Here's what funky means in simple non-technical language.
Heads up to Harvard bloggers. We will not have the usual Thursday night meeting for the next two weeks. This week is a holiday, and next week I'll be in Oregon.
Sjoerd Visscher says I'm unique, and I totally appreciate that, and I wanted to add that Sjoerd is unique too. There are very few people in the world who I trust to add none of their own bullshit. If Sjoerd says something I listen, carefully. His stuff is always interesting. I always have room on Scripting News for a Sjoerd Visscher science experiment. A few of the other people I feel that way about. Wes Felter. Scott Rosenberg. Scoble. Glenn Fleishman. Andre Radke. Brent Simmons. Jake Savin. Lawrence Lee. Lance Knobel. Ed Cone. John Palfrey. Bob Atkinson. Russ Lipton. Stan Krute. Paolo Valdemarin. Dave Sifry. Chris Lydon. Jim Moore. Joi Ito. Wow the list is getting pretty long. Doc Searls. Interesting that they're all men. And by the way, just because people add bullshit doesn't make them unworthy of being friends. Just thought I should mention that. I wouldn't believe everything I said, for example. I screw up sometimes, and often shoot from the hip. We are who we are. Someone who recently started adding bullshit, mostly because he's confused, I think: Jon Udell. People sometimes bend over backwards to appear to be fair and say things that are wrong. I think I caught Don Park doing that. Hey Don, is
One more thing. I used to feel that way about Fredrik Lundh. We had a fantastic collaboration. Then for some reason he started flaming me. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Then a few days ago he came back onto the scene and it was just like old days. My friend came back. I asked if he would be my lawyer, and he said yes. The world is a better place tonight for that. God bless you Fredrik.
Dave Mancuso compares post-heart-op Dave (me) with Batman of the 80s. "This Batman was different. He didn't have the time for niceties anymore -- life was too short."
Gary Wolf recalls a debate between Louis Rossetto and myself in 1994. "Yes, the web is like radio and cb," Dave replied. "But it is also like a front porch. I might put a few flower pots on the porch, a couple of chairs, a BBQ, a swing, decorations that say something about me, and perhaps invite other people in. Imagine if you could visit my front porch and find pointers to all my friends' porches."
2/8/96: "Putting your thoughts on a web page is an invitation to anyone to take your hand. It's an open medium. A link is a connection between people. A web page is an open hand."
Dave Jacobs needs a kidney transplant. "Can you imagine what it's like to bury a younger brother who died from the same disease that's almost certain to kill you?"
On this day in Y2K, a birth notice here on Scripting News, for Dave & Amy's second son, Cassidy. "Ah, child of countless trees. Ah, child of boundless seas. What you are, what you're meant to be. Speaks his name, though you were born to me, born to me, Cassidy." BTW, John Perry Barlow, also a Berkman fellow, wrote the song.
Dave Winer's RSS 2.0 Political FAQ. "My goal in writing this FAQ is to help people understand how RSS politics works."
Ken Tompkins: "Is there a search engine that delivers content in RSS format as the result of a search?"
Seyed Razavi on SixApart and Echo. "This was the lousiest set of arguments for a fork I've ever seen."
I updated the XML-RPC spec to remove the word ASCII from the definition of string type, and changed the copyright dates from 1998-99 to 1998-2003.
Screen shot of the weblog editor that shipped on this day in 1999, as part of My.UserLand.Com. It was a shadow of the weblog tool with an integrated aggregator that shipped as Radio 8, three years later.
Guan Yang: I Love RSS. Me too!
James Robertson: "There's a lot of effort being spent on a new syndication format that looks an awful lot like RSS after a few global search/replaces of tag names."
NY Times: Katherine Hepburn Dies at 96.
Wes Felter: "When one side is committed to worse-is-better and the other to pedantic perfectionism, a fork is the best thing that can happen." Amen Wes. I wonder if the Movable Type people have figured out how to create an editor that real people will use that produces XHTML. The most popular editor among Radio users on Windows produces perfectly horrible HTML, which we encode and put in the RSS feeds that all aggregators handle perfectly well. We can't change the editor because it's baked into the browser. Do you think users would understand if we told them they had to use a much worse editor and enter the tags themselves because that made more sense to Ben Trott?
Brent Simmons comments on Echo vs RSS.
Scoble is collecting links on the current controversy.
Don Park: "Ben of Six Apart explains why Six Apart has pledged support for Echo. Unfortunately, his list of reasons are mostly resolvable technical complaints against RSS."
Aaron Swartz asks an "honest question" in public about why I'm so angry with Tim Bray. Tim said some awful stuff about me in a piece he wrote that helped, in large part, start the humongous flamewar aimed at me over the last week. It's wasted a lot of my time, and possibly has set back my work by years. I also have heart disease, so this kind of extra angst could actually shorten my life. I take that pretty seriously. Now, imho, Aaron's question is probably not very honest. He's a young guy who likes to flame. He's gotten a rep for being a software genius, but that's mostly with lawyers, not software people. He's a politician, and not a good one, and not a very nice person. He's treated me like crap for years, and child or not, I'm tired of it, and I'm not taking it anymore. When he bites, I'm going to bite back, so watch out Aaron.
Okay I think I made my point. I take big risks on behalf of a community that does care. But the community lets others speak for it and stays silent, and lately the people who are speaking have turned abusive, then cruel, then destructive. I couldn't stand by and let that happen and continue writing Scripting as if nothing was happening. I say what I think here, and sometimes people don't like what I say. But that doesn't give them the right to destroy. We have to find a way to channel support when it's needed. If you like using your aggregator to read RSS feeds, please find a way of saying that publicly. If you want mature steady leadership for the technology, find a way to say that too. If you don't want the pavement ripped up because a few competitors have fallen behind and want to create confusion until they can catch up, say so. We have a chance to escape from the usual messes that technology people create, but only if the users stand up for their right to choose, to switch, and for that to happen it must stay simple, it must get even simpler. I'm going out for dinner and a movie and Scripting News will return bright and early tomorrow morning.
Fredrik Lundh: XML-RPC and the ASCII Limitation. Interesting history in Fredrik's piece. It's true that the Q&A near the end of the XML-RPC spec are responses to questions Fredrik asked when he was doing the Python implementation. I didn't know the context at the time, I just answered the questions, and thought other developers should see them, so I added them to the spec. In any event, I support his interpretation, and if you read the archive of the XML-RPC mail list, you'll see it isn't the first time I've said that. Hopefully from now on people will find other reasons to criticize XML-RPC. Disclaimer: I make shitty software and I write shitty specs, but for all that shittyness, they're amazingly popular and somewhat useful.
Ben Trott: Why We Need Echo.
Sjoerd Visscher explains the diffs betw Echo and RSS.
Jason DeFilippo: Another case for RSS.
Alan Cohen: "Google, combined with Wi-Fi, is a little bit like God. God is wireless, God is everywhere and God sees and knows everything."
Before Napster was marked by the press as a haven for music piracy, Peter Lewis writing in the NY Times three years ago today, called it "the new Elvis of the Internet, the rebel that rocks the establishment because of its wild popularity among young people and its whiff of dangerousness." That captures what Napster meant to me. Of course Elvis did hang out with Tricky Dick.
Adam Curry discovers that yesterday's outliner for Movable Type also works with Radio. Heh. Can't fool Adam. The cool thing about the common blogging API is that it also works with Blogger. How about that. We used to work together. We still do, but maybe not for very long. See below.
An old software industry joke. At Microsoft, a new version of Windows isn't ready to ship until it doesn't run Lotus. Read that carefully. And at Microsoft in the early nineties they used to wear T-shirts saying Delete Philippe. That was before they cut off Netscape's air supply. Of course all this michegas is totally against the interests of users because it decreases their choice, and therefore their power.
Two years ago today a survey asked if Microsoft adds features to their operating system in order to eliminate competition. Eighty-nine percent said yes. Note that all this is about Microsoft because for the last thirteen years they've dominated the software industry (since Windows 3.0 shipped and pushed IBM aside). Before that IBM and within their own sphere, Apple, did exactly the same. When they didn't want to be competed with they just crushed the competition. That's why power in the software industry must be controlled. The most effective controllers of power are the users, but for whatever reason, they never seem to take that power seriously. I've never seen it happen where they said "We're going to help this struggling company because we want choice in the future." I guess that's not the nature of being a user.
One of the many things the Echo folk want to reinvent is the MetaWeblog API. Of course this makes my teeth grind, because I know how much time and energy went into making it work, not just for UserLand's tools, but for many others.
The only major holdout so far has been Blogger. Now, when the API was in development I asked Evan for feedback several times, directly, and he never responded. Now, over a year later, I hear that the API is inadequate for his purposes, because it doesn't have an element called appkey in its parameter lists. So the obvious question is, if we add appkey to a new version of the API, just for Blogger, and deprecate the old API, would that be enough, or are there other things he wants? Is Evan's goal to set back our work, or move his work forward? If it's the former, let's smoke that out into the open. I'm willing to accomodate you Evan. I'm willing to break the MetaWeblog API to get your support. I'm willing to convince other developers that it's worth changing their tools to get you on board. So now that we're going to bend over and grease up for you Evan, is that good enough, or do you want more?
Another data point. Over on Sam Ruby's weblog, an engineer at Google who's working on Blogger volunteers that the reason they don't use RSS 2.0 is that it supposedly doesn't have a feature that it has had since version 0.90, for over four years. If they had looked at the any of the BBC feeds they would have seen how to use it. Or the feeds Radio generates. If they had asked me I would have shown them. Instead they are switching their users to RDF, and then switching them to Echo, when RSS 2.0 would be perfectly good for their purposes. I am so confused by how they navigate through formats and protocols. If I were a suspicious man I'd think they want me to be confused.
Radio as a Movable Type outliner. Configuration is still a bit rude, and for the brave. But the outliner works, and it's wonderful, according to Andrew Grumet, who's using it. Brought to you by Ben and Mena who generously added MetaWeblog API support to Movable Type; and by me, who wrote an outliner that can be used to edit weblog posts.
Scoble has a long interesting rant about RSS. He's right, when you're trying to get a new activity going it isn't about making the wrong people feel good, it's about making the right people feel excited. RSS has done that, very nicely, over the objections of some programmers who want to play with it, which really means that they want to break it.
Internet News: "Google has added a 'BlogThis' feature in version 2.0 of the toolbar. But because it's exclusive to Blogger users, rival firms are worried Google might use its wild popularity to sideline the competition."
10/22/02: "The chance to blow people's minds is to show it working through the open interface of a competitor's product. This is how we show web services working, as they were always supposed to, eliminating lock-in, allowing us to enhance each others' products, and to take the fear out of serving our customers. The BigCo's don't get this, they patent stuff and have powwow's among execs who have no idea what the software is used for. Heh. In the meantime us little folk are building a market. How about that."
Halley Suitt: "We're alive here, but we're also dying."
Michael Fraase: "Last year more than 6500 people died waiting for organ transplants."
Joshua Allen has a talk with Mr Safe, and guess what Mr Safe thinks RSS is okay, cool, let's go, no problemmo.
Boston Globe: "At 5:30AM yesterday, Krispy Kreme Inc, the highly profitable, highly caloric doughnut chain, finally opened the doors to its new franchise in Medford and entered the Massachusetts market."
Tim Bray: "I am worried that the next-gen syndication process rooted in Sam's Wiki is in danger of going seriously off the rails, because some of the participants have got the idea that it's about trying to invent new technology or improve RSS."
If it weren't so sad it would be funny. Bray's initial posts on this subject formed the rallying cry for ripping up the pavement and starting over. His dismissal of me as a leader of the community inspired others to incredible personal abuse and cruelty. Now he speaks as if he's the injured party.
I'll make a prediction. Because of what he did, control of RSS will go to the BigCo's, probably Microsoft, possibly a battle between IBM, Microsoft and Google. Bray deserves the credit for that. I think this post is his realization that he's going to get it, fully and squarely on his shoulders. Good luck Tim. You're on your own now. Let's see if you can dig out of this mess.
Okay, I'm glad I got that out of the way. I am angry that Bray used me in such an awful way to be so wantonly destructive and now that he sees the destruction is trying to scramble as fast as he can into the hills. I've expressed that. Now let's try to move on.
How about let's try to put this back together so that RSS stays what it is, a simple syndication format, with a set of best practices that all parties adhere to, so that the format isn't vulnerable to takeover by one or more BigCo's. If you want to understand why I never took the spec to the W3C, there it is. It's a consortium of BigCo's with a director who is an RDF advocate, and until very recently an anemic patent policy. Such an organization cannot be trusted with RSS, imho.
The IETF is not much of a standards organization. Mark Nottingham turned the RSS 2.0 spec into something IETF-able, and while I didn't endorse it, I didn't stand in its way either. I was neutral on it, because it's kind of an empty thing to do. Anyone could follow such an action with a restatement of what RSS is, and that restatement would be just as valid as the original statement. Not much of a basis for interop, imho.
The other standards organizations are less familiar to me, and probably mostly are controlled by BigCo's who I don't trust (based on experience), so the RSS spec has stayed on backend.userland.com, waiting for a group of senior industry people without a major conflict of interest to work with me to figure out what's best for everyone, but most of all what's best for RSS. Maybe that day is here. It kind of depends on what's in Sam's heart, Jon's heart, and even Tim Bray's heart, even though I hate what he did, I recognize his brilliance, and think he probably was just a fool, that he wasn't deliberately trying to destroy the tenuous peace in RSS-land.
Jon Udell: My Conversation with Mr Safe. A must-read. Udell converses with Tim Bray's Mr Safe about RSS. Tim's claim that RSS is not deployable by conservative corporate managers was instrumental in getting the frenzy over Echo cooking. But Bray was wrong, RSS is in fact being widely deployed by lots of Mr Safes. And they've been quietly adopting the optional features of RSS 2.0 over the last few months. In other words, Bray is saying RSS is losing at the exact moment that it's running its victory lap. Now, Udell criticizes me personally in his piece, as Bray dismissed me (in a very humiliating way, not appropriate for a person of his stature) and I asked Udell not to do it, but he insisted it was his right. I decided to point to his piece anyway, because it's important that you hear from him. While I offered my endorsement to Echo, I did it with reservations. I don't believe it's necessary, or even advisable. As others have said, we're taking too big a risk that a BigCo (like Google or IBM, for example) is going to take control. If you think I've been a bad leader, talk to me, tell me what you want to do, and I'll see if I can accomodate. But you have to listen too, and that's what you guys haven't been doing. When I talk (so it seems to me) you flame. That's not a conversation, and it's been going on for years. I don't think the Big's are going to care about what you want. I haven't found Google particularly interested in keeping the market open, and my experience with IBM on SOAP was not very good either. Both companies use patents. You may believe they have your interest at heart, but I'd keep my eyes open about that.
Andrew Grumet: "Programmer grumbling is unfortunate but it is no match for the roar of happy users." Amen.
Did you know that the BBC has an RSS feed just for news about Harry Potter?
Russ Lipton sends a pointer to weblogs from the Spokane newspaper, the Spokesman-Review.
Last year: "It's nice, even wonderful, to be able to walk for five minutes on a gorgeous California summer morning." Two years ago: "You can know what until now, only KnowNow knew." Three years ago: "I like new elements that have imperfect names and that are supported in content by leading content providers." Six years ago: "By the time a child is 18, he or she will see 80,000 murders on TV and will never see a couple making love."
I was talking with Halley a few days ago and she asked what's going on with my friend with the weblog who has cancer. I shuddered. I haven't seen him update in a long time. Oh shit. I just checked his site. He updated Tuesday. "It's been a busy few weeks. Claudia and I bought an apartment in lower Westchester just north of the city." Whew. Glad he's okay. Brian and I were two sick guys with weblogs last summer. Seems like we're both getting back on our feet. Coool.
Charles Cooper: "I'd love to get his reaction after SCO produces documents with keystroke-by-keystroke copies of proprietary IP -- including typographical mistakes -- which subsequently made its way into the open-source community."
To non-technical readers, and people who don't follow the daily ins and outs of RSS politics, here's a brief explanation of what's going on.
A group of developers, including some very important ones (the developers of Blogger and Movable Type, notably) have decided to develop a format to compete with RSS and an API to compete with the Blogger API and the MetaWeblog API.
You may or may not like this idea, if you don't there's not much you can do about it, because it seems to be happening anyway, or something seems to be happening. I think if you're a user of this stuff, you can tune out for a while at least. However, it seems that some of the space on Scripting News will be devoted to this for some time to come.
So now a bit of feedback to the people responsible for Echo.
1. Please help me get rid of the personality issues. If I'm going to participate, hatred has to be off-topic, at least in the big places for discussions. When you see someone indulge, and there have been some outrageous examples, it's better if you ask them to stop, than if I have to.
2. Start an Echo weblog. Eat the dogfood. Show us in real-time what an Echo-compliant weblog looks like.
3. It should have an Echo feed, asap. And it should also have an RSS 2.0 feed, so people with aggregators can subscribe to it. This is a pragmatic thing, it's very hard to follow the project now. There are enough people involved to have one or two people serve as chronicler of the project.
4. I think it's wonderful that it's happening on the Web and not on mail lists. But you have to compensate for the fact that there's no single place to go to stay informed by creating one.
That's about it for now. Yesterday's endorsement is finished.
I'll be in San Francisco July 12-16, returning to Boston the morning of the 17th. This time I want to do some kind of blogger's dinner or meeting. Maybe a Giants game. Yesterday it was 100 degrees in Boston, 100 percent humid. Looking forward to chilling out by the Bay.
Jim Moore: "This year there is a 'firewall' system of primaries that follows the first two and is intended to favor a non-grass-roots candidate."
Here's a tentative endorsement of Echo.
If you listen to some you'll hear hype that I control RSS. That's just ridiculous. I don't control RSS. I couldn't change it if I wanted to. It is what it is. RSS controls me. Try to wiggle out from its control and I keep running into it every which way I look. Massive numbers of developers came to the realization that the design period of this network is over, that RSS sneaked out from control of RDF somewhere in the middle of last year when they weren't looking. And it took over the world. I'm proud of RSS for its power. I am in awe of it. I respect it. I am contained by it. I am content.
Tim Jarrett: "RSS works, and if it doesnít do what you need it to do you can expand it with namespaces. I understand the frustration of underspecified formats, but letís get it straight: every groundbreaking 1.0 project is underspecified. And adoption happens anyway."
Lance Knobel: Tom Watson, blogging MP. "I spent an hour yesterday chatting with Tom Watson, the Labour MP for West Bromwich East, and, by my reckoning, the first elected national politician to have a real weblog."
I had dinner last night with Jim Moore. It was fun. He's writing a book about the Second Superpower. Smart guy. We ate buffalo. No kidding.
Speaking of Berkman, here's the prototype of the new home page. See the influence weblogs are having here? Jim and I talked a lot about that last night. Weblogs are transforming the place, in a good way, it seems.
Congratulations to the Blogger folk on getting their Blog This functionality embedded in the Google toolbar. Should have used the Blogger API so it would work with all blogging tools, but that's just my opinion of course.
On this day in 1997, the US Supreme Court affirmed free speech on the Web by overturning the Communication Decency Act
Last year on this day: "Twelve days of no smoking. Munching on baby carrots."
Jon Udell: "Let's be clear: RSS is in no way broken."
Chris Pirillo: "The RSS feeds on this page were set up to help you keep track of new products on Amazon.com."
William Gibson: "In the age of the leak and the blog, of evidence extraction and link discovery, truths will either out or be outed, later if not sooner."
Washington Post article on the role NY Times reporter Judith Miller played in the army unit which she was embedded in during the war. "Interrogating Iraqis was not the mission of the unit, these officials said, it became a 'Judith Miller team,' in the words of one officer close to the situation."
News.Com: "Microsoft's path to expand the Windows empire is leading directly to search king Google."
Jonathan Dube claims to have the most complete directory of professional journalist weblogs.
Stewart Alsop: "Will Longhorn rock the world?"
FWIW, in RSS 2.0, I thought there should be a core-level post ID element, but I thought there was a pretty good chance, based on experience with the Blogger API, that each tool would have a different way of expressing it.
The compelling app for post ID's is backup and restore. If I'm using RSS to back up a weblog, and if I need to do a restore, the post ID's must be preserved, or when I regenerate the site after a restore, permalinks will break. Also since Radio and Manila are programming environments, developers may have created applications that depend on post ID's being preserved. The same is true of many other blogging tools.
Rather than put this in the core, I decided to put it in a namespace, specifically for Radio, and to revisit the issue after other blogging tools started using RSS 2.0 seriously.
Simon Willison is helping a friend get an RSS feed together for her weblog, and had some questions and had to guess because there is no FAQ. Of the three decisions he made, I strongly agree with two of them. Now for the third -- should he use link or guid to represent the permalink to the post? I believe he should use guid because that's what it was designed for. Link was designed for something else.
First, link has the easier name because it predates guid by three years, and its design is central to the initial design of RSS, to model items with three bits of data, title, link and description. Look at a News.Com story as the prototype for early, lizard-brain-level RSS. Every story they produce has all three items. My.Netscape presented each "channel" in a box, with TLD's. Now when weblogs started using RSS, almost immediately, not every post would have all three, in fact since Frontier was the main weblog tool at the time, and didn't support the common weblog-post model so familiar today, you might say that no weblog posts supported this model. It wasn't until Blogger came along in mid 1999 that TLDs were possible in weblogs. It wasn't until mid-Y2K that Manila supported TLD-type posts.
Anyway, I'm explaining all this background for a purpose, to say that, imho, link should be used only to link to the article being described by the post, it should only be used in the TLD context. I believe that was a very solid application and shouldn't be muddied. Of course many feeds these days take link seriously, like for example all 68 of the BBC feeds announced yesterday.
Now that said, Radio uses link the way Simon uses it. But then guid didn't exist when Radio shipped. Now that it does exist, I really feel strongly that people should use it, and let link be pure.
See also: Guids are not just for geeks anymore.
See also: RSS2-Support mail list.
DaveNet: BBC Archive, Weblogs and RSS.
Slate: "Presumably by accident, somebody left a live prototype of President Bush's 2004 campaign site on the Web for a few hours today."
Dave Sifry recounts a phone conversation we had last week about RSS and naming, and support from blogging tools.
Sixty-eight new feeds from BBC News Interactive.
Adrian Holovaty made a bookmarklet that gets the RSS feed for a particular BBC news section or story.
News.Com: "Netflix has been granted a wide-ranging patent encompassing its online DVD rental service."
Fresh and funky and ready to please.
Press release: SOAP 1.2.
Tom Yager explains how Apple cooked its performance test for the new G5 computers.
Intel: "Anne Davis remembers how she reacted the first time she saw a weblog being used in the classroom."
Jim McGee: "Sites that provide no RSS feed essentially don't exist for me."
Wes Felter reviews yesterday's Apple announcements.
Aaron Swartz has a neat web app that lets you find out what ads Google would put on your site if you signed up for and were accepted by the AdSense program. Here are the ads they'd put on Scripting News. Makes sense.
Jeremy Zawodny wonders "Does Google Like Me?"
AP: "A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that Congress can force the nation's public libraries to equip computers with anti-pornography filters."
Jenny Levine is gathering news related to the Supreme Court decision.
We have another confirmation for the Cluetrain 2003 session at BloggerCon. Co-author of the Manifesto, Doc Searls. Three down, one to go. The fourth is probably in the sky flying back from Copenhagen.
Brian Jepson is blogging Steve Jobs's keynote at WWDC.
Register: "Intel today launched its 3.2GHz Pentium 4."
There are moments when if people compromise something great can happen and if they don't the opportunity passes. I saw it happen with Apple Events in 1990. I tried to broker a deal between Microsoft and Apple to make a cross-platform interapplication communication layer so you could mix LANs with MS and Apple machines and they would interop. Microsoft said yes, Apple said no. The result was COM.
A Russian developer network with really nice non-funky RSS feeds. Da!
Ed Cone: "One topic we wonít spend much if any time on at BloggerCon is last yearís question: are weblogs journalism? Thatís settled (affirmative). The interesting questions deal with what kind of journalism weblogs can produce. But not everyone has gotten the memo."
Don Park: "Although I agree with Dave on the issue of funky RSS, I think he is misusing the word funky."
A gentle introduction to the RSS controversy, for power users, not developers, not XML jocks, for people who use computers, who like their aggregators, and would like some new features every once in a while.
1/2/02: "I must give away some of the juice if I want to have a growing and prosperous software business. It's how I create a market to compete in. One little company selling a product does not make a market, no matter how unfair that seems."
Josh Allen: "Microsoft can rightly brag that we adopted RSS before most of the other big behemoths."
A picture of the classroom we're going to use for BloggerCon. I'm terrible with names. That goes for classrooms too. It's named after a former dean of the law school. Someone will tell me the correct name in five minutes or less. BTW, that's John Palfrey in the picture. I asked him to stand in front of the room so that the picture would give a sense of the scale of the room. John was quoted saying "ain't" in the NY Times today. He's probably never said ain't before in his life. His ancestors came over on the Mayflower, and his great-great-great-great-grandfather was Teddy Roosevelt. Even with all that blue blood in him, he's still a really nice friendly human being. He settles all the arguments at Berkman, and he's only 30 years old, just three years older than Eric, see below. I'd love to see the two of them get together some time. Really smart good people. I bet they'd solve some problems.
Eric Kidd, a 27-year-old programmer, writes about The Missing Future in software. "What if I have a great idea, and I want to change the world?" he asks.
Jon Udell: "Every day I use Perl, Python, Linux, Apache, Mozilla, Zope, emacs, and countless supporting libraries and tools. But I also use Windows, Mac OS X, MSIE, Outlook, and a bevy of commercial software products."
BloggerCon progress report.
NY Times: The Corporate Blog is Catching On.
Blogger's recently updated blogs. Interesting reading from the middle of America.
Bryan Bell: "IE has now taken Netscape 4's old position as the boat anchor being dragged behind the Internet."
On this day in Y2K, I blogged Microsoft's rollout of .NET.
Weird Al Yankovic interviews Chris Pirillo, video.
Last year on this day I wrote about smoking. "I'm the kind of person who likes to solve problems by smoking," I explained how my mind would automatically soothe itself with thoughts of smoking. That was then. It's gone now. I had forgotten about it. I'll have to give this some thought and figure out what it means. This was also the day I saw the Get Well blog. BTW I still use the iPod. It made the cross-country trip just fine. It goes to Harvard, always in my knapsack. On the back, engraved, it says "Let's not limit the dreams of people who use our tools." Amen to that.
Simon Song: "This is a weblog about my work as an intern at the New York Daily News and my life in New York."
Chris Lydon: A God for Bloggers.
This morning I spec'd a new BloggerCon session, sent invites, two confirmations. It would be an unusual, bloggy sort of thing to open up the process, so what the heck here goes. The first two people to say yes are Jim Moore and Adam Curry. I'm not going to say who the other two are because I like to tease, and they may say no (I don't actually think they will). Ralph Waldo Emerson is a virtual presenter.
Halley Suitt: The Blog Cabin.
Greenspun: "Look around at stuff that you believe to be public property. Very likely it will soon be given away to America's largest corporations and consequently their stock will go up even if they don't innovate."
Brad Choate: RSS 2 Dates and Such.
Scoble: "These guys have it made," nine-year-old Patrick, my son, said as he got a tour of Microsoft's game development and testing facilities this afternoon. "They get to play games all day long."
Paolo: "I'm an happy geek."
Thanks to Michael Gartenberg for sending the DVDs, I was able to catch up on the end of last season of The West Wing, the stuff I missed in the spring. Wow, the last three episodes are really something. The writer won't be back next season, what a complicated situation for his successor to pick up.
John Lee Hooker: "No matter what anybody says, it all comes down to the same thing. A man and a woman, a broken heart and a broken home."
I also picked up the wide-screen version of the Spiderman movie, which I saw last year in San Jose with Scoble & Scoble. I liked the movie last year, but I liked the DVD version even better, because in this one, he kisses the girl, first as the superhero and then as his alter-ego.
On this day last year, Scripting News resumed, slowly. I am told that to a reader of the site this is when things started to return to normal. But the glass screen hides so much. A year later I can remember that moment like it happened yesterday. Then, I thought to myself, this isn't going to be the same, ever again. So far that's quite true. But on your side of the screen, things probably aren't very different.
Ed Cone announces the journalism session at BC with Scott Rosenberg, Glenn Reynolds, and Joshua Marshall.
Greenspun: "If George W had only declared war on urban traffic congestion instead of Iraq!"
Lessig: "Give Madison Avenue a rest?"
Simon Willison hosts a quiet conversation about RSS.
John Robb: "I am alive." Whew.
Mark Hurst: This Is Broken. "A new project to make businesses more aware of their customer experience."
Brad Choate: "United States Patent No. 4,558,302 expires today. This is the technology behind the common GIF file."
Three years ago today I visited with Napster and took pictures, of course. This one made it into a history book of computer science. My favorite is this one of VP-Engineering Eddie Kessler, smiling for the camera.
Six years ago today, a story about boys and adventure.
Last night someone listed the three big areas we're going to cover at BloggerCon, before I said anything, and got it right. Something must be working. The three areas: Politics, Education and Journalism.
Notable in its absence: Technology. It's no accident. Weblog technology is advanced enough today in 2003 to be out of the way. There will be steady improvement, I hope, but users have choice, and the choices are good enough to get the job done.
But technology will be everywhere at BloggerCon, but if it's doing its job well it will be transparent. People won't be thinking "Oh that's important technology" they'll say "What an interesting idea."
Meg read my What Makes A Weblog A Weblog essay, and sent an email (from Copenhagen) explaining that I missed the fundamental difference between weblogs and everything else.
She says: "The biggest thing I keep stressing, which I think is the fundamental difference: posts vs pages. It's about posts, chunks of content, not pages, which is what wikis are, and it's the content that Vignette and Interwoven output. They treat the chunks of content as pages, and they don't see the more discrete bits that are the posts."
Last night at the Thursday Berkman weblog writers meeting we talked about BloggerCon.
We covered so much ground in two hours, it's impossible to report it all. But there's one idea I want to talk about here this morning because it's important idea and I want to get out there way before October.
A question to the group -- how do we use Chris Lydon -- a great interviewer, the radio version of Charlie Rose. Chris was in the room, and he took the floor and started talking about Ralph Waldo Emerson, and his relationship to weblogs and radio. I didn't get it, but I liked the way it sounded. Then someone else talked about the Cluetrain Manifesto, markets are conversations. Then politics, hey they're conversations too, and so is education. Wait a minute weblogs are conversations. Whuh.
It's hard to describe the feeling in the room at that moment, it's the same thing that's been interesting to me about Chris, his radio and my Radio seem to be flipsides of the same thing. And I've said to Doc that weblogs are the implementation of the Cluetrain, and he agrees.
So we're going to put these two people on stage, Chris and Doc, and add one more person (who I haven't talked to yet) and maybe one more after that, and see what happens. It won't be a panel, it'll be a conversation. Duh.
Kendall Clark: "Like it or not, the web services part of the Web's future is being developed by the largest computer corporations almost entirely in terms of standards bodies."
This used to be Clay Shirky's line. And before that News.Com believed it. And before that there was a whole industry waiting with baited breath for the next pronouncement from IBM, Microsoft, Sun, Apple, Lotus, you name it. Lots of waiting for trains that never came. This one won't come either.
What if Kendall really understood the Law of Expectation, you see what you expect to see. A statement like his tells me more about his filters, his experience, than it does about web services, the Web's future, ie the things it purports to be about.
Prior art: "We listened to you, we thought you were right, so we did it your way."
Brent Simmons: "Prior art is your friend." Indeed.
Feedster: RSS-Search Merges with Feedster.
Sorry for the lack of posts today, been in various hardware hells trying to get all kinds of new stuff working, and then there's the Thursday evening meeting in a few hours.
Doc Searls got a link from the NY Times today. Nice article. Says a hit from Doc delivers lots of flow. It's true. So I wondered how many hits the Times delivered to Doc. About 67 as of this writing. Not as many as Doc.
Lance Knobel: "Twenty years ago, when I used to write about architecture and design, I recall someone criticising a chair that had been designed by a Danish duo. 'No one person could come up with something so awful. There had to be at least two of them.'"
Chris Sells: "Win a free seat at the Applied XML Developer's Conference in greater Portland, OR, July 10-11."
News.Com article about MSNBot.
Chris Heilman blogs beautifully.
I've been a Verizon customer for less than three hours and they have already hacked my system.
My browser now says "Microsoft Internet Explorer provided by Verizon Online." Funny it didn't used to say that.
My email accounts were all hacked, so now my client checks with their server, not my server.
My home page is on verizon.net.
I called up their support number (I had to, it took three long calls to get the DSL service working) and asked where they thought they got the right to do this. Read the service agreement, the support guy said.
What about the personal information they ask for (gender, age, occupation). He said "You don't have to tell the truth." You're telling me to lie? He said he didn't say that.
Of course I lied. I'm a female government employee born on this day in 1980.
DaveNet: What makes a weblog a weblog?
NY Times: A Blogger's Big-Fish Fantasy.
Here's Microsoft's about page for MSNBot.
According to Laurence Simon, Senator Hatch may have a copyright violation on his own site.
An anonymous source provides details on MSNBot. Google in the crosshairs. MS offered to buy Google. Search made $150 million profit for MS last year. Search baked into Longhorn.
Ed Cone: "Virginia Representative Rick Boucher says legislation allowing the recording industry to damage personal computers is highly unlikely to be enacted."
BBC: "Microsoft is taking legal action against alleged e-mail spammers in the US and the UK."
Zawodny: The Bot from Redmond.
Search Engine Watch: "Google has expanded its contextual ads program to allow many more content sites to carry its paid listings."
Glenn Reynolds enters the What Is A Weblog discussion.
A question for Senator Hatch.
It sounds like a presidential candidate is going to visit us tomorrow at the usual Thursday evening weblog-writers meeting at Berkman. That's cool. Last week we talked about New Hampshire. This week we'll talk about BloggerCon.
BBC: "A US senator wants to develop new technology which would remotely destroy the computers of people who illegally download music tracks."
Martin Schwimmer: "If I were Senator Hatch's press secretary I would suggest to him that he say that he was not referring to destroying the computers of home users who might have in effect shoplifted a few CDs or movies, but was instead referring to those professional counterfeiters who use their computers as illegal printing presses to distribute counterfeit works on a large scale."
A new version of Oddpost, the elegant browser-based email client, is now an RSS reader. Nicely done, as always. More info in an email from Ethan Diamond explaining the design of the new features in context of recent comments here.
A few days ago someone asked when I started doing permalinks. Here's the answer.
Graeme Foster: "Why not expose RSS feeds as POP3 and have an RSS aggregator in any email client?"
More great Adam Curry scans.
News.Com: Mary Bono downplays RIAA job rumors.
Everywhere I look I see lack of funk. Chris Sells come on down. Great feed. Completely easy to understand. No funk. Nothing that would make a non-rocket-scientist break a sweat. My man.
Blogger Pro 1.1 does a pretty good job at RSS: no funk here.
Check out the NYU weblog portal listing the blogs of NYU students and alumni.
Hiawatha Bray: "There's plenty of juice left in the blogging boom."
To improve performance on UserLand servers, the HTML version of weblogs.com is now updated every five minutes instead of every minute.
News.Com: "The University of Twente in the Netherlands has launched a unique, campuswide wireless hot spot, claimed to be the biggest in Europe."
Mary Harrsch: RSS -- The Next Killer App for Education.
The Australian Democrats get behind RSS.
Tim Bray is looking for stock quotes in an RSS feed.
Brent Simmons's RSS feed is totally not funky. Thanks Brent. And I think it's safe to assume that even if Brent's software sucked up all the other software in the world, his feed would still not be funky. Postscript: Brent's feed is so not funky that it's even less funky than my RSS feed, which is pretty damned not funky. Maybe I'll remove the three bits of funk in my feed. I wonder if anyone would miss them.
Register: Torvalds to leave Transmeta, will work full time on the Linux kernel.
Dan Gillmor notes that Time is a publicity tool for Time-Warner.
The NY Times reports that Continental and United Airlines are installing in-flight email. Which raises the question, is it really just email and if so why not just offer Internet access so we can access the Web?
Tim Bray: "There are some cultures where hugging is just not done."
DaveNet: NY Times Archive, Weblogs and RSS.
Steve Gillmor, author of the popular Allchin Tax piece, has a funky RSS feed. I sent him an email along the lines of Oh The Humanity. Steve will understand. Jim A won't care. If our wagons aren't circled he will do unto us what we do unto each other. It won't be a pretty sight.
My father decided to retire as a college professor. He's been doing it for 29 years, and was considering staying on one more year. He decided to retire for two reasons. First, he's always been researching better ways to teach students in his field. In the past his dept would adopt the ideas that worked. They've stopped doing that. The second reason is more disturbing. His students are cheating, and when he catches them, they fight about it, instead of being shamed. Being a professor seems pointless to him in this context. Makes sense. What's the point of teaching when people just want the grade, not the education.
William Grosso: "Is it just me, or did we have a month of good, old-fashioned, Internet time in the web browser universe."
I just got a call from the chair of our journalism panel at BloggerCon, and he got a yes from his fourth panelist, so one of the key events is now set to announce. I've asked him to write up a two-page introduction for the site and the mail list and we're going to move on to the education panel, politics panel and technology panel.
Pat Rock (via email) on MS's not-funky RSS. "It's probably a safe bet that their newsfeed isn't funky because AFAIK they haven't written a news aggregator. When the next version of Outlook Express comes out and has a news aggregator built in, that's when we'll see the Funk." To which I responded, Pat you understand how it works.
He continues: "Anyone in a space that MS wants to occupy, which is to say every space that involves a user and technology, does not have time to dick around."
Federal Computer Week: DOD moving to IPv6.
The Harvard Crimson archive goes back to 1900. Brewster Kahle's archive.org is doing a wonderful job of preserving the Web in snapshots. News organizations that claim near-perfect archives include the BBC and Guardian in the UK. The BBC is funded by public money, an important consideration, the Guardian is the beneficiary of the Scott Trust.
Correction from Neil McIntosh at the Guardian, which is not publicly funded. He says. "We're owned by an independent organisation, the Scott Trust, whose aim is: "To secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity; as a quality national newspaper without party affiliation; remaining faithful to its liberal tradition; as a profit-seeking enterprise managed in an efficient and cost-effective manner."
News.Com interviews Darl McBride, CEO of SCO, on his lawsuit against IBM.
Nicole Manktelow: "There are two kinds of bloggers. Those who want complete control over every morsel of their website, and those who'd prefer someone else did all the hard work."
Adam Curry: "My brain is krunching!"
Greenspun: "Imagine a wedding held at a waterslide park."
Microsoft Download Center has an RSS feed. It's very not funky. Bravo!
Steve Gillmor's latest piece is on the "Allchin tax."
Jason Wellnitz is blogging the campaign from Iowa.
Janet Kolodzy: "Why have journalistic values when no one believes the media anyway?"
SJ Merc: "The latest version of ReplayTV's digital video recorder is notable for the features it lacks."
What's the story on MoreStuff4Less.Com?
Steve Gillmor thinks RSS should be all over Steve Ballmer's radar. BTW, I absolutely don't agree that the most powerful application of RSS is to flow it through mail readers. Then it's just email (why not send the bits around by email if that's how you're going to read it). The first aggregator did it right, every hour it scans the feeds, and presents the new bits in reverse chronologic order, kind of like a weblog. Demo.
Steve's brother Dan is on an island in Helsinki harbor.
Thanks: "We use the same format as that used by weblogs.com."
Two years ago today: "A bit of philosophy. What happens when someone dies. People are kind to memory of the person. What a waste. The person you're being kind to is dead. Be kind to people who are alive. Blow their minds. See what comes back."
5/24/98: "It's even better if it has a funky beat, because that puts the smile on your face right away. The funkiness is the smile. Get it?"
I want funky in the music I dance to. I don't want funky from a cop, tax collector or doctor.
Funky isn't necessarily good or bad. Imho, the content of a feed is the place to be funky. The structure of the feed is a place to be boring. Predictable. Innovate in what you say, be uninnovative in how you deliver it. Most of the time people only hear half of Postel's exhort, be liberal in what you accept (btw XML's philosophy departs from this, rightly). I'm talking about the other half. Be conservative in what you generate. I go one step further. Be conservative in what we generate. It works better if we all generate the same thing. If we have only one way of saying something. That differences reflect true differences, not taste differences, not religious differences. When a techy gets excited because of the expressive power of a format, when there's more than one way to say it, I run the other way, because that's the opposite of what I want -- a format so simple that it's impossible to get it wrong.
Guys and gals -- think about it this way -- wouldn't it be great if every blogging tool did Trackback the same way? Wouldn't it be great if every blogging tool supported the same API? Sure it would. And if they don't, who does that help? The big guys. And who loses? The little guys, and the users.
The bad news for today's big guys is that they often become next year's little guys. And if you think it can't happen to Google, just ask Netscape. I came out of retirement and got involved in software again, in 1994, because it seemed we could avoid this kind of michegas, with "flavors" of specs, and bookshelf-size specs (heh, they aren't really specs). When Blogger and MT reinvented RSS, and had the audacity to call it RSS (man that is nasty), you gotta wonder why they did it. I don't know. The only reason that makes sense to me is that they want to keep data interchange a dark art, understood only by a few, and widely considered impossible. That's probably not the reason. As some wise man once said, never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence. Either way, it's bad.
Not that I expect software people to ever work together, I've had that idea hammered out of me. I know better now. We're too selfish as individuals to acknowledge that the others exist. I have been Don Quixote about this. Won't happen again.
"Silence, friend Sancho," replied Don Quixote. "The fortunes of war more than any other are liable to frequent fluctuations. Moreover I think, and it is the truth, that the same sage Freston who carried off my study and books, has turned these giants into mills in order to rob me of the glory of vanquishing them, such is the enmity he bears me. But in the end his wicked arts will avail but little against my good sword."
NY Times: "We're seeking the unattainable," Scott Nichols, associate dean of the law school, said in an interview. "Nobody's ever dared to think about a campaign this big."
Rogers: "He's a person first and a pundit second."
The discussion on the NY Times archive continues.
A question for educators who do weblogs. For BloggerCon, one of the areas of focus will be weblogs in education. So we've got a couple of people lined up who are scholars who use weblogs with excellence. No announcements yet. Now I want to balance that with a couple of educators who have successfully created weblogs in a school, school district, college, university. I'm looking for people who support people who use weblogs, in a context that is not about weblogs, if possible. For example, a history class where each student keeps a weblog. Teachers who manage classes with a weblog. My goal of course is to learn from them, and then figure out what the next steps are. What do they need from other educators. What software is missing? We've already got some famous universities, I want to get connected with some not-so-famous universities. Who is leading in use of weblogs in education? Who do you look to for insight and inspiration? That's who I want for BloggerCon.
A tip for those who are new to Boston and want to learn how to drive in the city and metro area. Go out for a drive in the early morning on a weekend when the streets are empty. That way a wrong turn, while it will still take you miles out of your way, won't waste hours of your time.
There's a "social software" workshop in Finland sometime in the next few days. First I heard of it was on Dan Gillmor's weblog. Looking for a pointer. If you know anything about it let me know. More data. Joi Ito is on his way. So are "Cory and Clay." I am clueless.
Why I said Movable Type's RSS support is "funky."
On this day in Y2K, Courtney did the math, and opened our eyes to how the music industry really works. Also on that day, a story to go with the motto fear is frozen fun. "He could visualize his own death so clearly, coming so soon, and cried and whined and complained."
I saved about $4,000 in the last year by not smoking. So today I'm going to buy myself a $7,000 present. Hey it's great to be alive.
On this day last year, I wrote a little bit on Scripting, then went for an appointment at the cardiologist. On the way I picked up a pack of Marlboro Lights, and smoked two in the car on the way there. These were my last cigarettes.
As they prepped me for surgery three days later, I told a friend that I hadn't decided to quit smoking yet. She said "I know."
In the recovery room, after the surgery, the surgeon who led the team that operated on my heart asked what's the word computer people use for seeing something. "Visualize?" He said "Yes, that's it! I want you to visualize yourself as a smoker." I said Okay. He said "You're dead."
He explained that people with my condition who continue to smoke are usually dead within three years. I asked what if I quit? He said there's a pretty good chance I'll live a normal life. That was it, that was the moment I quit smoking.
It was relatively easy because for the first week I was in a place I couldn't smoke. Once I went home I had the hole in the middle of my chest to serve as a reminder. And of course the doctor's funny way of telling me the good-news-bad-news.
Anyway, it's been one year since I quit, and I'm ready for year two, year three and so on.
Visualize: "To form a mental image."
Rogers is looking for people who need help restoring a Radio installation.
Scott Rosenberg: "If you're reading this, I've successfully posted to Radio using the mail-to-blog tool."
Jenny explains why filtering is worth more than a shoulder-shrug. "While Jon and Dave view this issue in terms of employees and kids at home, as a librarian I naturally view this as a true censorship issue that comes up every day in our buildings."
PC Pro: "Roz Ho, the general manager of Microsoft's Mac Business Unit, has confirmed that no future versions of Internet Explorer will be released for the Mac."
Sad to see the angst-filled commentary on various weblogs on this announcement. It's no surprise to me. Microsoft has been telegraphing this for years. They never wanted the Web. Never. They had to control it because it threatened them, or so they thought. Their strategy is to lock things back up to the way they were before the Web, in 1994 or so. Read what Bill Gates said then. "The Internet is a great phenomena. I dont see how the emergence of more information content on a network can be a bad thing for the personal computer industry. Will it cause less personal computers to sell? I think quite the opposite. Less copies of Flight Simulator or Encarta?" Later, it became clear to Bill that my thesis was correct. The Internet had made all his complex technology irrelevant. He had been routed around. It was cool! It took him ten years to erase the Web as a threat. It's done now. He owns it, it's in the trunk (I know you don't like to hear this) it's locked, and they're driving it off a cliff into the ocean. It's weird to see people just figuring this out now. Don't go back to sleep, please. This is reality. What we all do next should reflect this.
On this day last year I got My Weblog Outliner to post to Movable Type. In the comments I said release was just a couple of weeks away. But then Murphy swung into gear, and now it's a year later, and it still hasn't shipped. Damn.
I'm giving feedback to a RSS feed provider who is including markup in the titles of items. The spec is silent on whether this is allowed, so it must be allowed. But will it cause any aggregators to barf? Radio doesn't mind, but I imagine that some of the non-browser-based readers might not like it. Comments?
Zeldman: "Only 99.29% of websites are obsolete."
The new house feels like my house in Madison, on Wilson Street, overlooking Lake Monona. Nine of the greatest roommates ever. The Mifflin Street Co-Op right down the street. Point Beer. Leinies. Falling head over heels in love. Everything happened there. So I decided to make this house sound like the Wilson house. It completes the picture.
Jon Udell is blocked by SurfControl. "The experience has opened a window onto a world I'm glad I don't live in," he says. Jon, my site is blocked by all of them because I sometimes use one (or more) of George Carlin's words. Otherwise it's a pretty G-rated site. I figure the kiddies know how to circumvent those things.
Rebecca Lieb's report on the Jupiter conference.
Daniel Berlinger is a sweet guy. Look at how he explains himself. It may seem too "philosophical" for some people, but instead of getting angry at me for smoking, he goes back and debugs the program that inferred that I must be a non-smoker. There's a pragmatic reason for reasoning this way, it makes Daniel easy to be friends with. He has no stake in my behavior. He's complete in himself. So we're independent, and can appreciate each other, without anyone trying to change anyone. Some of my critics get upset because I am a certain way, or think certain things. Perhaps they can benefit from another point of view, but it appears that they don't know that, instead they try to invalidate my point of view. Grrr. Can't be friends with people like that.
Dale Bumpers: "H.L. Mencken said one time, 'When you hear somebody say, This is not about money, it's about money. And when you hear somebody say, This is not about sex, it's about sex."
A sad fact I'm getting used to, DirecTV won't install a new system for me, because according to their computer I am an existing customer, and I have to use the old hardware. But it's in storage in California, I'd have to fly cross-country to get it, and my storage company doesn't allow visitation, so everything would have to be removed and moved to another place. The cost and hassle is in the thousands of dollars. It's so weird, it's not that they want to charge me more money, they just won't do it. I'm comfortable with their UI, but now I have to find another vendor to provide the service. I must have TiVO or a workalike. Any suggestions?
Frank Paynter interviews Betsy Devine.
Ignore yesterday's caveat about net connectivity. One of my neighbors has an open wireless network. So I've got juice. Now all I need is some coffee and whatnot and I'll be cookin. On the other hand, the node must be pretty far away, it's kind of flaky.
Paul Boutin: WiFi for Dummies.
Doc says Boston is thick with WiFi.
Yesterday's Thursday meeting was awesome. We mostly talked about New Hampshire and how to get started this summer, and made a short to-do list. I also agreed to have a BBQ at my new house, which I'm in now, likin it so far, after about ten hours or so. We're also approaching the 365-day mark for No Smoking Dave. Wednesday, doing a search for a story about age and weblogs I came across a post with a smoking cigarette butt, posted six months after I quit. Back then I had nostalgic feelings about smoking. I wrote poetry about smoking. No kidding. Now I feel differently. The smell is just awful. When I see a group of people smoking outside I don't think of the great conversation they're having, I'm thinking about the pain they're inhaling. Smoking hurts. From your first puff (remember that?) to your last (I definitely remember that). Yesterday walking on a beautiful bike trail in Lexington, there's this guy sitting on the side, smoking. It made me angry. Here I am trying to take oxygen into my lungs in great quantities, and he's putting his disgusting smoke into my lungs. Well geez if that doesn't beat it all. And he had the nerve to ask what time it is. I told him, I did give him the time of day, but I did not give my respect.
CNN: Gregory Peck dies at 87.
NY Times: David Brinkley dies at 82.
Long rambly right on review of Trackback.
It's a long story, but for the next few days I'll only have net connectivity at the office, so updates and responses to email will be sporadic.
It's going to be time, soon, to start leaking news of confirmed speakers for BloggerCon, October 4, Harvard Law School.
One of the ideas I'm toying with for BloggerCon is having a news room, with say 15 networked desktop computers, tables and chairs pretty close together, kind of like the computer room at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, if you've ever seen that. There can be an incredible energy in such a room, esp at a conference about weblogs. I remember having a great time at an O'Reilly conf one year, I imagine it's how "real" newsrooms feel.
Speaking of which, it looks like I could attend the O'Reilly conf. The Sells Brothers conf, which I'm keynoting, begins the day before the O'Reilly conf ends, in the same city. How about that. Is Nathan Torkington tuned in? Want to try Blogging Without The Screen this year?
InfoWorld announced today that they're starting to run ads in their RSS feeds. They asked my opinion before-hand, and I said I thought it was not a good idea, but of course they're free to do it, and of course we're free to unsubscribe.
It was my pleasure to meet Martin Roell at the Jupiter conference, whose weblog was introduced to me as the most popular German blog.
Boston Globe: Schools may post assignments on Web.
ComputerWorld: C&W to exit US, slash jobs. This site is hosted at Exodus, a unit of C&W, in the US.
Michael Gartenberg: "What's an age card?"
1/26/03: "Do you think learning stops at 22?"
A thought occurred to me during the closing panel at yesterday's conference. When asked for a show of hands of people who care what a blog is, three peoples' hands shot up: David Weinberger, Doc Searls and mine. I thought, what is it that we three have in common. Politely -- we're all intellectuals. Not so polite -- eggheads, professor types, NPR listeners, lefties. We spend time thinking about things that most people think aren't worth thinking about. Later, in the continuing discussion on the NY Times archive policy, I realized that people like David, Doc and myself are just the people the Times wants to be sure are well-supplied with paper-of-record type Web links. If you were to ask the Times if they care what defines what they do, their hands would shoot up too. If you want to do something well, yes yes yes, it matters very much what it is, and understanding what it is. Speaking for myself only, I want to do my weblog well, for the sake of doing it well, it's really that simple.
Another angle on What Is A Weblog? Consider the sequence of developments in publishing. In the 70s, to run a publication you needed a million-dollar printing plant, or you needed to lease time on one, to print and distribute your publication. In the 80s, with the advent of laser printers, GUIs and desktop publishing software, the cost dropped to $100,000. So more people could publish. In the 90s, publishing technology took off in a new way, all-electronic, and the cost dropped to a few thousand dollars. Enter weblogs, and the cost drops virtually to hundreds of dollars, maybe even tens. If you want to do a publication, all you need is the time to write, and an idea to write about. The number of publications goes up every time the rules are rewritten. Now, factor out the non-publication oriented websites. Those are not weblogs. Everything else is. How's that?
Heath Row has a transcript of every session at the Jupiter conference. Awesome.
A question that came up at the Jupiter conf, answered last year on this day. "Suppose you work for a company and keep a public weblog. Are you required in some way to blow the whistle, in public, on your employer?"
Two years ago today I asked to hear from people who are dead. "So far no emails," I said then. Still no emails two years later. Three years ago, Cameron Barrett reviewed Sammy's Rumanian Steak House in NYC. Just reading the review makes my mouth water.
From Michael Gartenberg, a puzzle along the lines of Don's Amazing Puzzle. Your mission is to find a four-letter word that ends with the letters E, N and Y; in that order. You can go through the letters of alphabet to figure it out, A, B, C, D, E, F, G etc. If you're like me, you'll make it all the way to the end without coming up with an answer. Like Don's puzzle there is no trick. Your mind may miss the answer because it comes in a form that it's not expecting.
The solution is is in the comment window on this post.
AdAge on Apple iTunes.
The Jupiter conf, was, imho, a success. We got a discussion going in a new way about weblogs in business. I have absolutely no doubt that the ball is already in the air. Businesses will of course use weblogs differently from the people who use them today, most of whom are not in business.
The show, emphatically, was not about technology, nor will BloggerCon in October be about technology. I said in my keynote that technology was ahead of the users, but in some ways, the users are ahead of the technology. Gartenberg, talking with Jason Shellen (Google) and myself on Monday night, explained how all this stuff looks to him. We have a long way to go to meet his expectations, but we will go there.
At one point Shellen said "Dave, don't play the age card," after I said we've been around this loop a few times, so it wasn't new to me. Fact is, most of the companies in this space, or who will be in this space shortly are run by people my age, including Jason's company, with similar experience with dominance, lock-in vs interop, and bluster. It's not about playing a card, it's about trying to do better this time, to participate in a market instead of killing a market.
I want to see a space that's safe for individual software developers to enter without fear. Today we almost have such a space. But unless we make it brain-dead easy for users to move their data where ever they want, not where we will permit, then we have done nothing more than set up another industry to be dominated by a few big fear-inspiring companies.
Today none of the players are that big. I am not scared of Google, frankly I'm not even very impressed by Google these days. But I am wearing a Google T-shirt right now (ask my colleagues at Berkman). I still want to work with Google, but we're going to have to do a lot better at this working-together thing.
Blogger's dinner tonight in Cambridge.
Paul Boutin: Wi-Fi for Dummies.
BlogStreet: Blog Post Analysis.
Donna Wentworth is blogging today's sessions.
Pictures from the Jupiter weblogs conference.
Dan Bricklin's pictures.
Today I have a net connection in the conference hall. As Doc notes, the hotel network system has been very very flaky. If you're blogging it, send me an email. Jason Shellen from Google (Blogger) presented earlier.He says this weblog will get passed around the blogging world. Okay, let's see. On an internal weblog at Google, stories about how Google saved my dog. They're thinking about a Blogger appliance along the lines of the Google appliance. "We don't have product plans here yet," says Shellen.
Denise posts on Doc's blog an answer to a question Halley asked at the previous session.
My next keynote is in the valley of the shadow of Microsoft, July 10 in Portland, OR, to be followed by a summer tour of northern California, with pics, dinners and parties.
Kevin Werbach figures that he will get a quarter million spams this year.
Thomas Burg: Weblogs als Business Anwendung.
I met the proprietor of EasyJournal. He says there's a killer viral feature to the software. What is it? He says use it to find out.
Movable Type users, predictably flame me for advocating a time-tested way of evolving software, explained by Don Park. In so many ways we're hitting the reset button on old practices that worked. Embrace & Extend is respectful. Eventually SixApart will want the respect, when an upstart (or an old fart) implements something called Trackback that doesn't work with theirs. Users, of course, don't have to understand this. But that doesn't mean it isn't relevant. And one day it would be great if vendors asked their users not to flame their critics or competitors. One can hope.
This subject came up yesterday at the Jupiter conference, about transparent companies, and how that relates to weblogs. Now understand that I do not today work at UserLand, but of course I am influential there. Weblogs, it seems, are somewhat about companies speaking their truth. Some bloggers, esp Kottke, don't get this. He often jumps on me for saying what I think. Jason, listen up. I'm supposed to say what I think. That's what weblogs are about.
People talk about reasons to have a weblog, how will you measure its success. I wanted to say You'll know when it works, you won't need numbers. You'll get an idea you wouldn't have otherwise gotten. A business contact. A bug report. An old friend finds you. You get a job. You hire someone. You get an answer to a question. These are the benefits of running a weblog. There are others, more surprising. I quit smoking -- I get support from people who read my weblog. Even better, I inspire a few others to stop smoking. It can be so gratifying (that is, inspiring gratitude).
People talk about elusive What Is A Weblog? question, and I clearly didn't do my job very well. I was supposed to answer that question. I wrote a paper (still have to finish and publish it) that tries to answer the question.
Glenn Reynolds: "It would be child's play to take RSS feeds from a number of weblogs, filter them to extract the references to stories in the Times, and then have an ombudsman look at those references to see if correction, amplification, or investigation is called for." Amen.
Denise Howell blogged my keynote. It went pretty well. My closing line, delivered by accident (I didn't know it would be the closing line) was good enough to be a Scripting News motto. First a canned line. "Idealism is okay. Don't knock it if you haven't tried it." And then the killer. "Idealism has practical real-world applications."
A topic exchange channel for the conference I'm at.
Yule Heibel accepted my invite to define Open Studios. Check out the comments. Give it some thought and be creative yourself, unless you actually know what it was about (May 18 and 19) then you must share.
Technorati keyword search. "As far as I know, this is the most comprehensive, most quickly updated weblog search engine with over 360,000 blogs covered and indexes rebuilt every couple of hours," says David Sifry, developer of Technorati."
At dinner with Doc and Halley last night, Doc said something like this. "We'll always read the NY Times." I cringed. I said that people probably once said "We'll always take trains from LA to NY." Sometimes technology brings about big shifts. Maybe the whole idea of a "news organization" doesn't make sense. One thing's for sure, the Times is struggling, right now, with it's core mission. I don't think it's an accident that's happening in 2003. While some forms of communication survive basic sea-change transitions, as radio survived TV, some don't, like newsreels. Then Doc being Doc, said they actually still used newsreels when he was in school. I wonder what that was like, I'm only a few years younger, and they were gone by the time I came along. Someone probably said "We'll always get our news from MovieTone." Those statements are comfortable. Don't mistake comfort for truth.
Col Jessup: "You can't handle the truth."
Last night Doc and I went downstairs to check out the room. It's perfectly awful. Flourescent lighting. The stage seems miles from the audience. Audience. Oooops. This is a blogging conference. Maybe the first question to answer, before What Are Weblogs? is What Is A Blogging Conference? Wouldn't it be more fun to have it in an arboretum? Hey, how about we begin with a demo of listening? We talked about that last night too, how hard it is to just listen.
Paul Boutin: Slammed! "An inside view of the worm that crashed the Internet in 15 minutes."
Denise Howell posts interview transcripts for Ted Leonsis, Mark Cuban, Terry Semel, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Today's hike was at the Arnold Arboretum.
The agenda for tomorrow's conference.
Doc arrives in Boston. At 4PM I've arrived at the Sheraton, going down to the bar for drinks with Doc and Halley.
The Sunday Times (London) gives credit to bloggers for bringing down the Times (New York) executive editor and managing editor. They also say the young screwed up reporter who stayed home while pretending to cover the stories he was assigned was doing cocaine.
I read a piece yesterday about SixApart and their standards compliance. Interesting, but they do RSS in a funky way. I guess they are picky about which standards they support and how. They respect the W3C, but they don't respect RSS.
My opinion of course (but then I co-designed RSS). They wouldn't like it if UserLand or Blogger or someone else played funky games with their creation, Trackback. Maybe they would. They haven't responded to the piece I wrote about this.
Tim Berners-Lee isn't the only one working for a better tomorrow (through recommendations btw, not standards). And some would argue that TBL's vision is unattainable. (I am one of those people.) What SixApart really should say is that they're following TBL's roadmap. It's a stretch to call that "standards."
I wish they'd take the high road and focus on features and performance, and not polarize the users about interop, which is something not to be competitive about, but to help each other about. It gets nasty when people bring commercial interests into this stuff.
Yes I did. People who say otherwise should be asked to substantiate their claim or withdraw it. If they work for the W3C, I am told by other people at the W3C, they should say whether they speak for the W3C or themselves.
It does not matter if there was prior art, such as CDF or MCF. It also does not matter that I experimented with them. I don't claim to be the exclusive designer of RSS, co-design credit goes to several people at Netscape, not just Libby and Guha, who are the only ones who have spoken since Netscape disappeared.
The evidence is clear in the difference between 0.90 and 0.91. Most of the new features came from scriptingNews format, which predates Netscape's work by over a year. Netscape acknowledged our contribution. We stopped working on our format and threw our weight behind the joint format, RSS 0.91. If others want to spin it some other way, that's a problem, of course, but it doesn't change what actually happened.
Now, does this give me ownership of RSS? Of course not. The copyright notice on UserLand's RSS spec specifically disclaims ownership in the format, while retaining a copyright on the spec. I don't own it any more than Evan owns the common API we use, or Ben and Mena own the Trackback protocol.
RSS could get very simple if it weren't for some relative newcomers who want to keep it from being simple, for reasons known only to them. That Movable Type uses this as a competitive tool is totally wrong. I can't believe that if they understood how this happened that they would be doing what they're doing.
NY Times: "Forty-three million Americans -- half of those who connected to the Internet -- used file-sharing software last month."
The crib sheet for my talk on Monday is starting to come together.
Philip G, the proto-blogger, is back.
Interesting data shows up when Daypop's filters are broken, as they are right now.
Pito Salas: "Now that I installed Radio, I find myself strangely tempted to start writing."
Mitch Kapor is switching to Mozilla.
The Planetwork conference in San Francisco sounds great. Wish I could have been there.
Chris Lydon: "If half of New York believed that that Martha Stewart was the Mets' shortstop, The Times would not only set us straight, it would inquire how the misconception arose, even ask if their pages had contributed to it."
Tell the story of Open Studios, May 18-19.
It's worth a mention that it's 358 days since I had a cigarette. I still smoke in my dreams, I still deal with the hypocrisy of wanting to live and actively killing myself. But in the waking world I am a non-smoker. In seven days it will be one year since I had the rush of nicotine flowing through my blood. I still want one, at some level. But when I check into a hotel and they ask "Smoking or non-smoking?" I say "Non-smoking" and feel a touch of pride in that.
George Ziemann: Thomas Edison, Intellectual Property and the Recording Industry.
Three years ago today, I released UserLand's RSS 0.91 spec, with comments on Scripting News. I intended it to be a baseline for collaboration among content developers and CMS developers and people working on aggregators. "RSS 0.91 was a major traffic accident that turned out pretty well."
Last week a culture of no-flames seems to have taken root in the RSS community. Credit is due to Sam Ruby, for having the guts to stand up to the flamers, all of them, on equal terms. It was interesting to see how he got there. He was trying to be balanced, then he noticed something that few people had noticed before (I had but it didn't matter because the flames are generally aimed at me). Here's what Sam noticed. Most people weren't flaming, and those who were generally responded positively when asked to stop. Only a small number of people insist on their right to flame. That's where the bug is, and always has, been. Personal statements about other people are not appropriate in a technical discussion. There's no point discussing it, they're just simply not appropriate.
In a perfect world, every person in an organization would have a public weblog and would use it professionally to communicate within the organization (privately) and outside the organization and everyone could be confident that every person would use the new technology properly and with due respect for the organization. Of course it doesn't work this way, and there's not much difference between weblogs and other communication technology, such as the telephone, email, instant messaging, etc. The employer must maintain a certain level of control over what's said on behalf of the company. Example, an employee who encourages potential customers to use a competitive product, even where your product is better, no matter what the medium of communication, has limited career options.
If I were starting a new company in 2003, I would put in the charter that, in addition to whatever else my company did, the new company would be a publication. I'd hire an editor in chief, parallel to the CFO and CTO. This person's charter would be to cover the company, much the same way the editor of the San Jose Mercury News covers Silicon Valley. There is a built-in conflict of interest. The editor of the Merc has an interest in the success of the Valley, as the editor of the Boston Globe is a fan of Boston. It's okay if the Merc editor roots for the Sharks, and it's okay for the editor fo the Globe to root for the Red Sox. But even if there's bad news for the Valley or for Boston, you expect them to cover it, although you might look to the Merc for bad news about Boston, and vice versa, just to triangulate.
In my recent talks with the Times, I briefly suggested what I think is an important idea that bears more exposure. Whenever I've been covered in the Times, or some other big publication, I've often wanted to add more to the story, or correct something. In the future, I have no doubt that informed readers will expect businesses to run their own news services to refute coverage elsewhere, and that more and more the intermediaries, the professional pubs, will be factored out. I'm sure there are other examples of services that used to be centralized that become decentralized when technology permits.
John Naughton wrote in the Sunday Observer (UK) on June 1: "When it comes to many topics in which I have a professional interest, I would sooner pay attention to particular blogs than to anything published in Big Media -- including the venerable New York Times. This is not necessarily because journalists are idiots; it's just that serious subjects are complicated and hacks have neither the training nor the time to reach a sophisticated understanding of them -- which is why much journalistic coverage is inevitably superficial and often misleading, and why so many blogs are thoughtful and accurate by comparison."
I gave Naughton some grief for repeating oft-repeated themes on Scripting News, but seriously it makes my skin tingle to read that in the Guardian. Yes, we have the experts "out here" in Amateur-Land. And there's no doubt that over time more of them will be speaking.
Preview: New York Times Archive and Weblogs.
Report from indy music meeting with Steve Jobs.
Zawodny: Yahoo! Buzz RSS Feeds.
Nick Denton: "Webloggers are built for the marathon."
On May 25, a rainy day in Cambridge, I took a walk with my camera taking pics of houses, including Robert Frost's house. I finally got a bit of time to sort and upload the photos.
Mark your calendars, Tuesday 7PM, The Bombay Club, Cambridge. Doc Searls will be there, so will I and Denise Howell, who is pregnant. She writes: "You will want to bring some form of weaponry to keep me from polishing off your plates when you're not looking." Funny, the first time I read that I thought she said she would polish my plate.
Wired: iTunes Music Swap Just Won't Die.
On this day in 1999 I was working on new features for the My.UserLand aggregator.
How about a nice come-as-you-are blogger's dinner in Cambridge on Tuesday? I suggest Indian food, my current obsession, at The Bombay Club in Harvard Square. The lovely and famous Denise Howell will be my co-host. 7PM?
News.Com reports on patent battles in file-sharing-land.
JY marries SMBmeta and OPML to make a nice directory.
NY Times: "Howell Raines and Gerald M. Boyd, the two top-ranking editors of The New York Times, resigned this morning, five weeks to the day after the resignation of a wayward reporter named Jayson Blair set off a rapid chain of events that exposed deep fissures in the management and morale of the newsroom they had led for just under two years."
Christian Science Monitor: "Journalism's Old Gray Lady has been rocked again."
Reminder, we will not have the usual Thursday evening weblog-writer session at Berkman tonight. The reason, graduation. We will resume next Thursday evening at 7PM.
2 years ago: "The trunk is for dead things. We want to live."
Wired: Gag Rules? Bloggers Report Anyway. Great quotes from Walt Mossberg. These guys are so in denial on weblogs, we've been reporting from conferences since the mid-90s. Only now are the big guys starting to face the questions they raise. How long will it take Mossberg and his pals to figure out that an intelligent person with a weblog is a reporter.
A Mark Pilgrim rant about an old man named Howard inspires Don Park to eloquence. "Elders are no different than you and I," says Don. "They are experiencing that age for the first time just like the way I am experiencing the age of 41 for the first time." Mark's rant is old age viewed through a young person's eye. I had the same thoughts when I was Mark's age, but I didn't dare say them out loud. The good news is that as you grow older you learn to accept the limits of age. There's not as much to fear as you think when you are young. My father, about Howard's age, is a great teacher. He's a much sweeter person for having faced real death struggles twice in the last three years. My last image as I left his house yesterday was of him shuffling off to the dentist's office. This is a man who used to swing when he walks. Now he's a little old man who pauses to catch whatever it is that he needs to catch. He's a nicer person to hang out with today than he ever has been.
The CALI conference for Law School Computing, June 19-21 at Duke Law School is doing some very interesting stuff with weblogs. Wish I could attend. Twist my arm.
Don Park: "I am not a conference person."
Weblogs.Com is in high water territory today, the first time since April 7.
News.Com: Palm to acquire rival Handspring.
Have a great vacation Wendy.
I started a new section of the RSS directory for feeds and tools that support the 2.0 format. It's just a beginning, I'm sure this branch of the directory will grow quite fat over time.
Last year on this day I started work on My Weblog Outliner tool. I gotta get back to work on that soon. It's a good thing. Outlining for Movable Type users.
Seems they don't appreciate a newbie in Bahsten.
Mark Pilgrim took the words right out of my mouth. Smart guy. When XML came out, the hype was that we'd all be able to design our own vocabularies. Fool that I am I believed them, and did so. Later the W3C corrected our format and made a huge mess of things. Now they say the same thing about RDF. Make as many vocabularies as you want (now they call them ontologies). I have a funny feeling you can't trust them this time either.
One year ago today: Weblog Neighborhoods.
A list of neighborhoods, based on subscription lists.
Brent's law of wikis.
Reclaim the public domain petition.
Yeah Bill, they are idiots.
Wired News on yesterday's FCC decision.
Karlin reminds of the Irish bloggers get-together in Dublin tonight.
Halley comments on Cape Cod. Isn't that funny, I was thinking about heading there next. In Boston they would pronounce the name of the place Cad, with a tiny hint of a W between the A and the D.
This Thursday evening there will be no weblog-writers discussion at Berkman. The reason: Graduation is Thursday, and it's going to be hard to get around Cambridge. We will resume on the following Thursday, June 12.
Pictures from my NY Times visit.
I got a tour of the NY Times news room today from Martin Nisenholtz the CEO of NY Times Digital, and Michael Oreskes, Assistant Managing Editor for Electronic News. We also concluded our discussion about the Times archive, we found a good compromise, the archive will remain open to people who link from weblogs, but they will keep the toll booth up for others. We have to hammer out a final statement, which I expect to have in a few days.
Chronicle of Higher Education: Scholars Who Blog.
BBC: "If you find an e-mail from Bill Gates in your inbox, the chances are that the message is a computer virus."
A couple of hecklers interfered with the end of my OSCOM keynote, so I didn't get to finish the thought. No problem, I just wrote up the idea and a way to implement it.
Amazingly, Glenn Reynolds is still covering the war. Seems like an exercise in futility. In its aftermath, of what use were the warbloggers. A lot of punditry, a lot of furor and outrage, quite a few flames, but what did they actually do other than act important. They got no stories, no new data, they didn't balance the press, which reported the war as if the US was a petty Third World dictatorship. They didn't even out the press. Pheh.
Last year on this day: The Googlish way to do Directories.
Joel Spolsky: "Now with a good code base to build upon, Firebird is likely to soar past IE in functionality and performance."
Microdoc News: What will it take to topple Google?
News.Com: Microsoft to abandon standalone IE. This means that to get a new version of the browser you'll have to install a new version of the operating system? Also, what about the Mac version of IE? Again, Web developers never asked to be Microsoft developers, now they think we should be Windows developers. Oy.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.