we can communicate. Information can save your life. Weblogs can help disseminate that information. And it's possible that just being in contact with the rest of the world can save lives too. Intuitively I believe that's true. These days when you get heart surgery, they have you take your first walk within 24 hours of the surgery. They want you out of bed asap. Weblogs, in a very real sense, get your mind out of bed, and back in the world. They can help alleviate the endless aloneness that's part of recovery.
A long time ago I offered to develop for a hot startup called General Magic. I was going to do the work for free. I wanted to explore a new platform. They turned me down, saying they already had enough developers. Yesterday they announced they are shutting down the company. Now no one knows if one developer's software would have made the difference, but it's been known for a long time that exclusive platforms die and inclusive ones have a chance. It's why the Mac worked and Lisa didn't. If you're lucky enough to get a gazillion dollars invested behind your ideas, never say no to a developer. They might have the next VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3, PageMaker or Mosaic.
Eric Vitello: "I highly suggest that we start from scratch, and not worry about backwards compatability." This is exactly the kind of thinking I was writing about in my Discontinuities piece. He goes on to say that developers won't mind, which shows that he understands that there's an issue of the installed base. He's wrong about developers not minding. They do, generally, mind when they have to do work just to stay in place. We like to do work to delight our users and make our product work better.
The trouble with Jeff Barr and Bill Kearney continues.
Jason Levine: "Did you hear? There's a virus that's causing infected websites to display only XML today." Hehe.
Fredrik Lundh sent a pointer to his EffNews project to build an RSS news reader for Windows. He says there are some problems that we need to fix on our end before he can support RSS 2.0. I cc'd his email to my namespace rabbis, Tim Bray, Sam Ruby and Sjoerd Visscher. It's great to work with Fredrik again. It was his early support of XML-RPC, in Python, that got the ball rolling.
Very quietly earlier this morning I removed the caveat from the RSS 2.0 spec. Anxiously awaiting the end of the universe.
A copy of the email I sent to Evan Williams, Ben Trott and Jake Savin re support for RSS 2.0 in Weblog tools.
I posted some thoughts below on Health and the Web.
I'm testing a new guid-aware service compiler for Radio's aggregator. When I change the text of this item, it should not reappear on the News page in the next scan. This addresses a long-standing feature request, made possible by RSS 2.0. (The change is not yet released. Just testing. Hi Jake.)
Jeff Barr says I lied about Bill Kearney's message about deathbeds. I don't see how Jeff could possibly know.
NY Times: "Sun Microsystems plans to throw its weight behind the 'open source' software movement on Wednesday as part of an industry effort to offer an alternative to Microsoft's Windows."
Last night I got a thoughtful email from Sean Palmer on a way to make RSS 2.0 work for people who want to develop in RDF. While reading it, I took a break to look at last year's archive for this day, and found an essay written by Palmer explaining the Semantic Web. I really appreciate the time and effort he's put into this. It's totally worth seeing if we can all use the same format going forward. If anything his email is too generous to UserLand (but that's a flaw I can easily overlook). RSS must also work for our competitors. Yesterday I sent an email to Ben Trott at Movable Type asking for his support. Later today I'll write to Evan Williams (I think Evan is busier, I could be wrong about that). I've been emailing with Sam Gentile, Brent Simmons and Juri Pakaste, all of whom make aggregators. The goal is to lay a frozen foundation for interop so the market can straighten out and then stabilize. There's a good mix of tools and aggregators. Some are commercial, some are open source. All platforms are covered.
I don't write much about my health because I don't like to dwell on it here. My weblog is one of the few parts of my life that is realtively unaffected by the disease that I have and the recovery from the surgery that I had in June to treat the disease. In the coming years I think we'll find that weblogs are very good for promoting recovery. I'm glad to report it really helps when you're limited physically, to still be able to be part of the world through the Web.
In some of the discourse over the last few days I've heard people say that I've recovered, so now I'm fair game. Well, I don't subscribe to the belief that just because someone writes in public that that makes them a fair target for attack, but in case it's not clear, I am not recovered. I am running at a much slower speed than I was before. I am weak.
I think most of these people are young. Their bodies are strong. They don't see me so they don't know that I'm older than they are, and even if they did see me, they probably wouldn't see the weakness. But it is there.
I want to keep working, but if the choice is between my health and work, health is going to win. If your body is healthy here's a chance for you to learn. Some day it won't be. You may ask other people to cut you some slack because of that, as I am now. I believe that offering a kindness comes back in the form of kindness; and that being cruel comes back as cruelty. So take a moment before posting a flame and ask yourself if you really have to do it. And never make assumptions about the strength of person on the receiving end of your attack. They may not be able to speak up for themselves as I can. And they may not be able to handle it.
On one of the threads a blogger named Stavros said that he wanted to see me take on all comers. I sometimes get the idea that people show up for the flamefests as a form of entertainment. It is not entertaining for me. In one of the threads I asked if people really cared. No one said they did. Now I know some people will attack me for saying this. So be it. I'm going to keep working and creating as long as it makes sense to. But if it gets too heavy I'll stop working altogether, permanently. I'm too good to be wasted as a form of entertainment.
I have a pretty good idea why Jon Postel died at such a young age. And why Douglas Adams did. The pressure of living a creative life is enormous. When that intersects with the Internet the pressure can increase to an unsustainable level. If other people doubt that lives are at stake, I don't.
JRobb: "I am proud to announce the launch of Frontier 9."
It feels good to get approval. Thanks Sam.
Daypop: "It turns out Daypop is out of disk space."
Don Park: "I am for open source, but I am against wholesale adoption of free software because I believe it harms the health of software industry."
How to ruin your life in one email.
Michel Vuijlsteke: "And the hits started rolling in."
Brent Simmons: "For RSS adoption to continue, stability is important. Developers should not spend their time scrambling to support new specs: they should spend their time building better apps." Exactly.
Mikel Maron: "With this tool, the Radio Community Server can act as a RSS Cache for Radio Userland Aggregators."
With almost 2.5 million page reads in the last year, Scripting News would not qualify for the small-flow categories in the Online Journalism Awards. Their cutoff is 200,000 visits per month. We did more than that.
Sean Gallagher: "Detroit is a city that looks like you might expect a city to look after a neutron bomb went off in it; most of the buildings are still standing, but the people are gone."
Discourse in the RSS community has reached new lows, but none of this means that RSS 2.0 will be delayed by even one moment.
A note to developers of RSS aggregators about a feature in RSS 2.0 that they may want to take advantage of.
Daniel Brandt: Google's Original Sin.
USA Today: "We're on the threshold of a whole new system," says Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. "The time where accountants decide what music people hear is coming to an end."
MacMerc explains RSS from a Mac user's point of view.
News.Com: "Why does the White House refuse to tell Microsoft to get tough on security?"
9/7/01: "Since when do lawyers negotiate this way?"
Sean Gallagher reviews the Courtyard by Marriott in Detroit. Which reminds me that when I stayed in San Francisco last week at Le Hotel Argent, I was given a non-smoking room that stank of smoke. I groaned at the irony. Just a few weeks ago I would have been annoyed at being given a non-smoking room. This time I was (more than a little) annoyed at the utter stench of the room. BTW, 94 days of non-smoking. Seems to be working. On Saturday I didn't get the urge for a cigarette until late morning. Not bad.
Jeremy Allaire: "Real-time computing is essentially a new, uncharted world."
News.Com: "Sun Microsystems, backed into a corner by competitors and by economics, is launching new projects in an effort to revitalize its diminished computer-industry leadership."
Murphy paid a visit to Jenny The Librarian, who we missed dearly, since early August. She explains what happens. Oy.
JY Stervinou starts a mail list for Radio users who speak French.
The Second Open Source Content Management Conference will take place "at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, from Wednesday, 25 September to Friday, 27 September 2002."
Karlin Lillington: "Just over a year ago my friend Maura lost her beloved sister Anne, one of the Irish 9/11 victims in the Twin Towers."
Blogroots thread on RSS evolution. Some interesting points of view; a mostly respectful discussion, so far. The key to deciding the issue for the best is to avoid ad hominems, they distract from the real issues, which really aren't that complicated.
Straw is a desktop news aggregator for the GNOME environment. I got an interesting email from the author of the program, Juri Pakaste, asking if it made sense to add features to RSS 2.0 that link to a blogroll and a list of subscriptions. My philosophy is that yes if it makes sense to Juri, then I think it's cool. Why? Because he's out there developing software for the format, and he's friendly about it (even though it competes with my own software). It's only because we are trying to work out a compromise that I don't just add the features to the 2.0 spec right now, and add support for it to the Radio serializer. In other words, we could move a lot faster if we didn't try to placate our critics. (And lots of luck with that, I don't think they're looking to settle.)
Here's a test version of the RSS 2.0 serializer for Radio 8.
Syndic8 tracks RSS feeds by language, RSS versions, change dates, toolkits, etc. It'll be interesting to see 2.0 feeds show up as people start trying the new serializer in Radio, and other blogging tools start to offer 2.0 serialization.
The author of Amphetadesk, Kevin Hemenway, comments on the allowed link and url types in RSS 2.0, that derive from the same requirements in RSS 0.91.
Adam Curry: "There's only one thing I dislike more than missing a day on my weblog, is when Dave misses a day on his." I love that sentiment, but it's good for me to take a day off every so often. Smell the roses, invent new stuff, make new friends, etc etc.
Ted Shelton: "Coca-Cola, for example, has never disclosed their recipe for Coke -- Would Lessig compel them to disclose this recipe?"
Lessig: "Trade secrets are forever."
Dan Gillmor on Apple's iCal: "Give me a break. This is even more beta-ish than the OS update."
Phil Wainewright: "The fierce debate over RSS 2.0 is of course a mere blip on the scale of human concerns when compared to the question of terrorism and the war against it. Yet both are a product of the same network forces that are throwing the human race together into the single melting pot of our modern, connected world."
The new target date for RSS 2.0 is Tuesday of next week. Maybe Wednesday. But no later than that. If you have more to say, please review the spec, and say it, hopefully without threats or ad hominems. It's a good spec, no matter what the naysayers would have you believe. Have a great weekend.
Davos Newbies: "It's ironic, given the US lead on the issue and the US tradition of comparative openness, that we may well see the most comprehensive case against Saddam issue from London and not Washington."
"thinkusaalignright"Lance asks why there is no debate on war in Iraq in the US. Good question. I'll do my part. I'm in the US. I am against the US going to war with Iraq. Saddam has had chemical and biological weapons for a long time. Nothing new there. The US apparently doesn't believe he has nuclear weapons, but even if he does, or if he gets them, he's about as likely to use them as India and Pakistan were in their war earlier this year. In the end the same balance that applied betw the US and the Soviet Union and China in previous decades applies in Central Asia. Nuclear weapons are not tactical devices, they are strategic. They are only useful as potential weapons. They say Saddam is a madman. I don't think he's so crazy as to use nuclear weapons. My hope is that this war talk is just posturing to get the inspectors back in, which of course would be a good thing.
Reuters: "Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov warned Baghdad on Friday to cooperate with the United Nations or face the consequences."
Mark Pilgrim's inner dialog is rude and phlegmy today.
On this day last year, the US flags started flying. Doc asked what we'll call the day. Pictures from space and the ground. The impact of 9-11 was starting to be felt in the economy. Wired found an eerie image on an audio CD. Personal stories from people who were there, and those who were not. Dan Gillmor was stranded in Africa. Of course it wouldn't be the Web if Dan's links worked.
Tony Pierce: "Did the LA Times really do a story on bloggers and not even interview one LA Blogger?"
Over on Blogroots Matt Pfeffer coins "journ-o-list." (As a tribute to "blog-o-sphere.")
James Vornov: "For me, AOL would have to provide a package of content to get me back. Video and audio are obvious hooks, but content from magazines, if exclusive, could pull me back."
NY Times: "This company is becoming more and more like Time Warner and less like AOL."
News.Com: "As with Napster, record and movie companies are seeking to prove that [Kazaa and Morpheus] knew of the widespread copyright infringement going on using their networks and that they had the ability to stop it."
Of course the big opportunity for AOL is the vast music collection of Time-Warner. Publish low-rez scans of the music. Let me download them to a local computer system via AOL-Broadband. Monthly fee to participate. All the music I want.
If I play the music using WinAmp, I get a one-click way to order the high-rez CD via snail mail. A way to make huge bucks on the libraries that aren't making any money.
Only Time-Warner music. Be a leader. Hey it works for Turner Classic Movies. They only have MGM. That's enough to be interesting. I speak as an enthusiastic user.
Of course if I were King of AOL, I'd also let the users create and publish weblogs, for an annual fee, of course.
Last year yesterday, Scripting News covered the events of the day. I recommend reading from the bottom up. The day began as any day on SN begins. A few nerdy links. Then I got an email from Bill Seitz. A plane just crashed into the WTC. A link to the Empire State Building webcam. Another plane crash. What?? More emails. Pictures. Confusion. One of the towers collapses. Comments from all over the world. Pictures live from the scene. A day when everyone was involved, no one was ambivalent.
Last year on this day, we began to pick up the pieces, to figure out what had happened, and see what it meant to each of us. Thoughts from one year later are here. Over the next few days I will link back one year on the same day, allowing those who want to, to retrace the steps after 9-11-01. I plan to make time every day to review it, to click on the links, to re-experience the enormous growth, through the medium I love, the World Wide Web.
Speaking of love for the Web, how would the Web be the Web if it didn't have adorable political humor. I got an email from JP Kang identifying the two Korean guys. "I'm pretty sure it's Kim Jong Il (North Korean leader) on the left and Kim Dae Jung (South Korean president) on the right." Funny. I thought they were television salesmen, the Korean versions of Crazy Eddie or Ron Popeil.
Salon: Forbidden thoughts about 9/11.
David Davies: "I got a phone call from the BBC asking if they could use my yellow VW Beetle for a programme shoot they had planned for Friday. Seems they called my local VW garage asking for a yellow Beetle and the garage put them on to me. The programme is called 'Doctors', a daytime soap. Never seen nor heard of it!"
Le Weblog. France gets Radio hosting. In French. Next week.
If you are a member of the LA Times website (I just joined) you may want to read this article about weblogs. It is not, imho, a reason to join the site. Tony Pierce reviews the article. "dear LA Times, hi. you suck." Blogroots has an item about this. If you hurry up you can still get the first post.
Jeremy Allaire has a new weblog. Welcome!
Time-Warner Chairman Richard Parsons: "'If (AOL) is going to live, and I think it is, it will be somewhat like HBO,' the company's cable-television division. He added that AOL would need to schedule programming that people were willing to pay for." Does this strike you as weird? I thought AOL was an email and instant messaging service. Programming like HBO? I like the Sopranos and Six Feet Under. Great stuff. But what does that have to do with AOL? I must be missing something.
Werblog: "Maybe I'm reading the tea leaves wrong, but I wonder what it means that Leonsis is stepping back into the fray?"
A heads-up. Frontier 9 is now available. I'm not going to write about it until next week. I have not been in the loop on its development. Regular readers of this site will know that I'm still recovering from major surgery in June. A long road back. In the meantime, UserLand has not stood still, and that's good for my health and I think it will make our users happy, and that of course makes me feel good. Ooops, I guess I just did comment.
A milestone. This week was my first overnight outing away from home after the surgery. On Tuesday night I attended a dinner hosted by Jeff Ubois, with Brewster Kahle, Sally Richards, Brian Zisk, Sylvia Paull, John Gilmore, and about 30 other friendly souls from San Francisco. Checked in to the Argent Hotel, ran a panel at Seybold and participated in one. Took an hour walk through the Embarcadero in late afternoon, saw a crowd enter PacBell Park once and exit twice. This morning I expected to feel wiped. I don't. My very human body continues to impress.
Amazingly the flames over RSS 2.0 continue. There are so many ways around the acrimony. The flames aren't from passion, not from love, not from creativity, but from somewhere else I don't understand. I have a relaxing weekend planned. So instead of spending it arguing with tech people who are driven to create a Semantic Web, I'm going to indulge, in a personal Romantic Web. Maybe on Monday it will all be clear. Maybe Tuesday. In the meantime, I have a question that interests me, and maybe it interests you too..
Why be Semantic when you can be Romantic?
Good morning survivors of 9-11 and everything that's happened since. Glad to be back after a night and day of schmoozing in San Francisco.
Last year at this time we were shocked out of normalcy. Then, of course, we found a new normal, and settled in.
Swinging back, one year later, there is still a deep sadness. Watching and listening to the symbols of 9-11 I find my love for this country, which is unabated, which is even enhanced by the challenges we share. An event like 9-11 brings us to gather, and events that do that, no matter how much grief they create, are wonderful, rich, powerful, enlivening, and believe it or not, healing. It's easier to see that one year later. We've been through so much, together, we were able to weep for the dead, close the wound, reunite, and move forward.
9-11-02 was a sweet event even if the sweetness had a bitter taste. The dust swirling in the midst of ground zero. The geeky looking bagpipers. A visibly aged Giuliani. A stiff Bush. In San Francisco yesterday everything was normal and nothing was. In a way 9-11-01 was a gift. It gave us a shared memory, a real one, a heart-reaching one. Yesterday we did normal stuff. But we also paused to reflect and share, to think, to remember.
Note: During the day tomorrow there will be no updates to Scripting News. I'll be in SF at Seybold, leading a discussion on Web Services for Publishing with people from Amazon, Apple, Google and Jake Savin of UserLand. I may be able to update my Radio weblog, but only if there's something really important to report. So best wishes for a happy and safe 9-11.
Jake Savin: BBEditManila Tool. This a really nutso (in a nice way) tool that lets you edit the home page of a Manila site using BBEdit on a Macintosh. It's Jake's demo for tomorrow's session at Seybold on Web Services in Publishing. It's sweet. Two-Way-Web all the way.
Jon Udell: "While bitterly arguing about which end of the egg to crack, everyone is busily cracking eggs and making omelettes."
Nathan Torkington is a humble servant of our lord, Murphy.
The Korean guys never stop dancing.
BBC: "The United States says it has firm information that Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network is planning attacks on US interests in Asia and the Middle East."
Scott Rosenberg: "Are there really hordes of investors sitting there saying, 'Ohmigod, I had no idea there was an anniversary of a terrorist attack coming up! Thanks, government, for warning me -- excuse me while I put in my sell order.'"
Reuters: Stocks End Higher.
Tara Sue: "It's just me, ranting through the night."
Ray Ozzie: Tyranny, Terror and Technology.
Werblog reports that Netscape's share is now four percent.
Pyra moves downtown.
Emailing with Joe Gregorio, who said on a mail list that RSS should not be considered a standard, I agreed. I cringe when people call it a standard. Then the conversation swung around to what I thought should happen. I spelled it out.
I'm going to push back the caveat-removing on the 2.0 spec by 24 hours. Still have work to do on the sample file, I want to look into the RFC for time-date specs, and get started on the Radio implementation of 2.0. I have to prepare for Seybold tomorrow, and I want to a little memorial for 9-11. A busy few days for a guy still recovering. Also, it would be great if people who make content tools could review the 2.0 spec and see if there are any deal-stoppers.
Shiny Blue Grasshopper: "We will honor the victims of September 11th on this anniversary by reflecting on peace and healing, and by hoping that our governments spare additional innocent families the suffering that thousands of American families already have experienced."
Hard as I tried not to be spooked by the one year anniversary of 9-11, I'm succumbing, yielding, lingering.
Look at the Scripting News archive for one year ago today, and knowing what you know about how the shit was going to break loose, consider how naive, how unprocessed we all were before.
9/10/98: "As Kurt Vonnegut might say, Ho hum!"
St Petersburg Times: Blog Bonanza.
They also have a nice review of Radio UserLand. Cool!
Adrian Holovaty advises that the hidden BBC feeds he found last week aren't being updated, and he's been told by the BBC that they will disappear soon. We still have the four feeds they announced officially. Those are excellent.
Phillip Pearson's Blogging Ecosystem keeps on bloggin.
Wednesday's session at Seybold on Web Services.
These Korean dancing guys are too distracting to put on this page. Whatever I put them next to becomes invisible. Believe it or not, they came to me in a piece of spam mail.
Karlin Lillington: "What society keeps its citizens under greater, round the clock surveillance than any other? Russia? Indonesia? North Korea? Why no -- it's Great Britain."
Thanks for the words of encouragement Adam. I used to think that for every line of code I had to, on average, smoke a certain number of cigarettes. Now that I'm easing my way back in, I find it's actually easier to do technical work without smoking. And cheaper too. Last time I checked it was over $5 per pack in Calif.
Before then, if you see any problems (not mega-problems, please), let me know.
But it's not "speak now or forever hold your peace." In the Roadmap section I call for a 2.0.1 and 2.0.2 and even a 2.0.3 would be reasonable, to clarify and correct.
Two years ago today: "What are the applications of P2P technology? Well believe it or not, I have the answer."
Three years ago today was 9/9/99. The world didn't melt.
And last year on this day we started tracking cumulative hits for this page. In 365 days, 2,497,292 hits.
Burton and Pilgrim perfectly reduce the Great RDF Debate to two simple soundbites.
Kevin Burton: "The RSS 0.9x branch is just a temporary diversion while people are still trying to grasp the semantic web."
Mark Pilgrim: "I agree 100%. Keep in mind, however, that HTML is just a temporary diversion while people are still trying to grasp SGML."
I'd add this. RSS is not the proving ground for the Semantic Web. It's a publishing format. Its success proves that a simple flow of news, aggregated, is a popular way to read newspapers, magazines and weblogs. That's all it proves.
We've been told to expect stunning breakthroughs from people who are expert in RDF. We've been waiting for years. When they come we will be suitably impressed.
As JLG asked me many years ago "Would it be all right with you, if in the meantime, we continued to sell HyperCard?"
This evening I'm working my way through the Road to RSS 2.0. I've done the global search and replace, fixing two instances of 0.94. Another remains, I need to generate a 2.0 sample. That will be today's Scripting News, Murphy-willing.
This afternoon I worked on a new table for the item sub-element of channel in RSS 2.0.
Jon Gale asks what's sure to be a FAQ: "Why are you moving from 0.94 to 2.0? Why not 1?"
Steve Gillmor issues a correction for his latest column.
Ole Eichorn: "Although it has been under-reported, Apache 2.0 is significantly discontinuous (non-backward-compatible) with Apache 1.3."
John Stanforth disagrees with his former boss, Ole Eichorn. He says that the discontinuities in Apache 2.0 were necessary performance improvements not just for Apache on Windows, on Unix as well.
On this day in 1998, Mark McGwire hit his 62nd home run, breaking Roger Maris's long-held record.
Adam Curry had dinner with a Dutch member of Parliament, found out that the Dutch are going to back US in bombing Iraq with or without UN approval.
Sjoerd Visscher, also from de Nederlands, says the new table in the RSS spec is a big improvement. I think so too. He suggests a way to pseudo-deprecate some of our least favorite elements without causing grief for our friends who are developers of RSS applications. Good. I'm glad we're thinking this way. Zero-based spec design is a good way to keep wonks employed and keep apps away.
Come let's go baby, Le Jazz Hot maybe, it's holding my soul together.
I did a bunch of work on the RSS 0.94 spec this morning, pulling all the required and optional elements except "item" into a new table, ordered roughly in relevance to most implementations. I want to do the same thing with the elements of item. Still in steps 1 and 2 in the Road to 2.0 map, I'm following various discussions, and doing a lot of thinking.
Steve Gillmor: "RSS is an XML syndication standard authored by Dave Winer of SOAP fame, and currently mired in a standards struggle that extends to even what the acronym stands for." It seems Steve had a dream quite similar to the one I had a few days ago.
Ed Cone: "One of the participants at the upcoming Cato Institute debate, economist James Miller, wrote an article called 'Let Hollywood Hack.'"
Thanks to Paolo and Evectors for creating the software that helped Dreamweaver work with Radio.
Colin Faulkingham: "RSS is a dead format that's not really going to go any further."
Saw a great movie on HBO last night, from 1991, starring Harrison Ford and Annette Bening, it was called Regarding Henry. I thought any movie starring those two actors would have to be superficial, overly commercial, and unsatisfying. But what a surprise. This could turn out to be a life-changing movie for me. I saw a lot of parallels in my own life in it. I'll write some more in a bit.
DaveNet: Lessons of 9-11.
Many thanks to Macromedia for supporting Radio in the latest release of Dreamweaver. "For Dreamweaver MX developers, the kit contains extensions for website building and application development. The extensions help display data in PHP applications, add functions to the file menu in Dreamweaver, and edit themes for sites developed using Radio Userland for editing weblogs."
I grew up ten blocks from the World's Fair that Doc and Halley are dreaming about. I wish we could have gone together, the three of us. We could have ridden the monorail through the prehistoric swamp with dinosaurs at the Ford pavillion. Or ate waffles with strawberries at the Belgian Congo. Or glimpsed the future as seen through the eyes of GM. They gave out radioactive badges that glow in the dark. Or come back in 1965 to catch one of the first games at then-new Shea Stadium. There were lots of "ramas" at the end of names of things back in 1964. It would have been Dave-O-Rama and Doc-O-Rama, and Halley-O-Rama.
Imho, the most patriotic thing a US citizen can do on Sept 11 is something that has nothing to do with Sept 11. And to reporters who are already in meta-meta-news mode on this (in other words news about news about news), here's a good filter to apply when deciding if you should report on something. Was there actually any news? If so, go ahead. If not, skip it.
Good morning. I have started to implement the changes outlined below. Please only review the doc if you have a high tolerance for confusion and want to help. First, I've added the section explaining how to extend RSS through namespaces. I'm basically telling you to ask the W3C how namespaces work, and do it the way they tell you to do it. I don't want to assume the problem of documenting namespaces in the RSS spec. Then I modified the roadmap, it got a lot simpler. No more innovation. RSS is frozen. Only minor adjustments are contemplated. I learned this lesson in the XML-RPC spec process, it would have been a good idea to set the expectation that there would be tiny little almost insignificant tweaks, to make those possible without opening the door to rewriting the whole world. Live and learn. The next thing to do is read and review and think and listen, and then do the global search and replace. I'm going to enjoy doing that.
Mark Pilgrim: "This is a brief history of RSS from July 2000 to November 2000, during which time RSS 0.9x and RSS 1.0 forked. I try to focus on specific people and conversations that document why the fork occurred. I was not involved in any of this, but much (not all) of the discussion has been publicly archived."
Yesterday I posted a note on Scripting News saying that, unless there were any objections, I would add support for namespaces to the RSS 0.94 specification. There weren't any objections, in fact there was a lot of enthusiasm for the idea. And further, there's talk all over the place about RSS 2.0, a belief that now's the time to really get RSS on a strong foundation, one that's solid and frozen, and at the same time extensible. So I stayed up late, until the midnight page-flip, to post a list of steps I want to implement that will result in RSS 2.0, in the next few days, with an anticipated 2.01 and possibly 2.02 shortly thereafter.
1. Clean up the RSS 0.94 specification by doing light edits and removing the type attribute for <description>. I feel at this time that it is a mistake to add confusion to the all-important description element. Thanks to Sam Ruby for pushing this. Also clarify the distinction between link and guids that are permalinks. There's some confusion about the difference. Probably a few other things to deal with too.
2. Add a new section explaining how RSS can be extended with namespaces.
3. Change the title of the spec to RSS 2.0. Do a search for 0.94 and replace with 2.0.
4. Update the roadmap. Namespace support is no longer in the future, the core of RSS is frozen, no features are deprecated (explain why), there may be a 2.01 and 2.02, for the purpose of clarification, but no new core elements are anticipated.
5. Update the change notes. Indicate that 0.94 was not deployed. Move the changes from 0.94 to a new heading entitled 2.0.
6. Allow a brief period for comment and accolades.
7. If there are no objections, remove the caveat from the specification, and declare RSS 2.0 ready to deploy. Encourage developers of all content systems, especially Movable Type, Blogger and Radio UserLand, to support the new format; and aggregators (Amphetadesk, NetNewsWire, Aggie, Radio). Ben Hammersley can finish his book. People can write BDGs, howtos, magazine articles. Jeff Barr and Bill Kearney can help people debug their feeds and track progress on 2.0 in the installed base. Mike Krus can generate thousands of RSS 2.0 feeds. Someone can write an RSS to RDF converter app. Mark Pilgrim can explain how RSS benefits people with disabilities. We need a volunteer to maintain a directory of products and services that support RSS (hopefully in OPML). Perhaps it's time for a new mail list with a fresh charter? Sam Ruby, Mark Pilgrim and Jon Udell can be satisfied in having helped get an important format back on its feet, and I can go look for a new techno-political mountain to climb, satisfied that RSS will have a productive life ahead without being so controversial and time-consuming.
Important note: I'm sure I left a lot of important people out of the list in section 7 above. I stayed up late to write this (actually I couldn't get to sleep I was so excited). It's very important to get a complete credits page up, so that people who make a contribution to the community are properly credited for their work.
Ed Cone: "Welcome to Guilford County, NC, the campaign weblog capital of the world."
News.Com: "eBay, one of the biggest success stories on the Web, is being threatened with a patent infringement lawsuit that could force it to modify its winning auction format."
Megnut's mom, who once was guest host on Meg's blog, has invented a new idea -- googlecooking. Meg says "My mother types whatever ingredients she has on hand into Google and then picks the most appealing recipe returned in the results." Smart!
BBC: "Media freedom groups have criticised China for blocking access to the popular search engine Google."
Good morning Oakland A's fans! More consecutive victories, 20, than any other American League team in history. Wow. That's cool.
Interesting results from the How Are You Doing survey. The majority of people are Okay or Good.
I've been posting this question on various weblogs and in private emails. The question is this. Why not add language to the spec that says it's okay for an RSS feed to include elements not defined in the spec, and leave it at that. They can be in namespaces or not, at your pleasure. You can use a module that was originally designed to be included in RDF. Why not. You can design your own modules. After all, one of the promises of XML was that you would be able to do that. Haven't we waited long enough? Let a thousand flowers bloom.
Could peace possibly be that simple? Could RSS 0.94 be the format everyone agrees to go forward on? If not, how long would a 0.95 take to get in place?
My position is this. If there are no objections, I will go ahead and add the language to the spec, today or tomorrow. If there are objections, let's deploy 0.94 over the next few weeks, and try to understand and overcome the objections in the coming weeks, resulting in RSS 0.95. If someone wants to call that RSS 2.0, or Blue Cheese Syndication 1.0 or whatever, that's okay too. (Caesar Salad Syndication might be a cool name too.)
What do you think?
A week from yesterday is the one year anniversary of you know what. I'm going to be speaking at Seybold in Moscone Center in San Francisco. Talking about Web Services and Publishing with people from Amazon, Apple, Google and my colleague Jake Savin from UserLand.
I was going to try to watch no TV related to the one year anniversary, but last night I saw there was a Frontline special on the spirituality of the event, and given that Frontline is so excellent, I had to give it a chance. It was very stimulating, both emotionally and intellectually. Well worth a watch.
A common theme -- what kind of God lets this happen. I answer that with another question. What kind of a country is so selfish that it doesn't see that 9-11 was tiniest big tragedy viewed from a global perspective. What about famine in Africa? What about AIDs? They wonder at the spiritual vision of a person who jumps from the World Trade Center to certain death, but don't wonder about the millions of people who do the same thing with tobacco? It's out of balance. We're out of balance. 9-11 was, imho, a small upheaval in getting to some kind of equilibrium in how the US participates in the world, both from the US perspective, and the world's perspective. That we got so much sympathy says how big the human heart is. That there wasn't more celebrating in the streets of world capitals says that they forgive us for our selfish attitude, which is back in force as if 9-11 never happened.
So what was the lesson of 9-11 that the US has failed to learn? I think it's that God doesn't think we're as important as we do. The concept of national security is obsolete. We can't close our borders. We live on this planet with everyone else. Global warming, AIDs, terrorism, all penetrate all borders. New York is a world city. The last gasps of isolationism will be snuffed out by more humiliation, until we get the truth, we aren't above the rest of the world, but we are part of it.
Russ Lipton wonders if a book on Radio should be "produced on paper, as a linear .pdf file (with links), a weblog, a .root file or a combination of some/all?"
Meryl Yourish cuts Andrew Sullivan a new you-know-what.
Sullivan answered. Meryl is floored.
Brett Glass critiques the EFF's Open Audio License.
Hey I just got invited to attend this conference put on by the Harvard Business School, in Cupertino, of all places. What's up with that. Hey don't they know that's right down the street from Stanford. Hello. Oh I guess they probably do.
Jon Udell: "It's encouraging to see Dave Winer's statement in favor of namespaces and modular extensibility in the RSS 0.94 roadmap. Will the RSS 1.0 camp offer an olive branch of its own? I hope so."
Another issue to deal with for 0.94. Estonian is now in the list of allowable
Sam Ruby explains where he would take RSS if he were king of the world. Imho, he punts on the hard decisions, but maybe that's not so bad. Optional elements needn't get in anyone's way. He or someone else could write a BDG for RSS that began with "Here are the core elements you must support. If you're interested in going further, here's the spec that explains all the possible elements." The latter is the spec I've been working on. RSS 0.94 is really simple syndication. Nothing fancy to learn that there aren't good examples for. Perhaps there are a few dead-ends, it's almost five years old after all, ignore them, but you can't take em out because maybe someone is using them. Not sure what compatibility Sam is looking for. We're commited to version N files being N+1 files. We're commited to winding this down. RSS has been a battered spec, but it's stood the test of time. Very popular format. Too much debating.
Strange dreams must be a feature of this time of year. Last night I dreamt I was hanging out in Scott McNealy's office and we were brainstorming the perfect blogger's workstation. I said let's call up Steve Jobs and ask him what he thinks. In my dream McNealy was very polite, thoughtful and intelligent.
Thanks to Ed Cone for the pointer to this "debate" at the Cato Institute on the 19th in DC. Let's see, they're debating which technique works best for raping the Internet. Please blog this event if you're in Washington on the 19th. (Postscript: Matt Croydon will blog the event.)
Let's have fun! Christian Crumlish critiques Andrew Sullivan critiquing Rebecca Blood. This goes back to an early weblog meme. Watching them watch us watching you or something like that.
We're going to skip the instant messaging connection for 0.94. It looks too involved for this late stage. There's one more feature request I want to try to handle, it came from Mike Krus. He calls for a sub-element of channel that says "This is my Syndic8 id." I sent an email to Jeff Barr, the lead developer on Syndic8 asking what he thinks and he says it's a good idea. I wrote the spec. Here's how it works. The
Chuck Shotton on instant messaging addresses as URLs.
One more step down the road to oblivion for Napster. I suppose it's still not totally too late for the RIAA to come to its senses.
Last year on this day I had a strange technical dream. "In a critical piece of code that's executed a lot, they found that C, the speed of light, was being saved, squared, then the code would execute, and before returning, the original value was restored." Wes offered a theory that might explain the phenomenon.
On this day in 1997 Doc Searls wrote his world-famous ode to Steve Jobs. He totally nailed it. "Steve's art has always been first class, and priced accordingly."
Last night I added two new elements to RSS 0.94 based on suggestions from Brent Simmons and Eric Thauvin. They're the top two items on the change notes page. Still grappling with a connection between RSS and instant messaging. Brent, who has written a widely hailed application aggregator for MaC OS X called NetNewsWire (it's a desktop app, not a browser app), suggested it, passing on a feature request from users of NNW. They want to right-click on a feed to chat with the editor of the feed. I like this feature because it's user-driven, and because I like working with Brent (he used to work at UserLand). But the problem is, according to Brent, who is researching it, there is no standard way to refer to an account on an instant messaging service. It's funny because we didn't know that when we did tcp.im in Radio and Frontier, we just went ahead with this format: service://screenname/, and no one seemed to object (if they did we didn't hear from them). Anyway, maybe we'll figure it out. It would be nice to get a new feature that users like into the format.
Today the BBC announced that they are providing RSS feeds that can be used with all the popular news aggregators including our own Radio UserLand.
Adrian Holovaty did some digging and found 15 more BBC feeds. Not sure if we're supposed to know about these.
Survey: How are you doing?
Windley says warflying is like wardriving, with an airplane.
Werblog: "I find the fact that 900,000 people were still launching Napster a year after it shut down more remarkable than the peak usage numbers. Talk about touching a nerve!"
This is why I love Don Park. "Here is my advice to Dave: please don't be reasonable. RSS 1.0 happened because everyone was reasonable. Help us and be unreasonable. Protect RSS with unreasonable hardass extremist attitude." I'm not sure exactly what he means, but I know he means well. Smart guy. Turns out he worked for Bruce Zweig at Lightning Software. I didn't know that. He's wrong about blogging software though. It only looks like you could write it in a weekend. The part that makes it take so long is to make it so simple people like Don think they could write it in a weekend.
Andrew Sullivan and Kurt Andersen review Blood's blog books in Slate. "Like year-rounders in a seaside resort, they both need and mock the tourists."
Ray Ozzie: "There is no question as to whether Apple or Microsoft or IBM or Lotus or Sun or Novell will have conflict with their ecosystem - they will, at some point, to some degree."
As if that weren't enough, today is Adam Curry's 38th birthday. He's pissed off that he's getting older. Hey he's just a baby. 38. Why when I was 38 we walked to school with no shoes on in snow drifts. Oh wait. Wrong decade.
John Robb put together a list of what he calls Professional News Feeds.
Charles Nadeau has an NNTP to XML-RPC gateway in Perl.
Seth Bokelman: RSS from a Reader's Perspective.
Three years ago today: "My company, UserLand, has been working with Netscape and others on a reversal of the Vignette philosophy. Instead of being a flow concentrator, we propose to be flow distributors, with value flowing in the opposite direction, from the source of the content to the source of the click."
Now think about how the BBC and the NY Times are betting on the model we put up against Vignette three years ago. All you have to do is ask the Web where it wants to go and it tells you. Another quote. "Embrace the distributed nature of the web, and build businesses that profit from this. Otherwise it's like fighting City Hall, swimming upstream, or competing with Microsoft. Longterm you end up in jail, being eaten, or testifying in Washington."
I loved this movie. Saw it last night for the first time ever, thanks to Turner Classic Movies and TiVO. I can't get the two songs out of my head. Le Jazz Hot and The Shady Dame from Seville. Julie Andrews. Who thought I'd ever ever love her. She plays a woman playing a man playing a woman (sometimes) and other times just playing a man. James Garner falls in love with her anyway, and who wouldn't. She sings so beautifully. And thanks to the TiVO, you can rewind endlessly to see various expressions and motions that Victor Victoria makes. Robert Preston is fantastic as the aging queen who befriends the star. If you haven't seen it get it. What a great happy fun movie.
Two years ago when I wrote the 0.91 spec, I took the copyright notice from the XML-RPC spec, and it provoked several scathing critiques and a minor shitstorm on the now defunct discussion group. Of course none of the critics read the actual copyright notice, because if they had, they would have seen that its purpose is to give you the right to take my words and use them in whatever way you like as long as you preserve the copyright notice. In other words, it's basically an open source spec. Like the GPL or the Apache license. Or any of the myriad licenses that Creative Commons is coming up with.
I borrowed the text for the XML-RPC copyright from the IETF. It's funny that no one has ever complained about the copyright when used for XML-RPC, but when it's used to describe RSS, well, that's another story I guess. (The copyright also disclaims ownership of the underlying format or protocol, a requirement a few XML-RPC developers had, which I thought was reasonable to also disclaim for RSS, even so some people insist that I think that I own it. They must have better lawyers than I, and deeper insight into my own true intentions.)
Anyway, today I got the first pushback in the 0.94 project about the copyright being too corporate. There's the problem with mail lists. People say such harsh things and never want to take them back when their own words make them look stupid. At least on a weblog when you say something brain dead, you can say oops right there for all to see. Been there, still there; as RageBoy likes to say.
Sincerely, The 800-Pound Gorilla
Brent Simmons's suggestions for RSS 0.94.
RSS 0.94 has a new optional isPermaLink attribute on the guid element. If the guid happens to be a permalink to the item being described, set this true, and aggregators may do something special with it.
I did a search to see if there were any good definitions of permalink, and didn't find one, so I wrote it up.
A list of different MIME types.
Doug Kenline: "Jumping on the blogtrain." New meme!
Paolo: "How to open a weblog and get sued in less than one week."
CBS News: "Support for the First Amendment has eroded significantly since Sept 11 and nearly half of Americans now think the constitutional amendment on free speech goes too far in the rights it guarantees, according to a new poll."
Harold Gilchrist: "The feedback to audio blogging so far has been interesting and exciting."
Jeff Cheney's cat Smokey is home. Bravo!
The NY Times reports that IBM been granted a US patent on KnowNow's technology. So much for that good idea. Let's punish them. Don't buy any more IBM laptops or desktops. Send a letter to their CEO, and tell him how you might consider buying one of their computers, but you keep hearing that they patent other people's ideas. The only way to influence patent abusers like IBM is to hit them in the pocketbook.
Eighty days of no smoking and eleven weeks since my surgery. Something really cool happened with my wound yesterday. You know how when you have a cold and you're on the mend, the symptoms are still there, but somehow they have an edge of health and healing to them that's hard to describe? That's what happened yesterday. My chest still hurts like a mofo, but it's a nice kind of hurt.
Now, they say when you leave the hospital after bypass surgery that within four to six weeks you'll feel yourself again. This is a lie. It takes at least twelve weeks. (But it's a good kind of lie, if they told me twelve weeks, I would have plotzed.) And for the first eight weeks you're on your back most of the time. Everything makes you tired. This is because your body is expending huge energy to repair itself. At some point this shifts, but be prepared for it to go the other way too.
There's no way your body was designed for what they did to it. But the miracle is that the body, shaped by millions of years of evolution, can deal with it. It's nothing less than a miracle. What an incredible subconscious we all have. Namaste.
Boy I had to read that twice. Eighty. Not eight. Man. That's a lot of no smoking. Or in Italian, notato fumare.
Ed Cone: "Tara Sue Grubb's run for Congress may not take her all the way to Washington, but the long-shot candidate is already attracting national attention."
AllConsuming.Net "offers new insight into what the weblog community is reading at the moment."
myRSS "enables anyone to build custom RSS channels for virtually any news site they desire."
Yesterday we made a change to the way Radio's news aggregator sets the referer when it checks each feed. We basically undid a change that was started (but not completed) in June. The net-net: if you run a popular news source, Radio will leave fewer items in your referer log; hopefully once the change percolates, just one.
A note to people writing articles about RSS-based news aggregators. UserLand wrote and deployed the first one, in the spring of 1999. It was called My.UserLand.Com and was quite popular. We then took the same code and converted it to run on the desktop, in the Radio environment. This was called My.UserLand on the Desktop, and it was also quite popular. It was then baked into Radio 7, and enhanced in Radio 8.
To write a review about news aggregators and to not include Radio, is wrong, and if you have a reason for doing it, it should be clearly disclaimed in your article so your readers understand. Already one BigPub has done this (with no explanation). We care about people knowing about our innovations. We don't file patents so other developers can compete with us. But please don't penalize us for our philosophy of generosity. Thanks.
Sam Ruby raised a question on his weblog yesterday that I want to try to address now, in the spirit of the previous post. I used to have the philosophy that I would point to everything that related to what I wrote, or software I shipped, or standards I promoted. Then I learned the hard way that not everyone plays this way, and that if I help someone build flow for their ideas or products, and they don't reciprocate, my business and my art and reputation often suffer. So I don't always point. I did disclaim this at the time I made the change, but Sam is relatively new to Scripting News and it bears repeating every once in a while.
In the section above, I don't point to the BigPub for a different reason. What I said is true. The article is out there on the Web. If you're resourceful you can find it via Google. But if I were to point to it from that section, all of a sudden the note would escalate into an integrity challenge against a single reporter and his or her publication. Other reporters do the same thing. Sloppy habits that come from working in a corrupt industry. I'm trying for an upgrade, not to shame one single reporter and an employer. This time, at least, I omitted the pointer.
Now Sam's issue was really interesting, and I gave a bit of thought before I picked up the phone and asked him if he was talking about the so-called RSS 1.0. He used a quote from me, re Tara Sue and Howard Coble, to try to shame me into pointing to that very confusing "version" of RSS. I think it's okay and even good to point to a competitor, when the competitor plays fair. Howard Coble doesn't run around saying he's Tara Sue. (Wouldn't that be interesting!) His existence doesn't create any confusion for Tara. Another example. SOAP and XML-RPC. Similar, but they have different names, so few if any people are confused. Now, I won't point to something that says its RSS, but offered no compatibility with the installed base, and further, was hatched and designed in private, when there were public lists where the evolution of RSS was being actively discussed. To Sam, I said there's a difference between competitor and anihilator. I like to point to competitors, esp ones who are artful, and have something to offer in return (reciprocity) and don't begrudge us our right to exist. When a competitor plays unfairly, I have no responsibility to help them, and won't.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.