Saw Solaris today. Quick review: Skip it.
Doc Searls: "The next ten years will feel like three."
Adam Curry reviews BitTorrent.
Jon Udell wrote a cute piece about his local den of piracy which I assume is his local public library.
EFF open house in SF on December 11.
Last year on this day Beatle George Harrison died of cancer.
Speaking of bootstraps, Ian Davis has a FOAF (friend of a friend) vocabulary for bartering.
Jeremy Allaire: "XML and web services are beautiful things."
Computerworld: "Massachusetts today filed an appeal of US District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly's recent Microsoft Corp antitrust settlement ruling."
Here is the Blogstreet neighborhood of this weblog.
Jamie Zawinsky: "I've written a program that parses the HTML on various sites and converts it to RSS."
Creative Commons will roll out their licenses, with some fanfare, on December 16 in San Francisco, and on the Web, of course.
Paul Prescod prefers straight HTTP to XML-RPC. Thanks to Daniel Berlinger for noting the irrelevant ad hominems in Prescod's advocacy. To Paul, I have never stood in the way of evolution. But I won't support new specs stealing goodwill from older ones. Go forth and create. Find an object serialization format for REST and promote it. I bet you'll get some support. Lots of stop energy in your approach.
Wired: "There's an old joke: Someone asks a rabbi, 'What's the essence of all Jewish holidays?' He thinks for a minute and says, 'They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat.'"
On this day in 1999, Manila shipped.
DaveNet: A 21st Century Thanksgiving.
According to Miles Yao, this article is about the leading blogging tools, in the largest Chinese paper outside China.
Luka Sherron is a RSS newbie looking for some help.
Philip Pearson is working on a Blog Browser in Python.
The NY Times on where the women bloggers are.
Earlier today, around 4PM Pacific, we released code for Radio developers that creates a backup of all your weblog posts in RSS 2.0, as described on Monday. This will be the basis of no less than four key features: 1. Backup (of course). 2. Blog Browsers. 3. Interchange between blogging tools. 4. Synching between more than one Radio installation (or another blogging tool). We're going slowly, reviewing with the techies first, before releasing the user interface.
Mark Pilgrim: "Every few months, somebody floats the idea of doing away with RSS and replacing it with HTML or XHTML, because 'semantic markup is all we need.'"
Jon Udell: "I sense a great disturbance in the force."
Re the name for the Reverse Cowgirl Blog TV show. I don't get it -- what's the show about. Is it what's on the blog? Then by all means call it a blog. How about a Wet Blog to distinguish it from the dry kind. You could always have a drink in your hand. Just an idea.
My iPod won't boot. Sad. This happened once before, and I held down all four keys at once to get it to restart. This time that isn't working. Helllp. Postscript: Matthew Gifford says: "Try holding down just the menu and play/pause buttons for about 10 seconds." Yup. That worked.
Snow in NY and Boston for the holiday. Anyone have pics??
Doug Wyatt has snow pics from Ithaca NY.
Noah Bast from Rochester NY.
Elizabeth Lane Lawley from Rochester, NY.
Jakob Nielsen in 1999: "The Edit This Page feature is the metaphoric equivalent of WYSIWYG for the Internet age."
Today's song: "Now son, you've just fought one hell of a fight, and I know you hate me, and you've got the right, to kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do. But you ought to thank me before I die, for the gravel in your guts and the spit in your eye, because I'm the son of a bitch that named you Sue."
We're in the zone now. The zone of one of two huge mega national holidays in the US. It's so weird this time I had no time to prepare. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Do I know where I'll be and what I'm doing. I don't. I could be flying to NY. In fact I probably will be. Either then or Friday. If I'm here I'll be eating a Togo's. Maybe a turkey Togo's. Gobble gobble.
I had dinner and breakfast with John Robb on Saturday and Sunday. We talked about a lot of things, including the Reverse Cowgirl's weblog. It's something of a porn site, except I haven't found the dirty pics yet. And it's about to become a TV show, believe it or not. Right here on our servers. Damn that's cool. Maybe she'll include me in her blogroll. Postscript: I'm there. Thanks!
Halley's Comment: What's a Weblog?
0xDECAFBAD: "I get it, my boss gets it, his boss gets it, the sales guys get it, and the marketing guy who's always our first contact at a client gets it."
Seth Dillingham works around a problem with the connection betweeen Frontier and Radio and BBEdit on Mac OS 10.2.2.
Tom Matrullo wonders what Doubleclick sees when they peer out at us through their Flash-based ads.
News.Com: "High-speed Internet service providers are considering adopting new pricing plans that if widely adopted could take a bite out of file swapping."
Jason Kottke is looking for Thanksgiving in Paris.
Halley narrates her father's death.
Why did the RIAA target the US Naval Academy? According to the Register's Andrew Orlowski, "because they can." The RIAA demanded that the article be taken down immediately. Glad to see it's still there.
Last night my father regained consciousness. He can't talk because he has a tracheotomy, but he was able to answer two questions by nodding his head. 1. Do you know this woman? (My mother, the answer was yes.) 2. Are you in pain? (No.) A few days ago I spent an hour with him, and I was sure he was there. His eyes were open, we made eye contact. Now I'm even more sure. They're weaning him off the sedatives and the respirator. I think I have to go back to NY now to get a demo of Dad getting better. There have been so many setbacks and rallies, I'm hesitant to say he's going to get his life back, but right now that's the way it seems.
Getting started with my Thanksgiving thanks. Expect lots of updates to this section.
Thanks to all the bloggers who inspired me in 2002. Many of them are in the left-edge here, also know as the blogroll.
Thanks to Murphy and his Law for being a universal constant.
Thanks to Mitch Kapor, for rejoining the software world in an active role designing new apps. Mitch it's great to have you back. Totally looking forward to using a MK app sooon. Hurry up!
Thanks to the surgeons, doctors, physicians assistants, nurses and everyone else at Sequoia Hospital for cleaning up my coronary arteries and in so doing saving my life. A major major thanks for that. And thanks for being such sweet human beings while doing all that.
Thanks to my great-uncle Arno and his father whose name I don't know for passing on the genes that clogged my arteries. The cool thing is that now we have ways to treat this disease, so I have a pretty good chance of a normal lifespan, where they didn't.
Thanks to Phillip Morris for letting me off the hook. 165 days smoke-free. Ain't never going back.
Thanks to the US Department of Justice for letting Microsoft keep the browser monopoly they stole. I'm still looking for a reason why I'm so thankful for this. And let's hope that former US antitrust chief Joel Klein is more successful punishing misbehaving high school students in NYC.
Backend: Formats for Blog Browsers. "I'd like to tell you a story about how I tripped over what may turn out to be a very interesting common feature of weblog software."
John Robb shares a key perspective. If we use new software to browse weblogs (see above), there will come a day when you won't need to render and upstream content to have it be publicly accessible and retain full control of it on your desktop. We will have routed around the Microsoft browser monopoly, and then a new round of innovation can start.
Joshua Allen: "The spec was aimed at coders rather than purists, and several quality implementations appeared almost overnight. And it worked! And nobody died!"
Stephanie Kesler: "For many of us, our first adult experience with the process of death occurs when one our parents dies. I know this sounds bizarre, but I think their experience of death is perhaps one of their last gifts to us."
One of the reasons I like Halley so much is that she breaks the code about women for clueless men like me.
Juha Haataja: "It may be a singularly Finnish trait that when giving positive feedback we tend to insult the recipient a bit. This way the recipient feels that you didn't offer you encouragement only because you wanted to be polite."
Last year on this day: "HTTP had to be graspable by a single mind, because it was designed by a single mind."
Microsoft OneNote is a "new program in the Microsoft Office family that enables you to capture, organize, and reuse your notes." Steve Gillmor thinks it's super hot shit; calling it "a powerful idea processor."
Yet more hair-splitting over in the Academic Corner. Now they want to know if Web Services is built on a contradiction. I'm sure it is, in some way. So what. It's useful. Why worry about its moral purity.
John Burkhardt: "In 1985 my mom, Breatrice Hawley, died from lung cancer. She was 41 years old."
John's page linked above is an inspiration for me. My dad is very sick. He's hanging in there, and our relationship has blossomed in what may be his last days. Of course I've been writing about it and it's some of the most beautiful writing I've ever done. But can't make it public, because the public Web can be such a harsh environment. I imagine how some of the "parody" sites would deal with it. My father and his struggle, his pain, his sweetness, are too precious to expose that way, at least while he's alive. But I look at how John uses the medium to express his love for his mother, and it gives me courage that some day I will be able to express myself this way, openly. Wonderful stuff John.
I learned something last week that makes my hands shake. My great-grandfather on my mother's mother's side died of heart failure at 42. I also learned that my great-uncle, his son, had a heart attack at my age and died of a heart attack in his sixties. Two important new bits of info. My grandmother, his sister, died of heart disease at 66, but she had had rheumatic fever as a child, so, all these years I've been telling my doctors there's no family history of heart disease. Wrong. Very very wrong. It's no surprise I needed bypass surgery at 47. It's very lucky I didn't have a heart attack. It easily could have been fatal. I'm lucky to be here now. I'll never forget that.
A sidebar to this story. A couple of months ago, as my healing was gaining momentum, my cardiologist told me not to blame myself for what happened. He said it's pure genetics, my lifestyle issues (smoking, etc) wouldn't have gotten me into trouble for another twenty or thirty years. I said, but Doc, I don't have a family history. He said "You do now" and we both had a good laugh. My next meeting with him is in early December, I totally look forward to telling him the story about my great-grandfather and great-uncle.
Rafe Colburn: "It's stupid to talk about Microsoft's innovation without talking about the innovation stifled by Microsoft."
Weird question. Is there any software that runs on Windows for configuring an Airport? My Airport went to NY with me and lost its configuration on the way. Can't get online with my laptop now. It's the only 802.11b device I have and it's not a Mac.
Update: I was able to connect to the Airport with FreeBase, but damned if I can remember the password Bierman used to set this up. Oy. Luckily there's a way to reset the Airport. Scripting News readers are awesome. And fast!
Apple itself makes software for Airport administration from Windows.
Anyway, I think I have an early Airport. I was able to get it to reset, but none of the utilities can talk to it. They all report one error or another. The reset button was not where the docs said it would be. It works, somehow the configuration came back, but I have no ability to change the configuration. This has never been a problem before, but it irks me. Onward.
Last year on this day, the first rule of evangelism. "No is an OK answer, it just means they want to hear the schpiel one more time before saying Yes."
The Syndic8 mail list, where there's a thread complaining about censorship, is itself a gated community, requiring editorial approval before messages go through. If you're on that mail list be aware of that. It's not an open list, and as far as I can tell, they don't tell their members that.
I've gotten a few messages pointing out that the mail list says it's "unmoderated" and it certainly does. Screen shot. That's why I said above that they don't tell their members about the moderation they do. It must be on a per-member level.
Mark Pilgrim mistakenly thought that my quotes on REST vs SOAP were intended to be something other than bluster. It was for an industry trade magazine. Those are the only kinds of quotes they use. Believe me they don't get syllogistic. Anyway, here's the gist of what I was saying. If you want to make it easy for developers to try out your web service, your absolute best bet is to provide an XML-RPC interface. There's the least variability in what that means, and the greatest wealth of toolkits to choose from that factor out most of the gritty details for you. By and large REST interfaces don't tell you how to serialize and deserialize complex structures, so you kind of start from scratch every time. If they use a SOAP encoding, you get some of that. But there just is nothing simpler than saying "Here's the XML-RPC interface, and some sample code in a few of the popular scripting languages." If you want developers to get going quickly, avoid the religious wars, just support XML-RPC. Now even this isn't bluster-free. Think of it as evangelism. Have a nice day.
Seth Dillingham wants to know if there are any aggregators that are broken by RSS 2.0. This is a good question, and I think the answer is no. UserLand went first here, we switched Radio over to RSS 2.0 in Sept, and it uses non-trivial features that are only found in 2.0.
BTW, every 0.91 feed is also a 2.0 feed, so a simple way to dip your toe in the water with 2.0 is to simply change the version number on your feed from 0.91 to 2.0. The same is true of 0.92 and 2.0. Also remember, if you're using the
Mickey Kaus: " In blogging, you don't do it once, you do it repeatedly. You don't do it right, but through feedback you eventually get it right." Exactly.
John Burkhardt: "In preparation for the upcoming launch of Groove Web Services, we've made our wsdl and xsd files available on our public server. This will give those of you who are eager to start looking at the product a chance to see how our APIs are designed."
Earthweb on weblog software for IT managers.
BBC: "Record industry attempts to stop the swapping of pop music on online networks such as Kazaa will never work. So says a research paper prepared by computer scientists working for software giant Microsoft."
The Brown Daily Herald interviews Ellen Feiss, and she's every bit as wise and hilarious as you might think she would be. The Feiss interview is impossible to access. Thanks to Cory Doctorow for mirroring a plain text version.
Yesterday's Brent Simmons feature request is today's feature implemented in Radio and Manila. You can follow the updates to Radio, through an RSS feed, of course. Brent's request matches a feature already implemented by Movable Type. It would be wonderful to see Blogger join the parade and support the MetaWeblog API.
Justin Hall: From Weblog to Moblog.
I've never missed a year writing a DaveNet for Thanksgiving, and I swear this year won't be the first, even though I've not written one essay so far this month. There's so much to be thankful for, big stuff, like people close by being alive, through great challenges. Like the US coming through terrorism and for better or worse, still being America, land of the free, home of the brave. I am thankful for the SF Giants who showed such tenacity, and then showed they weren't perfect. So what. It was great baseball. I'll never forget it. I will find a way to thank the Attorney General who gave the Web to Scrooge, there must be some light at the end of his tunnel, I'll work to find it. I still have about a week to work on this piece. As you can see I have already started. Last year's Thanksgiving piece is here. A list of previous pieces is here.
Brent Simmons has a feature request for the MetaWeblog API.
Lookin for a job? ICANN is lookin for a new CEO.
Bret Fausett thinks I should apply.
Jon Udell: Debugging SOAP.
Matt Haughey: "The arms race has officially begun."
Here's a little (up till now) secret. I've been in NY all week. Flew out on Sunday to be with the family and my dad who's been in the hospital all month. It's been a tough experience. A friend described turning the corner to go into her father's hospital room as an "emotional bungie jump." Amen to that. The sparse posts here are because my attention is focused on family issues. I'm trying to point to other weblogs that are active with on-topic stuff for Scripting News. Send me pointers, and I'll try to link you into the flow.
I was asked by a reporter to explain the "debate" about SOAP vs REST. Here's what I said.
SOAP and XML-RPC were started to make it easy to build applications that viewed the Internet as if it were a LAN. It builds on the philosophy of personal computers.
REST was a retrofit by people who don't like personal computers to try to stop progress in building GUI software that ran over the Internet. Too little too late. SOAP is a good idea. Has been a good idea for a long time.
The distinction between SOAP and REST is minimal. If they would just roll up their sleeves and build some toolkits they could stop complaining about SOAP. But the people who promote REST aren't people who actively develop software. If they were there would be no "debate."
John Robb: "Somewhere out there exists Spamboy."
Jon Udell: "For a very long time, I've thought that digital identity is the solution to spam."
Last year on this day: HyperCard and the Web.
Wired: "What kind of person believes it's possible to live forever?"
Robert Byrd: "Helvidius Priscus spoke his mind; the emperor Vespasian killed him. In this effeminate age it is instructive to read of courage. There are members of the US Senate and House who are terrified apparently if the president of the United States tells them, urges them, to vote a certain way that may be against their belief."
Footbridge is "a lightweight tool to mirror Radio categories to Advogato, LiveJournal, and Blogger API sites."
Jon Udell: " I had 251 active subscribers and 145 pieces of space junk."
Kevin Werbach: "One-third of the 30 billion e-mails sent worldwide each day are spam."
BBC: "UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has promised to give every school, university, hospital and doctors' surgery a high-speed link to the internet."
Russell Beattie reports a huge oil spill in Spain, from Spain.
A pic of the new skinny Doc. Lookin sharp. I bought a copy of the Atkins diet yesterday. Getting ready to follow his lead. Young Aaron Swartz and Mary Lu accompany Doc. They wonder if Aaron is the youngest person to speak at Comdex, younger than Bill Gates. Of course. Comdex didn't start until Gates was in his 20s. But Matt Ocko might still have the record. I've often thought Aaron might be following in Matt's footsteps.
News.Com: "Four of Microsoft's seven business divisions lost money in the most recent quarter, according to financial statements the company filed last week."
Rogers Cadenhead: "My weblog is collecting dust this week while I try, without success, to talk to Radio Userland's new XML-RPC interface to the news aggregator."
Last year on this day: "Show us your software that doesn't suck and I will bow down and worship at your altar."
Law.Com: "When Gary Barnett hit upon a new way to use electronic business-to-business markets to aggregate and securitize multiple companies' financial assets, he turned to David M. Klein, an intellectual property partner at Shearman & Sterling, to help secure the patent rights."
BBC: "Bill Gates is betting that you want an alarm clock that knows your schedule and can wake you in time for that 9 o'clock meeting, taking into account the heavy traffic and slow going due to the fog."
Amazon will be selling Segways in March 2003.
WSJ article on weblogs.
Zeldman: "Some emerging specifications seem to have wandered away from the idea that standards are supposed to help people solve real problems in practical ways."
Phillip Pearson is watching the wizzy front ends for aggregators.
Got an interesting email about where RDF might be where hypertext was in the 80s. Lots of people, including myself, wrote it off as impractical. Then HTTP/HTML came out and changed everything. All of a sudden all the former naysayers are doing what they said they'd never do. The RDF proponents think they have something like that. Hey I hope they do. And I hope they lose the attitude. No reason their dreams have to interfere with the work we're doing now, right?
Werblog: "At 9:40AM this morning, my laptop popped up a message that it had detected a WiFi signal. That wouldn't be unusual, except that I was somewhere between Wilmington and Baltimore on the Amtrak Acela train."
RSS caught on because it was good at delivering stories from big news organizations and at the same time delivering weblog content. Interesting aggregation tools were possible because there was a critical mass of content. This was and remains the hard work. No format, no matter how interesting, sophisticated or powerful can gain traction without content.
RSS still has more to do. The next big innovation will be blog-browsers, native apps that browse archives of weblogs outside the limits of Web browsers, and archives of weblogs will be in RSS 2.0 because it's a very simple format, you can understand it without understanding any theory beyond what you've already learned with HTML, and because it's an easy evolution for the most deployed formats, 0.91 and 0.92.
The XML-RPC interface for the aggregator will be important as well, it will allow user interfaces to connect up to powerful engines. More XML-RPC interfaces are coming, particularly awaited is the next level of the Blogger API. We hope it will build on the MetaWeblog API.
Candidate for best-named-blog of 2002.
Mitch Kapor discusses the schedule of his Chandler project.
Joe Jenett sings the praises of the RSS Explorer tool.
Brrrr. It's colllllllllllllllllld.
Paul Boutin: "Steve Jobs understands the iPod's potential for grand theft audio."
Paolo on aggregators and authentication.
Wired: "After spending nearly a year trying to work out ways to allow companies to retain patents on W3C standards, the idea was finally rejected in a 12-7 a vote."
Dusty Baker will manage the Chicago Cubs next year.
Jack Bell says RDF is so hard because it is so simple.
As I watch Mark Pilgrim and Shelley Powers and Tim Bray and others struggle with where RDF is at, I thought I'd offer my own two cents in a safe place, here on my weblog. Of course these are just my own opinions, influenced heavily by my own experience.
Before there was a World Wide Web, there were big technology companies with ambitious plans for networking and application integration, and interop between competing software. Apple had OpenDoc and Taligent in partnership with IBM and a bunch of other companies. Microsoft had Cairo and various mail and database APIs, some in partnership with other companies. It seemed every company had their own roadmap, the industry made mundane mature products, PCs and Macs; and mostly incomprehensible white papers and bookshelves of incomprehensible documentation, and not much inbetween.
Then along came the Web and blew that all up. You didn't even need to read the docs to figure it out. Just View Source. That was good because there were no docs.
So I am a disbeliever of anything that requires as much documentation, head-scratching, hand-waving, and eyes-glazing-over as RDF does in 2002. Forget the problems with the formats, that can be dealt with later, after you figure out how to explain it to someone who knows a lot about computers, networks, users, XML, HTTP, etc. If you can't explain it to me so that I understand what you're doing -- you've got a big problem.
It's a cute, and all-too-common tactic to say that people who don't get it are dumb. I'm not dumb, but RDF makes me feel that way. After all these years, I've concluded that if I can't understand it, it doesn't have much of a chance in the market. All the powerfully successful technologies of the past have had simple explanations anyone could understand. If RDF is one of those, I strongly believe it must too. Therefore I conclude that it isn't.
Shelley Powers and Mark Pilgrim debate the politics and technology of XML and RDF.
News.Com: "Roxio, which makes CD-burning software, is acquiring virtually all the assets of Napster, the former file-swapping company, for about $5 million in cash and stock."
Dan Bricklin's first impressions of the Tablet PC.
Comments on the dot-blog top-level domain.
Yesterday it was five months since I stopped smoking. I didn't notice. Lucas Gonze sent an email saying it's time for an update. He sure is right about that. It's funny that today I had really serious cravings for a smoke. Lesson learned. No matter how long I stay quit, I remain a smoker who doesn't smoke. Here's another funny fact about smoking. In my dreams I am still a smoker. Yet I know I've told everyone that I quit. I think of myself as dishonest in my dreams. When I wake I remind myself that it was only a dream. Oh yes, one other thing. Smokers smell terrible. I had heard it but never understood it. When I was a kid, before I started smoking, I thought smoke smelled good. Now it smells like a combination of chemicals and feces. But I still love to look at that pack. Every time I see it I want one. It's a way of teasing myself. Hey, what the heck.
I've been looping back around to Instant Outlining. It needs a discovery mode, a way to find other people who are I/Oing. Postscript: Kevin Marks sent an email saying that's what Rendezvous is for. I sent an email back asking where the BDG is for Rendezvous.
ExtremeTech: Sharman Announces Expanded KaZaA 2.0.
Wired: "Warner Bros fears that a pirated copy of the new Harry Potter flick would surface online appear to be understated. In the days leading up to the film's release, and less than two weeks after its London premiere, file traders posted dozens of copies of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second installment in the popular series, on peer-to-peer networks. The film debuts Friday at theaters in the United States and Great Britain."
Must-read Fortune article on venture capital in 2002.
Reuters: "Grass-roots publishing tools are putting the power of authorship in the hands of millions."
Bret Fausett, who runs the ICANN weblog, is an enthusiastic supporter of the dot-blog top-level domain. He observes "a majority of those participating in the Scripting News poll seemed to share that sentiment. What a poll can't do though is explain why people think it's a good or bad idea." I asked Bret to gather reasons pro and con, so if you have a strong opinion either way, please let him know. Thanks.
I'm doing an interesting project to backup a Radio installation into the cloud. Eventually this will allow people to synchronize work between office and home, a common feature request. In the process, I found a new use for RSS, as an interchange format for weblog software. Almost everything we store about a weblog post is now suppored by RSS, and for those bits that aren't, we can define a namespace. I feel this in some way ratifies the work we did with RSS 2.0. If it can handle all that a reasonably mature blogging tool can throw at it, it's getting pretty mature itself.
I've been mostly staying out of the brewing storm over the inadequacies of RDF, having staked out a clear preference in Y2K, when offered the opportunity to convert all my software to RDF, to please a few random people, I declined to do so, and have never regretted the decision. If you're sitting on the fence and thinking about committing your entire existence to RDF, please, read Tim Bray's narrative as told by Joe Gregorio. Some great soundbites. "Ahh... the RDF tax strikes again. I want to do something that is obvious and straightforward and implicit in the resource/representation relationship, and using RDF is going to cost me oceans of arcane totally human-opaque syntax."
William Safire: You are a suspect.
Here's the Markoff article Safire referenced. "The Pentagon is constructing a computer system that could create a vast electronic dragnet, searching for personal information as part of the hunt for terrorists around the globe -- including the United States."
Survey: "Is Osama bin Laden alive?"
Jon Udell reviews Delta's new passenger info system.
Ken Bereskin: "Big news on the Sherlock 3 front."
AP: "Felipe Alou was hired Wednesday to manage the National League champion San Francisco Giants, returning to the team he played for in the 1950s and '60s."
Meg: "Now I know two secret entrances to the Louvre!"
Ted Leonsis is back in the saddle at AOL.
Deborah Branscum is back in the saddle too. "This cranky broad needs a name, a face, and some meaningful information about the individuals in a company before she exposes her computer to the potential hazards of new software. Pretty words about passion and expression just don't do the trick."
Mark Pilgrim reports that the optimizations that UserLand and other aggregator developers deployed in the last few weeks have saved him substantially on bandwidth. "On a normal day when I updated repeatedly throughout the day, your support for conditional GET reduced my aggregator-related traffic by almost 40%." His stats page tracks the savings.
A Google developer who asked not to be named says that yesterday's theory that searching for "http" gets you a list of sites in order of PageRank is incorrect. It gets you a list of sites that are most-linked-to with http in the link, like this: http://www.yahoo.com/. He says "A very small fraction of links on the web look like that, but the more popular sites have more of them."
Survey: "ICANN is asking for proposals for three new top-level domains. Should we propose .blog as one of them?"
ComputerWorld: "Internet users may start typing three new suffixes into their Web browsers next year, as the group that oversees the Internet's addressing system has recently said that it will be calling for proposals to create new top level domains."
John Robb on the "second act of the RIAA's nightmare."
Wired: "The key to Plaxo's success appears to lie in its virus-like nature."
Jeremy Zawodny: "Mike Moritz is no idiot."
Great thread on Hack-The-Planet about Chandler, open source, complaining, and history.
Steve Jenson: "For those who don't know me; I work at Blogger and am implementing API 2.0, which we expect to have a developer preview for in a few weeks."
11/12/98: "If we all work around the problem the same way, when the platform vendor breaks me, they also break you."
Candidate for best named blog of 2002.
Megnut: "Hell hath no fury like a woman determined to speak French."
Now that the election is over I can say who I nominated for the annual Wired Rave Awards coming up in January.
Lance offers two happy stories of Copenhagen.
Macromedia announces Contribute. Desktop software for editing static HTML sites.
Paolo has questions and comments about Contribute.
Norm Meyrowitz explains the vision of Contribute.
So the $64,000 question -- did Macromedia support standards like the Blogger API and the MetaWeblog API, or did they invent their own using XML-RPC and SOAP, or did they invent their own protocols, or do they just use FTP, or did they build a closed system, or..? I don't see any communication to the content management community in their kit of press releases. Missed opportunity? Or did I miss the architecture doc?
Kuro5hin: Shortcomings of today's RSS systems.
Subscribable folders, as requested yesterday, are not a new thing. Lots of correspondence. Various flavors of Unix have had it for a long time, and Gnome does, as does Nautilus, so one should expect Chandler will build on this in some way (Andy Hertzfeld being the common denominator). BeOS did quite a good job with this, according to several people who were in and around Be. There's some hope because one of the key Be developers now works at Apple. I emailed with Steve Zellers, he knows what I want and how much I want it. I got dozens of pointers to AppleScript's folder actions, but I don't think that's what we're looking for. I want a super-lean direct connect from the OS to my app. User drops a new file in a folder. Bing. My code is running. Thanks for all the info. Scripting News remains the best way to do quick broad cross-culture technical research.
Brent Simmons: "FNSubscribe is what you're looking for on OS X." Steve Zellers points out that this routine requires the cooperation of the program doing the writing. That's a deal-stopper. Our current method catches all changes, it's just not as fast as it would be if the OS did the notification.
Rob Fahrni sends a pointer to the low-level Win32 routine for directory change notification.
A new feature in Radio UserLand is an old feature in RSS, dating back to 1999.
A feature request for Apple and Microsoft, and other OS developers. A way for an app to subscribe to a folder. I give you a callback and a folder. If a file is added, deleted, renamed or edited in the folder, call me with a path to the file.
Dejan Jelovic: "Windows already supports this. See the ReadDirectoryChangesW Windows API method or the FileSystemWatcher .NET class."
Blogger users with newbie questions should ask them on the User Support mail list.
Yesterday I wrote a very simple suite in Frontier called aggyBaby, that uses the new aggregator XML-RPC interface to build a very bare-bones but super-fast static page of the latest stories from the channels I've subscribed to. I think I'll release the UserTalk code in the hope that someone will convert it to Python and/or Java.
A little over a year ago Matthew Trump did an excellent tutorial for RSS 0.92, which is on the path to 2.0.
The Waypath Project is "an attempt to network the weblog community, connecting weblogs that share common themes, ideas, and topics."
NY Times: "Dictatorship of the proletariat has failed. So the party is giving plutocracy a chance."
Finishing up support for skipHours in Radio this morning, on both the aggregator side and the content side. It's in Scripting News, and now also in my Radio weblog. The update has gone out for skipHours-awareness in the aggregator. So far only my weblog generates the element. By default it's on, but there will be a prefs panel that allows you to disable the feature and set the number of hours that appear in skipHours, default is 8. We generate it algorithmically, depending on when you're most likely to update. Surprise, your copy of Radio knows. ;-> Those statistics have been accumulating for a few weeks now. Another thing your copy of Radio knows, is how often the feeds you're subscribed to update. So we can optimize even without adding anything to any RSS feeds.
Mark Woods explores Zoe's XML-RPC interface in Radio and Frontier.
iBlog is a standalone blogging tool for Mac OS X. It's not a Blogger API or MetaWeblog API app. It does its own content management. It also appears to have a news aggregator built in. It's a free beta right now. It would be interesting to see a weblog created with this software.
The Giants didn't win the World Series, but San Francisco Representative Nancy Pelosi is poised to be the next House Minority Leader, succeeding Dick Gephardt who's contemplating a run for president in 2004, but will probably end up with half the blame for the debacle that was the 2002 election (for the Dems).
Heads-up, we're making some changes to the XML-RPC interface for UserLand's aggregator. It's definitely not frozen yet. The implementation is out to the Radio-Dev list, but that's not frozen yet either. Still diggin!
In world news, Senate Republicans plot revenge on Vermont's Jeffords, whose defection took them out of the majority. "Would Vermont's Mount Snow be a good spot for the national depository of nuclear waste?" muses the NY Times. The UN Security Council unanimously backs Dubya's plan to squeeze Iraq to boost US oil interests. And our favorite cancer patient, Brian D Buck prepares for major surgery next week. We're all rooting for ya Brian!
Most popular weblogs among readers of Joel on Software.
Two years ago on this day we were wondering what was to become of the American political system
eWeek: "Adobe's PDF document-distribution format may seem entrenched among computing consumers, but that isn't stopping Microsoft from trying to throw its weight behind a competing publishing venture."
Oil and Gas: "The US State Department has pushed back its planned meeting with Iraqi opposition leaders on exploiting Iraq's oil and gas reserves after a US military offensive removes Saddam Hussein from power."
Ben Hammersley: "I'm off to pick up the Land Rover tomorrow, and then it's Eurotunnel, France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and then over the bridge to Sweden." Hey have a great trip Ben. I've seen that bridge from the air, a couple of years ago when I went to Copenhagen. Sounds like an incredible adventure.
New feature for Radio: Mail-From-Aggregator. "Some people like to read the news that the aggregator gathers in email. This can be useful if you travel a lot, or want to share news with a group of people who may not use Radio."
News.Com: "Fritz Hollings will no longer head the Senate Commerce committee."
Daniel Berlinger summarizes the differences in XML-RPC interfaces among the popular blogging tools.
Diego Doval: "I don't like vaporware of any kind."
Tomorrow we'll have another innovation for the Land O'Aggregators, a loop back to a feature of the centralized My.UserLand.Com in 1999. It'll change the topology, redefine the art, the technology and the market. Hehe. Cute.
A small bugfix in the RSS 2.0 spec.
In the past, a BigCo salesperson giving a presentation in Europe might feel safe that his words would never make it back to the US. Not true anymore. In fact, the words make it home in the time it takes to type them into a weblog.
Kevin Werbach is at a meeting with lots of bigshot media execs in NY and reports that they love to talk about TiVO as a threat, or a competitive factor or something they want to sue out of business. One thing they never get about TiVO is the profoundness of the feature that skips backwards and lets you replay a snippet. I've come to want that feature in every audio and video device I own from the car radio to the walkman, my iPod (amazingly it doesn't have it), and even with people I'm talking with, both in person and on the phone. "You said that in an interesting way, now what exactly did you say?" Listen the same way I read. And would you tell them for me that I do this with their friggin commercials too -- when they're interesting or especially depraved. Maybe they'll get the clue that it's time to stop programming us with their commercials and start educating and entertaining.
Congrats to the Republicans. Now they control everything. What a war we're going to have, and the Supreme Court is going to get packed. Let's hope there's something left to vote out of office in 2004.
Reading Scot Hacker's account of using a competitor's blogging tool for a course at UC-Berkeley I was truly puzzled. They were trying to make Movable Type behave like a news publishing system, where system managers and content engineers do the production work, and reporters and editors write and keep their hands off the editorial system. But but, if it's a weblogs class, that's wrong. They should all be doing weblogs, nothing more, nothing less. Maybe I'm missing something.
Anyway, here's what I would have done, assuming I had to use MT. Give each student their own weblog. If you must have a top home page, make that a weblog too (it's not a very webloggish idea, let there be competition for the "top" page). Open one item on the top home and link to stories as they come online on the satellite sites. Go with the grain of the tool. The hacks Scot describes are wrong, they go against the grain of the product he's using.
Further, a tool like Manila, which is very popular in education, has the concept of editorial roles, which come in handy in applications like this. No klooging necessary. Also with John VanDyk's Metadata Plugin, you can add arbitrary bits of info to each article with ease, and display it in the templates. (Note to John, did I get it right?)
John says: "Yes, you got it right. But the real power comes when you use the arbitrary bits not to simply display information but to make decisions. E.g. is the value of Workflow_Status set to approved? No? Then a request to display the page will fail. Is the value of Article_Type set to product review? Then include it in our index of product reviews. Etc."
On a positive note, my father is getting better, and it looks like he will survive. He has a really bad combination, he lost half his blood due to a sudden stomach ulcer, then got pneumonia, and then sepsis. His health was declining rapidly, and at 73, it didn't seem like he could pull out and rally. But the signs are now going in the right direction. He's not breathing on his own yet, but they're pumping less. The infections are receding. All-in-all it appears he's going to pull through. Of course this is amazing news.
Unless there's a radical change this will be my last update on this topic. It's not the usual content here on Scripting News. Thanks to everyone for the prayers and good wishes. It appears they are working!
I'm blogging the election returns using the outline-based technology I used for the World Series.
Tomorrow a new feature for Radio UserLand's desktop news aggregator. Meanwhile today, Andre Radke has a beta of an XSLT processor for Radio and Frontier. He says it's "for thrill seekers only." Okay, sounds like spicy noodles to me.
Arlo Guthrie: "And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may think it's a movement."
Ross Mayfield: "It's Election Day and you haven't been paying attention. Well that's okay, its only midterm elections and you can make it up on the final. But just in case you haven't formulated your own opinions, you can easily Googlevote your decisions with the following steps."
Cheng Gao is looking for a script to convert RSS 1.0 to 2.0.
Are weblogs legit business tools? Mike Masnick says yes. Mark Hurst says that Mike's company does nothing but blogs, so of course he thinks they're business tools. To Mark I'd say, one day someone said that about phones, and today every company organizes its business on the phone, and using other communication tools such as airplanes, hotels, notepads, whiteboards, email, instant messaging, spreadsheets, conference rooms, etc. Weblogs are a tool, a good one, but that's all they are. We could stop having these debates, imho.
If you're undecided, go ahead and vote Democratic today, if for no other reason, because the Republicans are leaving those insipid voicemails from famous Republicans like George W Bush, Rudy Giuliani and Barbara Bush. What's next -- voicemail from famous dead Republicans?
Glenn Reynolds: "In the last few minutes I've gotten three calls from Phil Bredesen, the Democratic candidate for governor. Two were recordings. One was somebody trying to get me to vote, I think -- I hung up before they had a chance to get into the spiel."
Sean Gallagher: "Sometime today, I'll wander over and perform my civic responsiblity -- a piece of performance art about the write-in regulations in Maryland."
Huey Long, governor of Louisiana, said: "When I die I want to be buried in Louisiana so I can stay active in politics."
File sharing on my local area network of Windows 2000 machines just stopped working a few weeks back. On investigation and head-scratching, with the help of Lawrence Lee, this howto did the trick. But why? I had never been to the Security Policy tool, I had never even heard of it. How did two of my machines both get this misconfigured? Mysteries.
MacInTouch is eight years old today. Congrats!
Sean Gallagher: "The government case was crafted by morons."
An idea is in the air in blogging land, a global identity system so you don't have to re-enter your name, email address and weblog url in every comment system you visit. Of course the idea has been around for a while, but perhaps there's a will to implement it now. Centralized systems definitely have a place in the panoply of Internet software. Or is it pantheon. Perhaps it's the parthenon. Anyway, speaking of centralized systems, it appears Daypop is gone again? Ohhh do I miss it.
Thanks for all the kind email about my dad. I think the prayers will help. I expect I'll be in NY before the end of the week. He's the one person I'd most like to have a talk with. Ain't that funny. A couple of weeks ago, no problem -- pick up the phone, make a call. Today, it's impossible. You know the moral of the story, but I'll say it anyway. Do it today, tomorrow may be too late.
Jon Udell explains that early next year Groove will add a SOAP-over-HTTP interface. This is good. It means that then, an enterprising developer should be able to integrate Groove capabilities with website authoring for Radio and/or Manila.
NY Times: "A start-up company plans to announce new antenna technology on Monday that it says can expand the limits of a popular wireless Internet format, providing access to hundreds or even thousands of portable computer users at distances of more than 2,000 feet within buildings and about four miles outdoors."
Wired: "Vivato's prototype panel is about 2-by-4 feet in size and a few inches thick. Resembling a cubicle half-wall left lying around the office, it contains the array of antennas, a 1-unit high rack mount server (or at least the components of one), and sports only a power cord and gigabit Ethernet jack on its exterior."
Mitch Kapor: "Announcing a project without having code to show, that is, committing an act of vaporware, is generally not regarded as a best practice in the software world. It lessens credibility and heightens cynicism. So why did we do just that?"
Today's song: "Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box; they tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe."
On September 11, 2001, my dad was lost in midtown Manhattan, along with about 18 million other New Yorkers. I asked people to look out for him, I was genuinely worried. He was okay, he had quite an adventure, basically walking home from Manhattan to eastern Queens. Well, today, he's quite sick, in a hospital in NYC, not conscious. Once again I am genuinely worried. Last year I asked you all to pray for him, and today, as some wise Jewish person once said, "it couldn't hurt." His name is Leon. He liked to listen to Fiddler On The Roof, The Sound of Music, and all kinds of opera. He even liked the Beatles, although he would never admit it when they were in their heyday. He once told me that they wore wigs. "No man keeps his hair like that," he confidently told me when I was around ten years old. We've had our differences, I guess all fathers and sons do. Now I'd just like him to get better and live to be 100 or so.
Want to hear what a 21st Century US political leader sounds like? Check this out and pass it on.
I enjoy reading Russell Beattie's weblog, esp today as he writes about a book that teaches you how to get things done. It seems Russ is procrastinating on a grand project, by reading a book on how not to procrastinate. He has a wonderful quote from Will Rogers. "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." Interesting. I do the opposite.
Ed Cone: "Guilford County's emergence as the campaign Weblog capital of the known universe may seem an unlikely turn of events."
Scott Rosenberg: "Restoring competition in the browser -- or even the "middleware" -- market is a pointless exercise today. The unknown innovation, potential productivity and profits that a more freely competitive marketplace in this area might have provided are gone now, irretrievable. The technology industry has moved on to other realms." I strongly disagree. We could open up lots of doors in the two-way-web if Microsoft were taken out of it's monopoly position in browsers. They are protecting Office from the Web. If the Web weren't paying that strategy tax there would be lots of opportunities for growth.
BBC: "Microsoft is still faced with possible sanctions by the European Commission over its alleged abuse of market power."
A couple of comments.
It's great to see one of my old programming buddies, Brent Simmons, get so thoroughly into bandwidth and RSS. Others have commented that RSS and aggregators are much like Push Technology, and they are. Remember Pointcast? Why did it go down in flames? Because it swamped the Internet with non-productive traffic. Really poor use of bandwidth.
I think we're still early, that we're going to see enormous growth in this area, and hopefully we'll all get to make a bunch of money. But at some point we will show up on the radar of corporate network managers, and they're going to want to know why this isn't Pointcast all over again. By doing the bandwidth work now, we will have an answer for them, then.
Now there's another reason for doing work on bandwidth. The sources of information, the feeds, have to foot the bandwidth bill for all those users. In some cases, like UserLand, we have to pay for the bandwidth for users of competitive products. Ouch! So at least we want us all to be efficient about it. Bandwidth ain't free, and we aren't in the dotcom era anymore.
Namaste y'all and Happy Sunday.
Doc Searls is waxing about the risks of small plane travel.
Steve Lohr of the NY Times says Judge K-K's ruling may sting Microsoft, but it doesn't do much to keep them from doing it again.
One year ago today: "Only market forces influence Microsoft, and therefore, the only way to force open APIs is to force Microsoft itself to depend on them."
Happy Fourth Birthday to Tomalak's Realm.
My own thoughts, nothing new here, it's all been said so many times before. But there's news today, so it must be said again. Here goes. There's no justice in today's decision. It won't stop Microsoft and other monopolists from seizing new monopolies through tying. It's anti-innovation because it paralyzes smaller developers, making it impossible for them to raise investment capital to pursue new software opportunities. Large companies don't innovate in software. To think they do is as wrong as it would be to believe that large corporations write innovative scripts, screenplays, novels, songs, plays. Government has yet to figure this out, nor has Microsoft or other big companies. Even so it's true. It's a sad day for software. It's a sad day for the USA.
Scott Rosenberg (of Salon): "Will post links when the stories go live in a couple of hours."
John Robb (of UserLand): "This is a depressing situation."
Slashdot has links to the not-yet-released Microsoft decision. Here's the directory on the US Courts website. After a quick read of the introductory document, it appears that the judge accepted the settlement between the DOJ and Microsoft.
Aaron Swartz has links and comments on the decision.
Survey: "Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly will announce her decision in the Microsoft antitrust case later today. What will the decision be?"
News.Com: "The $399 Gateway PC comes with a 1.8GHz Intel Celeron processor, a 40GB hard drive, 128MB of memory, a CD burner."
Scoble is getting married tomorrow. Congratulations! Now everyone wants to know if the chapel will have 802.11, and is anyone blogging it? What about the reception? How about the honeymoon suite?
Hey I didn't know that Variety has an RSS feed. It's been out since July. Yow. Unfortunately it's not valid. It's got HTML markup in an item title.
Anil Dash: Microsoft's Weblog Software.
Sometimes it doesn't take much to make me happy. My system kept getting slower and slower. Finally today it ran out of disk space while getting my email. I looked at the system drive, it was full. Where did all the space go? I wrote a script to list all the files over 25 megabytes in size. It found a folder of backups going back to January that was 16.2 gigabytes. I trimmed it down to a small fraction of that. Guess what. The system is quite fast now. Go figure.
It's November, we're going into the home stretch of 2002.
Thanksgiving is the next major holiday, it's one of my favorites. This year I will be thankful to be alive for Thanksgiving. No shit. More so than usual.
I will also be thankful for the progress we've made in RSS. We found a way to co-exist with RDF yet remain compatible with the installed base. We have a wealth of new tools and aggregators this year. The market is growing, people are saying this is the right way to do Push, but we still have a bunch of work to do, and that's good because it's interesting work.
So here's a brief list of my wishes for and from the RSS community for the remainder of 2002.
1. I'd love to see a validation suite for aggregators. We already have a way to validate feeds, thanks to the excellent work of Mark Pilgrim and Sam Ruby. Now we need to validate consumers of RSS with a suite a feeds they are able to process. We're basically flying blind now. This has been holding us back on the tools side. We don't dare use the main new feature in RSS 2.0, namespaces, for fear that it breaks some aggregators.
2. We need a private mail list for vendors of tools and aggregators. It should be hosted by a neutral party, a person or organization that is not a vendor and commits to never being a vendor in this market. The purpose of the list is to have place for product developers to exchange ideas, proposals, and complaints, privately. So many of our mail lists are full of competitive energy, and that's great. Now we need a clubhouse where we can relax and try out new ideas with each other.
3. We must address the issues of bandwidth. People are falling in love with the application. That's fantastic of course. But there's a problem. Bandwidth costs. UserLand feels this, because we host a fair amount of content that is consumed by our competitors' products. If we don't address some of these issues soon, they will fester, like the problems in the instant messaging market. We have made a proposal, released this week, on how to gain an order of magnitude improvement re bandwidth. It's our hope that this stimulates a discussion among the vendors. The list described in #2 above could be the place where that discussion takes place.
Anyway, that's it for now. Happy holidays and ho ho ho!
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.