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Permanent link to archive for Sunday, June 29, 2003. Sunday, June 29, 2003

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. 

Coool statue of Saddam Hussein.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.  

I'll B.O.G.U. for Blogger 

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.


Last update: Thursday, July 03, 2003 at 7:02 AM Eastern.

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