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Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, April 23, 2003. Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Here's a milestone. Microsoft saying, on the record, that it is building on a UserLand spec. That's a far cry from deprived air supply. Bravo and thank you.  

BTW, how about testing with Radio UserLand. It's the top match on Google for aggregator, so it's not a big secret.  

AndrewAnother BTW, a funny story about aggregators. I met Andrew Grumet, a developer at MIT, associate of Philip Greenspun, who is getting into aggregators. He was at one of the Thursday demos at Berkman, we went to dinner afterward with Wendy, the Redhead. Anyway. He said he had an idea for an innovation in aggregators. It took me a while to get it because it was a key feature of Radio's aggregator, it was also a key feature in My.UserLand, going back to 1999. That's when it hit me, most of the guys who are copying us aren't doing it right. Oy. RSS readers that work like Usenet readers are a waste of time, imho. Aggregators should not organize news by where items came from, just present the news in reverse chronologic order. That was Andrew's new idea. A good one. Only it was four years too late to really be new. 

Sjoerd Visscher is a smart guy. I don't say that lightly. When other people flame, he reads, and thinks and a few days later adds light, not heat. Thanks man. 

Kendall Clark: "Even after five long years of XML development, the ideal and ubiquitous XML editor for humans seems more rumor than reality. Could it be that we have underestimated the difficulty of building a tool with which ordinary people can easily and simply create XML content?" That tool is impossible, because writers generally are not programmers, and don't think or write with metadata, even simple title-link-description two-level hierarchies like RSS. The closest thing to an XML editor that's widely deployed and popular are weblog editors like Radio, Blogger and Manila. Coming in second are outliners that support OPML. And most practical of all are apps that connect using XML invisibly, using SOAP or XML-RPC. 

Simon Carstensen is in love with Radio's outliner.  

Bryan is excited about doing a Manila training. That's very cool. "Every one seems to understand that you click the Edit this Page button to make changes to a page, and they seem to understand how to upload images to the server. But you should see the color leave their face when I tried to show them that you had to edit a 'simple' XML outline to make addition to the navigation. It was heart breaking." 

Went to lunch today with Chris Lydon. He asked if we were doing the usual Thursday evening thing at Berkman. Good question. Yes we are. Every Thursday night, rain or shine. Now I have to get back to coding so I can demo Trackback and Manila Plug-Ins. I love Thursdays. They're the best day of the week for me.  

Chris asked me to guess how old he is. I had actually been thinking about that, and was pretty sure I knew. I said 57, thinking he wouldn't like it. He grinned. "I'm 63," he said. Wow. We talked about people we should invite to BloggerCon at Harvard in the fall. (Not yet a sure thing, but getting close.) Chris knows everyone I could possibly want, having interviewed them on various NPR radio and TV shows, or as a reporter at the NY Times. I know who I want for the cocktail party: Click and Clack. He knows them well. Walter Cronkite and Jimmy Carter both wanted to meet them when Chris interviewed them at WBUR. They're good because everyone knows them, but they are still mysterious. Like the voices behind The Simpsons, few people know what the Car Talk brothers look like. Would they like weblogs? We'll find out. I wonder if Walter Cronkite would like them. I'm pretty sure Jimmy Carter would. Being at Harvard has huge advantages, like the doors it opens. Many of these people would take my call, even though they've never heard me. I imagine this is what it's like working at Microsoft. Or Google. 

First the news. Edgar Codd, a giant in the evolution of relational database technology, died at the age of 79. When I was a comp sci grad student in the 70s we studied Codd. Now a question. That was a NY Times article, syndicated by News.Com. Will that link rot after seven days? Anyone at CNET or the Times care to comment? 

Ray Ozzie: "Well, I'm back." He's also on News.Com today. 

Criticism of Tim O'Reilly and Clay Shirky from Andrew Orlowski at the Register and Tim's defense. I've noted what Andrew observes. These conferences tend to follow lines drawn by Clay. Disclaimer: that's my opinion, it's not journalism. Also, I wasn't invited into Clay's social software club either. To me it looks like an Everyone-But-Dave weblog software consortium. Kind of flattering.  

iPoding: "Want to read news on your iPod without installing and managing a new application? Now you can with RSS2iCal, a simple web script that allows you to subscribe to web news sources directly from Apple's iCal as if they were shared calendars." 

Lots of news today from (UserLand competitor) SixApart. Congrats to Ben, Mena, Joi and Anil. May the market keep growing. Disclaimer: I remain a large shareholder in UserLand and am an active user of its products and enthusiastic developer in the UserLand environment. I also have a Moveable Type weblog (mostly for testing). 

Dan Bricklin: "If students are being sued for sharing their record collections within their dorms, why isn't it a problem that they share textbooks while studying?" 

Forget the flamers 

Good afternoon. It was a truly miserable morning. Schlepping around Cambridge and Brookline between computer stores, all the time fighting Boston's illogical traffic system. I have a tiny little keyboard for my laptop. It sucks, so I went into the office where I have a full keyboard and screen.

I've been getting flamed so much lately, surely I've offended someone who believes small keyboards are the future, or that all other traffic systems must be deprecated, or whatever. Some of the flames are competitive, people who must not like all the innovative new software that's emitting now. As Maude said, God'll get you for that Walter.

Remember, April is traditionally when new ideas hatch. No shortage of those this April. The flames will be long forgotten, and so will the flamers. The ideas though, seem to have lasting value.

Morning keyboard breakage 

Keyboar broken, spi11 1iqui too 1ate 1ast nite. Many keys broke. Oy. Praise Murvy!

Quick fix -- I got a USB keyboard at the Micro Center in Cambridge. Not bad. The screen is a bit far away. BTW, the text above reads: "Keyboard broken, spill liquid too late last night (couldn't get enough of "coffee" to work so I said liquid). Many keys broke. Oy. Praise Murphy!"

2002: The battle for the Web continues.

NY Times: Recording Industry Goes After Students Over Music Sharing. The suits, which seek billions of dollars in damages, accuse four college students of unauthorized copying of digital music.


Last update: Wednesday, April 23, 2003 at 8:12 PM Eastern.

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