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A quote that makes me smile. "[RSS] grew out of a good idea in 1997 from the software company Userland that got picked up and melded with one of Netscape's similar ideas." After hearing over and over that Netscape invented RSS on its own, it's refreshing to get credit for my contribution. 

Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain on what he calls The Google Death Penalty. There's a lot more to Google and the DMCA than I thought.  

Philip Greenspun: "A university will spend hundreds of $millions on dormitories, i.e., places for students to drink beer and sleep together. Why is there is no budget for cubicle farms where students in the same major could do their homework together, asking for help from the person at the next desk and, if necessary, raising their hands for help from roving teaching assistants?" 

Andrew Grumet found that ThinkTank runs on Windows XP. Unfortunately it doesn't support OPML. (It was written in the early 80s, way before XML.)  

You could see this coming. British foreign secretary Jack Straw insists that Syria is not 'next on list.' Heh. Famous last words? 

On this day three years ago, the NASDAQ tanked, dropping over 300 points, almost ten percent, in one day. In retrospect, there is no doubt, that was the bubble, bursting. Also on that day Megnut said: "Web people can tell you the first site they ever saw, they can tell you the moment they knew: This, This Is It, I Will Do This. And they pour themselves into the web, with stories, with designs, with pictures. They create things worth looking at, worth reading, worth coveting, worth envying, worth loving. They create Beautiful Things. We need more of those." Interestingly, the profiteers are gone, but the people who do the Web for love, they're still here.  

A picture named bunny.jpgAt last Thursday night's session I explained how I use pictures on Scripting News. They almost always link to something, so if you click on the picture you get more. I try to clip them in such a way that they're attractive even if you don't click. But I found out that most people don't know that you can click. For example, if you click on the picture to the right, it'll take you to a cute joke that my friend Tori sent me via email. Tori lives in California. It's really cool that a smile can travel across the country and back and then all around the world, electronically, in just a matter of minutes, sometimes just seconds.  

Ed Cone: "I think most Americans know at some level what's going on, and many of them approve of it." 

John Robb: "Do you think we will go to war with Syria in the next year?" 

Vikas Kamat says there are 204 libraries at Harvard. 

We're having spring weather today here in Cambridge. It's already in the 50s this morning. Predicted high around 70. In the next few days it should reach 80. That's what it should be like this time of year. Whew! 

Jon Udell has posted the topic for his keynote talk at OSCOM. Perhaps I'll talk about OPML and directories. I want to zero in on something we can all do together to move Content Management forward. I want to see OPML directory renderers in all environments, not just UserLand's. What better place to spread the gospel than OSCOM? Maybe we can come out of the conference with a revolution in our pockets? That would make me happy. 

Gregor at OSCOM: "Where do we go from here?" Excellent question. I'm going to go for a walk, and then write up a plan, in public of course.  

OPML and directories 

One year ago I wrote a technological ramble about Google, directories and OPML. It's still the way of the future, imho. There's no single root of the Web, so why should directories (like Yahoo, DMOZ, Looksmart) have single roots? And therein lies the problem with directories, and why we're not effectively cataloging the knowledge of our species on the Internet.

A case in point. Last week I pointed to a great directory of RSS aggregators. So why not also have it available in a format that allows it to be included in other directories? I should be able to include it in the directory I keep for RSS developers. Why should I have to reinvent the wheel? Would he want me to? And maybe it fits into a directory of tools that are useful for librarians, alongside book inventory software; or in a directory for lawyers, alongside legal databases. See the point? There is no single address for a directory, every directory is a sub-directory of something, yet all the directories we build on the Internet try to put everything in exactly one place, which leads to some really ludicrous placements. My Windows software is categorized under Mac software because we were only available on Mac when it was first categorized. This one-category-for-all-information approach is a vestige of paper catalogs, not a limit of computer-managed catalogs.

I'm burning to get this idea broadly implemented. When we do, the Web will grow by another order of magnitude.

The challenge: Put all that we know on the Internet and give people the tools to present it in a myriad of ways. Let a thousand flowers bloom. No one owns the keys to knowledge. That's Jeffersonian software. The Web, of course, was modeled after the printed page, with all its limits. This new Web is modeled after the mind of man.

By the way, one of the reasons I'm networking with librarians at Harvard is that I am driven to build this new knowledge base. There are a lot of libraries at Harvard. It's a big source of pride for the university. See, there is a method to my madness.


Last update: Monday, April 14, 2003 at 7:49 PM Eastern.

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