DaveNet: Chris Lydon's weblog for the ears.
Today's song: "You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant."
I just got the artwork for the BloggerCon invite from Bryan. The front looks so awesome I can't believe how cool it looks. Of course now I see I have a bunch of work to do on the text for the back. It's supposed to be loose, but not that loose. Heh. Also, to be sure you get an invite, sign up for membership on the BloggerCon site and say Yes to receiving bulletins. That's a guaranteed way to get an invite.
RSS Magic for .NET "provides developers an easy way to download, read, write, and manipulate RSS data."
Don Park: "I consider XHTML to be the centerfold geeks are masturbating to. I am a geek too and find XHTML to be sexy enough to ogle. But I don't expect it to cook my dinner nor raise my children."
All day today all everyone wanted to know -- what happened to Halley, what happened to Halley. Well who knows but Hal, but at least the girl is back online. No new comments. The world waits, with baited breath.
On this day two years ago O'Reilly Associates lost one of its own to a heart attack. Sad day. Life is precious. Honor it always.
Jenny: "I can't print most of the adjectives I'm using in my mind to describe these weasels for fear of blocking my site from library terminals that are being forced to filter content."
Dan Gillmor: "Erica Derr, a North Carolina woman, has donated her $400 tax rebate to the Howard Dean presidential campaign."
Josh Marshall, one of the BloggerCon presenters, is looking for an intern to help with his weblog.
Chris Lydon interviews the Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds.
Inc Magazine has a new RSS 2.0 feed.
Custom RSS feeds from Adrian Holvaty.
John Robb: "While I appreciate what Dean has been able to do with the Web, my gut is telling me that in five years, Karl Rove and the Republican political machine will turn this same collection of technologies into something to be feared."
Computerworld: "A Rolling Stones concert today in Toronto will be made possible in part thanks to wireless technologies, according to Todd Griffith, IT specialist for the band."
Schpiels like this make Larry Lessig one of my heroes. And it's curious that Stanford made him move his site off campus because a Presidential candidate was a guest. Would they invite a candidate to speak in a Stanford auditorium? Would people understand that there's no endorsement implied or would there be? What if the offer were made on equal terms to all candidates, would that make a difference?
On this day three years ago: "A lot of people assume we're rolling in dough, and we're not. That's one of the reasons I like that the music industry is bringing money into the discussion."
DaveNet: Rolling Stone supports RSS 2.0.
Today's piece is getting some great newbie questions so I started a FAQ page.
Onfocus: "Several people have mentioned that it would be nice to show the newest products in the Amazon RSS feeds rather than the top-selling products. There's a quick hack to make this happen."
Essay: What changed with RSS?
WSJ: "Most people want to be up on the latest trends."
6/11/00: "One day the trend may be trend-free."
Thanks to Jenny for the link to How to Create an RSS Feed With Notepad, a Web Server, and a Beer by Stephen Downes. I linked it into the howtos section in the directory.
Adam Curry: "Can you name this rock superstar whose band sold millions of albums in the 70s, 80s and 90s?"
Mike Walsh: "I figure Chris and I probably could ask three questions apiece at each event before they throw us out."
Chris Lydon interviews Steve Kinzer of the NY Times. "It is not far-fetched," he concludes, "to draw a line from Operation Ajaz through the Shah's repressive regime and the Islamic Revolution to the fireballs that engulfed the World Trade Center in New York."
Matthew Thomas: How to recognize a Weblog tool by its permalinks.
Manila beta feature, see a whole month of posts in the archive, or if you're really brave, a whole year.
Newsweek: "Senator Hatch hasnít yet codified his Dr. Strangelovean no-due-process piracy antidote into upcoming legislation."
Paul Stacey: "Its been quite a while since a technology 'blew me away' but last Friday I had one of those Eureka moments while riding the bus from downtown Vancouver to White Rock where I live -- all because of RSS feeds & blogs."
Chris Lydon interviews Elaine Scarry.
Heads-up, I'm working on the long-delayed unified spec for the MetaWeblog API. It's been documented in layers across several pages on the XML-RPC site. The goal is to have a spec-on-one-page that explains its design, how it works, and links to prior art.
Hmm. "Raised as a Norwegian girl for the first ten years of his life."
Clay Shirky: "It doesn't matter if the Wifi backchannel is a bad idea; it's not going away."
Nelson Minar: "Gnomedex was great. I enjoyed having WiFi access during the conference despite my discomfort with people paying more attention to computers than people at meetings."
BBC: "A week without e-mail is more traumatic than moving house or getting divorced, say techies."
Joe Firmage: "What we are trying to build here is the PBS of the Web."
Last year on this day: "If you've never smoked you have no idea how weird it is."
Caveat. In the piece pointed to above, the target of the link has redirected it so it points back at the Scripting News archive. It's horribly confusing, and not good practice (and what's the point anyway). But there's nothing I can do about it. Onward.
Two years ago: "If you want a clue Mr. Moose.."
DaveNet: Berkman Hosts RSS 2.0 spec.
News.Com: "The [RIAA] said Monday that Mitch Bainwol, former chief of staff to US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, will replace Rosen at the RIAA's helm."
Onfocus: Amazon RSS Feed Builder.
Vincent Canby: "Unlike most comedians who rose to success in the first decades of the century, Mr. Hope employed no special trick of speech, clothing or pantomime. His character, while essentially clean-cut, was that of a fast-talking wise-guy, a quaking braggart, an appealing heel with a harmless leer and a ready one-liner."
Boston Globe: "While keeping details shrouded in secrecy, organizers of Boston's first flash mob planned to convene near Harvard Square at 6PM next Thursday for the stunt."
Thomas Creedon has PNG working in Manila.
Excellent Radio fact sheet from Marc Barrot. Last year. Must've missed it. Insightful.
Tim Gray has a question about generating RSS 2.0 dynamically with PHP.
News.Com: "In a win over rival Google, Overture Services said Monday that Net publisher Knight Ridder Digital will use its search services for one year."
Andrew Grumet: "In the middle-late 90s I would sometimes listen to a radio show called The Connection. At the time I remember thinking, this show is too good."
Builder.Com: "XML-RPC is a simple, stable, and well-understood specification. Itís not a moving target like so many other Web service specifications. It also has longevity, because the only things that it depends on are technologies such as HTTP and XML, and basic programming constructs such as arrays, structures, and scalars. None of those things is going away any time soon. And since everything related to XML-RPC is freely available and downloadable, you can have a Web service up and running in a single afternoon."
AlwaysOn interviews venture capitalist Vinod Kholsa.
NY Times: "A blizzard of recording-industry subpoenas seeking the identities of music swappers is provoking fear and anger and professions of remorse as the targets of the antipiracy dragnet learn that they may soon be sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages."
RSS feeds from the Net.Law weblog: Cornell Law School has two feeds for US Supreme Court decisions, one for recent decisions, and one longer term. The American Bar Assoc has a feed for its Law Practice Today magazine.
I just finished Moneyball. Fascinating premise -- baseball insiders are idiots. They spend money to buy speed and drama, but money doesn't buy wins, and wins are what get you into postseason play. Instead, Oakland general manager Billy Beane hired a number-crunching Harvard grad who had never played the game, and together with information harvested by irascible pundits and fans, reinvented baseball science and then economics, with stunning results. As in the software industry, conventional wisdom that money buys power, was only true if you believed it to be true. Games were actually won by taking pitches, getting walked, not sacrificing, and resisting steal attempts. Defense matters much less than getting on base. Personal computers and then the Internet made all the difference.
We have a sub-directory containing articles and howtos on RSS 2.0. If you're looking for independent opinion, or a tutorial, this is the place to look. As always, you can suggest-a-link to have an article included in this directory. And if you want to include this directory in your directory, you can, with our blessing. It's also available in OPML.
BBC: "Lance Armstrong claims his fifth consecutive Tour de France."
NY Times: "The number of organ donations from the living surpassed those from the dead, and has for the past two years."
Greenspun: "Is it time to accept Bill Gates as my personal savior?"
Gary Burd explains how Amazon's RSS feeds work.
Rory Blyth generates Amazon RSS feeds, with a great browser-based user interface, no SDK.
NY Times review of Gary Wolf's book about Wired Magazine.
Marvin Minsky: "I hate lying on the beach -- it's worse than prison for me."
Crimson: Harvard to House Blog Standards.
Charles Cooper: "Instead of opting for a proprietary land grab, a company that was an RSS tools builder freely gave up its guardianship to a nonprofit trust." Thanks!
Jake: "We haven't been able to get Radio to register incoming TrackBack pings from a Movable Type site."
Scott Rosenberg: "The only thing I could reasonably predict, going into this project, was how thoroughly unpredictable the range of bloggers and blogging would be."
Roger Benningfield: XML-RPC for Cold Fusion.
Deane asks if readers should strip styling from RSS items.
RFC: "Shall we run an experiment is to see if aggregators can work with RSS feeds that have a xmlns attribute at the top level, on the rss element?"
BBC: "A US music industry crackdown on internet music 'pirates' has sent subpoenas to allegedly unwitting parents and grandparents, court documents have shown."
A possible performance boost for Manila servers. Not for the faint of heart.
We had one of the best Thursday meetings ever. Quite a few newbies, so we spent much of the time with demos and Q&A, including text wrapping around pictures, permalinks, the difference between stories and newsitems. Chris Lydon and Bob Doyle explained how Blogradio works; Biz Stone was there from Wellesley, Wendy and I talked about BloggerCon. We talked about a cooperative cross-university site with case studies promoting weblog use in education. Lots of other good stuff. If you're in the Boston area, please come some Thursday. If you're an experienced geek or a total newbie, ages 9 to 90, it's fun for the whole family!
Cringely: Son of Napster.
Jim Moore notes that presidential politics is played with chump change. Bush will raise $200 million to control a budget of $1.7 trillion. That's leverage!
Deane Barker: "Here's an idea that credit card companies should implement: a RSS feed of your credit purchases."
Chris Lydon interviews David Sifry, developer of Technorati.
Trawling for ideas for the technology panel at BloggerCon.
BloggerCon has a logo, designed by Bryan Bell, of course.
Mike Walsh would like Chris to interview some non-bloggers. Reading Mike's site, I now understand why some people find Scripting News a bit brash even in their face. I could say "Here's why Mike's weblog is a failure" or "How Mike could do better with his weblog." Mike would probably say it the first way. So would l. Why? It sells more papers. If you want people to click, say something provocative. If you want to blend into the crowd, say the same thing politely.
NY Times: "Enabling wireless technology in university auditoriums has led to a back channel of communication for students to reveal their thoughts."
Ray Ozzie: "WiFi sniffing is easy to do, it is commonly done, and the real question is at what point will someone do real damage by using what they sniff, and when will this be brought to the public's eye by the courts or by Congress?"
David Galbraith: "RSS is a winning meme, people outside of the grass roots weblog are starting to talk about and use it and RSS 2.0 passes the good enough test (with a couple of tweaks imho) for applications beyond headline syndication."
Essay: What changed with RSS?
Last year on this day: "Silent signs of progress."
DaveNet: On Beauty in Women.
Happiness is a new RSS application from Wired News.
Jake has the second half of Trackback working for Radio, or so he thinks. Please help him test it by pinging this post.
Dan Gillmor: Voting machines need paper trails.
Boston Globe: Blogs shake the political discourse.
NY Times: "The service seeks to capitalize on the popularity of iTunes, the music service that Apple Computer introduced in April."
Excellent Jeff Jarvis piece about editors. I got the pointer from Scoble, who astutely points out that even in the weblog world we have editors, they just don't pay us as well as the ones in the print world.
At the end of the Jarvis piece he says: "And if I'm wrong, you'll tell me. For you are my editor." I used to say things like that, but it's naive, don't give up your power Jeff, they'll grind you to a pulp and leave you for dead. No editors, and that's an absolute, as far as I'm concerned.
Look at the comments on the Andrew Grumet post I pointed to last night, if Jarvis is right these are Andrew's editors. One says UserLand was a BigCo, the only one in RSS space. Another poster says that the world is more complicated than Dave says it is, but doesn't explain how.
We often wax poetic about how much better it will be when we wrest control from the ink-stained dinosaurs, but when we replace them with people whose main qualification is that they have a laptop and net connection, have we actually accomplished anything?
Chris Lydon interviews Doc Searls.
Andrew Grumet: "The newcomers are big enough to hire people whose full time job is to argue with you until you run out of energy to fight. And to hire still more people whose full time job is to make the protocols so complicated that only other BigCo's can afford to support them."
Dave Rogers: RSS, Tinderbox and Your Calendar.
Bob Doyle has video of various sessions at OSCOM, May this year, at Harvard.
NY Times: "The deaths of Saddam Hussein's two eldest sons in a battle with American troops in northern Iraq could be an important victory in the campaign to control, and even end, the guerrilla-style insurgency that has almost daily killed or injured allied troops."
Two years ago: "I feel unloved. I'm going into my cave now."
New! -- the invasion of LiveJournal users on Weblogs.Com. Sounds like a new sitcom on Fox. It's only 8AM in Calif, and it just hit a new high water mark, replacing one that's stood since early April. Starring Kiefer Sutherland.
I'll be back in Boston late tonight, with a full day to recover from jet lag and then we resume our Thursday night madness at Berkman Center. Chris Lydon will bring a question about permalinks, and maybe do a demo of the portable Blogradio Studio. Mike Walsh will bring his newbie questions, and will get them answered (maybe by Chris). We'll talk about weblogs at MIT, and ask whatever happened to Biz Stone at Wellesley? Wendy will update on BloggerCon and Vernica will laugh about the sad Beatles. 7PM Thursday.
I read on Michael Gartenberg's weblog that AOL's weblogs were really nice and simple and slick, so I thought, let's see if I can create one too. So I entered my screen name and password, okay so far, but you have to be an AOL member to create a weblog. There's a trial period of 45 days in which you get 1045 free hours. That's 23 hours per day. But get this, after that it's $23.90 per month. That's pretty hefty considering that all I want to do is run a weblog. For the first year that would be approx $264. I can get a blogspot blog for $0.
openDOOR interview with Cameron Marlow, Blogdex guy, MIT alum, on weblogs.
News.Com: "Sprint PCS and AT&T Wireless are negotiating whether to let each other's Wi-Fi subscribers roam between their two networks."
Bob Doyle's Blogradio Studio in its portable case.
BBC: A blog for everyone.
NY Times: "Amazon.com is negotiating with book publishers to assemble a searchable online archive with the texts of thousands of nonfiction books."
Markoff: "Mr. Wozniak described WozNet as a simple and inexpensive wireless network that uses radio signals and global positioning satellite data to keep track of a cluster of inexpensive tags within a one- or two-mile radius of each base station."
Three years ago today: "I was searching for a symphony by Charles Ives, and instead I found folk songs by Burl Ives."
Four years ago today: "It's as if Steve Jobs read my mind."
There was some confusion about Trackback in Radio. There's a common bit between Frontier and Radio, apps.trackback. The part was released for Radio, with no explanation. Not cool. So the next thing on Jake's to-do list is to complete the implementation of Trackback for Radio (it's already released for Manila, here's my test post). Last night he released a test version of the easy half. The other side isn't that hard, but it's more difficult than Manila because Radio is not a publicly accessible Internet app, it runs on the desktop.
After that, Jake is going to review how Manila supports RSS (there are some glitches, as reported by Mark Pilgrim) and add a feature that allows per-category feeds (Manila calls them departments). It was good to see Jake. We're going to meet again today to keep the conversation going.
I spoke with Jon Udell yesterday to recap the last few days of excitement in RSS space. We talked about a lot of things, among them that we'd like to respond to some questions that have come our way.
1. How to interpret relative URLs in RSS feeds.
2. A new namespace that replaces the channel-level elements: webMaster and managingEditor, and item-level author, that allows identifiers other than email addresses.
3. A call for a community process for testing aggregators to see if they can handle feeds with xmlns attributes. If so, we'll add a comment to the RSS spec describing the experiment and saying it worked, and recommending to aggregator developers that they accept these attributes. This would allow RSS elements to appear in other formats, such as SOAP and SVG.
There are other questions out there, but it seems reasonable to start with these three frequently raised issues.
Barney Lerten: "As someone who writes local news full-time for the Internet, I have high hopes for news aggregators, blogs and RSS."
Betsy Devine: "Julia Child brought French cooking to American TV."
Steve Hooker: "A tool to make a Backlog RSS file of all the posts that went to your front page." Radio.
Today's movie with the Scobles. Harmless, fun, intelligent ending. The good guys win.
Tim Bray is setting me up as his fool again (and again no pointer). How rude. Locked trunks can be gotten out of. Houdini did it. Netscape led us out, in 1994, but didn't stick around to finish the job. Google had promise for a while, but the promise is fading. Microsoft-free Fridays were a response to Smart Tags, which will come back (probably in Longhorn) Allchin promises. Then people will be outraged, again, but will it matter? In the meantime every user who switches to a modern non-Microsoft browser is doing us all a favor and should have our thanks. And to be honest, the reason I'm rambling so long here is so I have enough space to include yet another cool Bryan Bell graphic on Scripting News today.
At last night's dinner, which was a lot of fun, Marc Canter said that a lot of people don't know that RSS 2.0 is extensible. They think it can't evolve without changing the spec. He said I should do something to correct the misunderstanding. I agree. So here's a list of modules that extend RSS 2.0. In a way it's like the list of implementations for XML-RPC or SOAP. The larger and more diverse the list of extensions, the richer the environment. The authors of these modules claim that their namespaces work with RSS 2.0. As with the XML-RPC implementations, as new modules come online I'll keep you posted so you can watch it grow.
Spoke with Phil Wolff, who's interested in how RSS scales; a topic we should really work on. We'll need a flame-free environment to do that. It's the perennial problem. Micah Alpern, who just took a job at eBay, wants to be able to blog to his eBay catalog. Makes total sense. There were two kids, my good friend Patrick Scoble (we're going to a movie this afternoon, yippee) and Mimi Canter, who's a real cutie and stole my straw.
Happiness is a new Bryan Bell graphic.
John Palfrey: "Why is the Berkman Center involved in this matter?" John is Executive Director of Berkman.
UserLand: Trackback for Manila. Released.
Register: "The [RIAA] confirmed that it was serving subpoenas at the rate of 75 a day."
An open letter to Dan Gillmor. "I appreciate that Dan, who is not a technical person, feels entitled to an opinion about RSS."
Do you know of RSS 2.0-compatible modules?
Happiness is a new Chris Lydon interview; this time with North Carolina weblog opinioneer, Ed Cone.
I checked in with Chris yesterday. He asked me for a one-word headline for all the news about RSS. I gave it a moment's thought and said: Hope.
Tonight's dinner with Scoble: Premier Pizza. 7PM. Scoble's directions from 101. Exit Montague Expressway. Left on Agnew. Right into Safeway parking lot. Look around for Premier Pizza.
Scott Johnson: "Feedster now understands CC syntax."
Greenspun: "Are you sure that you want to overwrite all the most critical files on this machine?"
ComputerWorld: "Users this week reacted with a mixture of concern and resignation to the discovery of a critical flaw in almost all versions of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows software, including the Windows Server 2003 operating system."
Chris Pirillo: "Expect to hear a lot about RSS at Gnomedex."
Shrook lets you "keep up to date with your favourite websites via a fast growing web technology called RSS."
Radio Keola: "I lack the technical acumen to comment on the merits and shortcomings of RSS and Echo/Atom." Major disconnect. Keola, insist on having it make sense to you.
Chris Heilman: "I worry that Echo may already be owned by some big company."
Last year on this day: "Whether I go back to work in the same way I did before, or choose to chart a new course, remains to be seen." I did both. How about that.
BTW, as the title says, today is the 400th consecutive day of Dave the smoker who doesn't smoke. Sometimes the days aren't any easier. Being in Silicon Valley is tough, because I keep running into places and situations where I smoked in my former life. Moving to Boston was a good idea from that standpoint. All new places, not as many triggers. On the other hand my lungs are very sensitive to smoke. Even though I still have cravings, I doubt if I could smoke without collapsing in a coughing fit. Good protection.
There was some confusing language in the announcement that I'd like to try to clear up. When we said we are independent, we meant independent of Berkman. You and a couple of your friends could start an advisory board and have no more or less authority than the one we started. Second, we wish to advise people who use RSS. We are not, in any way, advising Berkman, Harvard Law School or Harvard University.
Dan Gillmor: "RSS is absolutely vital. It must be flexible enough for the aggregator creators to adopt in their own innovative ways. It must be kept out of the hands of corporate monopolists and would-be monopolists."
Pat Rock: "I just can't tell you how cool this is."
Tristan Louis: Extending the Olive Branch.
Chuq von Rospach: "My support and $3 will buy you a Frap at Starbucks."
Morbus Iff: "Bravisimo."
There's lots of movement with RSS to announce today.
1. On Tuesday, July 15, UserLand Software transferred its copyright in the RSS 2.0 spec to Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. This addresses one of the major concerns about RSS 2.0, that it was published by one of the competitors in the RSS application space. That no longer is true.
2. The spec is licensed under terms that allow it to be customized, excerpted and republished, using the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike license. So Berkman is basically acting as a distributor for the technology. We hope that this will inspire new profiles that extend RSS so it can meet the needs of diverse applications.
3. Since UserLand specifically disclaimed ownership of the format that the specification describes, no transfer took place on the format itself.
4. An independent advisory board has been formed to promote the wider use of RSS, to maintain the spec according to the roadmap, and to remove one of the major objections, that only UserLand could answer questions about RSS. The three-member board votes, the majority rules. The three board members are Brent Simmons, Jon Udell and Dave Winer.
5. The first task for the advisory board is to carefully review the RSS 2.0 specification in its new context. Quite a few documents moved, there probably are broken links. Help from the community is requested.
6. A place for comments, questions and suggestions.
Saturday night pizza with Scoble in Silicon Valley.
News.Com: "Yahoo's acquisition of Overture Services could give it some potent legal ammunition in its battle with Google in the lucrative Web search market."
Good morning Scripting News people.
This morning we have some important news related to RSS, not quite ready to unveil yet. I was going to say Murphy-willing, but then I checked the server that's hosting the new site, and found there's a routing problem of some kind. Of course the server has never had this problem before. Murphy works in mysterious ways!
Postscript: Magically the server is back. Must have been a routing problem. Onward!
On Don Park's site someone calls me an emperor with no clothes. There's a disconnect that I would like to correct. I am not an emperor, I am a person. You will see mistakes here because I am human. This is not a major discovery. I see them too.
BTW, if you think you don't make mistakes, you do; you're making one right there.
I'm getting lots of happy email about that last section. Let me expand on the theme. Not only do I make mistakes, but sometimes as I'm making them, I know I'm doing it. And sometimes it takes me a long time to correct them. Consider this. I smoked at least one pack of Marlboro Lights every day for thirty-one years.
Thirty-one years. Then I needed heart surgery to stay alive. That's when I quit.
You want give me shit for being stupid, why dick around with the small stuff -- go for the gusto.
RSS feed generated by AOL's weblog software.
For comparison, here's a Microsoft feed. They look just about the same. AOL has guids (that's good) but they're both easy to parse, human-readable RSS. This is one area where the two online giants are compatible. Good news.
Neel Ishwar Murarka: Blogger RSS Template.
Ray Ozzie: "People are discovering why compartmentalized security such as that implemented by Groove is so important moving forward."
Jon Udell: "They didn't get that the wire could also stretch across continents and oceans!"
Jim Moore: "The best networks win."
Last year on this day I wrote: "Say and do the honorable things while life is here." Worth a read, hard to excerpt.
To Yoav, most of my edits are trivial changes, or things that I wrote that were too personal or could be misinterpreted.
At the end of the day yesterday, I wrote this ode to beauty in women. It didn't get a lot of reads, probably because it was the end of the day. I did get an email from Halley. Of course she liked it. Summary: If you're a woman who likes to dress up and go out, god bless, keep on trucking, love that style, and don't worry about idealized and objectified measures of beauty, that isn't beauty; the things that make you who you are, the differences, the imperfections, and what you do with them, are what make you hot.
Time zones are so weird. I used to live here in California. Back then everything was okay. Then I moved to Massachusetts, three time zones east. But all my websites (except Scripting) are still in Pacific time. No problem, just shift up by three hours. But now I'm back in California. Stayed too long, now I'm on West Coast time, but my time zone calculator hasn't caught up. I'm still adding three hours. Oy. By the time that little thing resets, I'll be back in Cambridge, waiting to adjust again at three more levels. If only the world could get it through it's thick skull that it revolves around me, and adjust accordingly, automatically.
Chris Lydon interviews David Weinberger. "My bubble never popped."
Bob Doyle's Portable Web Studio for Blogradio Productions.
Matt Haughey's new PVR weblog. Good idea!
You want Trackback? You got it.
News.Com: "The Massachusetts attorney general's office said Wednesday that tougher penalties are necessary to prevent Microsoft from engaging in anticompetitive behavior."
Blog Change Bot is a "blog monitoring service which updates you via AOL Instant Messanger when a blog you are interested is updated."
Zawodny: "What makes Dave think that Yahoo and Google's technology doesn't already 'understand' RSS, I wonder?"
Steven Johnson: "We're wrong to think of Google as a pure reference source. It's closer to a collectively authored op-ed page -- filled with bias, polemics, and a skewed sense of proportion -- than an encyclopedia."
I wrote this little story for women who are getting older, ones with little imperfections, the little things that make them beautiful, different, special, worth loving, worth caring for and about.
Cartoons. Advertising. OS X. Raumpatrouille.
I'm also going to spend some time today over at Stanford at the AlwaysOn conference. A chance to see old friends. Sergey and Larry from Google will be there. I want to see if I can talk with them, briefly, about formats and protocols for weblogs, directories and search engines. Should be fun. Bringing the camera.
Keith Teare took my pic with his cellphone and automatically blogged it. Hey so what if I was making a stupid face. It's cool technology! Yeah.
GovExec.Com: "The Homeland Security Department has chosen Microsoft Corp as its preferred supplier of desktop computer and server software."
Julie is an American cook with a weblog.
News.Com: Hot spots elude RIAA dragnet.
BBC: UK beach gets wireless web. "The service, called PiertoPier, is being offered free to anyone who has the right gear and relies on volunteers and donations to keep it alive."
The world's first installed parking meter was in Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935.
Last year on this day: "Someone says that weblogs aren't journalism. OK, suppose a journalist has a weblog. When that journalist writes something on the weblog, therefore, it must not be journalism."
Three years ago: "Look at this picture, Gates answering a reporter's question, Maritz and Muglia with their heads down as if they go through this experience every day and know that it isn't working." It was part of a game called a TranceFest. Don't read Mike Donellan's entry with a full mouth of coffee, as I did.
Isn't it obvious that either Google or Yahoo will buy Feedster so their search engine can understand RSS. Then the other guy is going to wonder why they missed the boat. After that, they can make their search engines understand OPML and throw out the antiquated centralized directories and let the amateurs compete to create the best directory for a given topic, the same way we compete for page rank. No more one guy controlling a category. That just doesn't work. It's cool that Google has competition from a highly regarded company like Yahoo. Now search is a market. Before it was a company town.
Chris Lydon interviews Eugene Volokh. "Brother Volokh, who talked with me for 20 minutes yesterday, takes success in stride. He thinks of his site as an eclectic dinner table conversation among conservative-libertarian friends who feast on argument." After listening to the interview, I bet he doesn't use an aggregator. At the end he says he doesn't visit that many weblogs. "There are only so many hours in the day." As usual, it's great to have Chris doing these interviews. Volokh is totally worth twenty minutes.
MozillaZine: "AOL has cut or will cut the remaining team working on Mozilla in a mass firing and are dismantling what was left of Netscape."
Peter Rukavina once pulled the brake on the subway, figuratively.
Thanks for all the emails to Mark Pilgrim. Update: It looks like the app that watched me is gone. Thanks to everyone who helped. And thanks to Mark himself.
Scott Johnson: A Suggestion for Aggregators.
Glenn Fleishman writes about hating. BTW, to Glenn, I am ready to give up. For me the technical challenge at UserLand is over. It's time for a new generation to take charge there. I'm available for guidance and advice, but the engineering has to be done by younger more robust bodies. My work now is on applying the technology, that's my work at Berkman, Harvard Law School and Harvard in general. We're also getting ready to do some work with MIT. I feel quite differently about RSS. It needs to stay constant so the world can rebuild around it. That process is already well underway. It's a remarkably important technology. Last week at the XML Devcon, I couldn't believe how much the Microsoft-centered developer community was talking about RSS. We're going to do something bold and liberating for RSS, and I'll be very much involved in its future. Stay tuned.
You can tell that Scoble hasn't yet been to a meeting with Bill Gates. Gates is just like the director in his CNN story. Scoble works at a company that places a very high value on direct communication. This also happens to be one of my core values. I don't like bullshit. If someone says "I know this" and I think they just believe it, I ask for proof. More than once I've gotten the proof. I know I'm fallible. So are you. Now that we know that can we get over it? Maybe.
Scoble also suggests we have another dinner this weekend here in the Valley. Interesting idea. I'd do it, for sure. I'd also like to see if we can get a small conference room somewhere with a projection screen and net connection and we'll do a Thursday-like meeting. Does anyone at Stanford read this?
Last year on this day: "One of my correspondents, a Scottish professor, had a bypass in late May, he's about three weeks ahead of me."
Later today, the story about weblogs in politics might appear on The World, a co-production of the BBC and WGBH-Boston. I was interviewed for the story. If you like that kind of stuff, please listen to the interview Chris Lydon and I did last week. Ryan Irelan has a transcript.
Halley: "Let's call this movie Exhibit A of Girlism."
Steve Gillmor has somethng to say, as always.
I keep a file of sensitive stuff that I've deleted from Scripting News, stuff I found too personal, more vulnerability than I wanted. It helped to do the writing, but once I saw it in public, I got scared, and took it down. Now that people have set up a system to record everything on Scripting that I post within five minute intervals, I don't think I'll be writing any more of that stuff here. I guess it's time for weblogs to become like television. Polished and politically correct. Impersonal. Commercial. That's what they're really saying. When there's no room to change your mind, there's no way to take a chance. That's about it. They found a way to stop me from taking chances.
Last night Jacob Levy told me that I saved his life by writing publicly about my experience with heart disease. That's the proudest moment for a writer, you want to know that you made a difference, and saving a father's life is about as good as it gets. With the system that's in place now, you won't get that. No way I'll take the chance. Send a message to Mark Pilgrim if this makes you angry.
When I was a kid, the NYC subway had an emergency brake in every car. It was an amazing thing. Any person on the train could at any time cause the whole train to stop. The amazing thing is that in all the subway riding I did (every weekday for three years when I was in high school) no one ever pulled the cord. Even in New York City, which is known for people doing really rude stuff. From that I concluded that humanity works, most people are honest, they know that anyone could pull the cord, so what's the point of doing it. That's how it should work here. It's no trick to write a script that reads my RSS feed every five minutes and posts the diffs in reverse chronologic order. That's what we're dealing with here, the kind of people who would pull the cord. They did. The train stopped. Now what? You decide. If the service continues, Scripting News will just be links to articles. If it stops, I'll keep writing.
Write an email to Mark Pilgrim, not me. I'm not going to "hang in there." The service he's running must stop. That's it. No negotiating. You guys have to stand for something. If you won't, then I won't. Pretty simple.
Thanks to Aaron Hockley for taking a stand.
Abhijeet Chavan: "Try searching for weblogs about urban planning, architecture, housing, urban issues, and related topics, and you are likely to find that the pickings are slim."
Markoff: "Intel has raised the level of the water and is floating all the boats," said Glenn Fleishman, editor of Wi-Fi Networking News, a Web-based daily newsletter. Uhh John, that's a weblog.
BBC: Yahoo Buys Overture. Breath-taking.
Announcing: Elizabeth Spiers to present at BloggerCon.
Adam Curry: The Magic of RSS.
Jim Moore is riffing on Posse Management Systems.
posse: "A group of people summoned by a sheriff to aid in law enforcement."
PluggedInns.Com "specializes in hotels that offer high-speed Internet access."
Palfrey: "Courts have not been friendly to the fair use defense."
Five years ago: "Inside every computer, every time you click a key or the mouse, thousands of 'procedure calls' are spawned, analyzing, computing and then acting on your gestures."
Last year: "I don't really understand books about blogs."
BBC: "Bloggers are going to parliament to encourage more MPs to share their interest and passions on the web."
Jakob Nielsen: PDF is Unfit for Human Consumption.
News.Com: "Through a caching feature on the popular Google search site, people can sometimes call up snapshots of archived stories at NYTimes.com and other registration-only sites."
NY Times: Harry Potter and the Internet Pirates.
Wired: "The English version is not enough for hard-core fans who are collaborating to create a German translation."
RageBoy: "Ann Craig found out this past week that she has skin cancer."
New feature: Manila sites now have a robots.txt file. By default it just tells search engine robots to skip the page of referers, thereby eliminating any benefit for spamming the Referers page. Of course they'll still do it, or maybe they'll get a clue and spam someone else.
I called Jing Jing and told them to expect 25 people. I bet it's going to be more. I've been getting lots of RSVPs. They're good at handling large groups. Marc Canter won't be able to be there, so we'll have to figure out how to order on our own. Also, some people have asked if I'm going to treat. No. I'm only paying for Cheyenne and myself. She says Superman is coming and she's afraid. I said she should sit next to me. I had spinach for lunch and I'm bringing my Kryptonite. That made her swoon.
Rich Salz: "Sometimes RSS uses XML in a way that is rather, well, funky."
Rich is a good guy. We became friends at XML Devcon. He's from Lawn Guyland (I'm from Queens) and he lives in Boston (me too). We have never gotten along on the mail lists, probably has a lot to do with the difference between writing style and personality. There is a difference. Rich has a great smile, and if you look him in the eye and say Whuh Da Fuck in a NY accent he laughs. Anyway, that's the miracle of face-to-face meets. First, we have to get along as human beings, then we can solve any technical problem. So Rich all the things you mention that are funky about RSS are either history, or misunderstandings. When I said a feed is funky, I in no way meant to say it wasn't valid. I meant it had a funky style. Less than optimal for interop. Nothing more. Sometimes I don't realize how much power I have. Sometimes other people don't realize that I have opinions that aren't meant to be laws. I also start conversations by making strong statements and see if anyone agrees or disagrees. That's just my way of getting a discussion going. Watch for an "imho" or "I think" as a clue that this is what I'm doing. I bet Rich knows that about me, after just a couple of days. But people who only know me from mail lists and this weblog, even for years, might not get that. So many of our problems probably originate right there. I had a great dinner with Peter Drayton and Brian Jepson where we talked about this, and we got somewhere, believe it or not.
For 15 points can you spot the new speaker?
What is Scripting News: "In programming we tend to reinvent what others have invented, or even worse, patent things that other people have invented."
Rory: "I really wish people would stop throwing chairs (figuratively) at the guy. He's passionate, and passionate people tend to stir up trouble."
I hope to have the last word with people who flame me.
Slashdot on Howard Dean guest-blogging at Lessig's.
Leslie Walker: "The blogosphere may never be the same after America Online releases free blog-publishing software to its 34 million members this summer."
Don Park: "Blogs will fade away within two years."
Two years ago Evan Williams said: "I wasn't terribly surprised to learn that 83.6% of Blogger visitors use IE5.x."
This essay on my Manila site has been read 149,896 times.
There's one flaw in Bray's latest rant, something like 99.99 percent of the people who use PCs use Windows PCs. That forces developers to opt for the trunk, to plow the mastah's field, if they like to be where the people are. Yes they like browser-based software, me too, but if they were editing their website for any length of time in the browser, they'd yearn for the good old days of WYSIWYG and spell-checkers (I spell really well, and would trade off wizzy for an outliner, and have). This is what the anti-trust trial was really about. Microsoft won't upgrade the browser the way Don Park says they will (see above) because that would help a free product cannibalize a for-pay product. They own both. We're about to yearn for the good old days of developing in a locked trunk, because we are now developing for a platform that's in the dumpster, and soon will be in the dump. At least the locked trunk was going somewhere. Of course, developers, idiots that they are, are fighting over bullshit instead of building something that's too big to fit in the dump truck.
Equal time: Scoble, the Microsoft evangelist, gives Tim another bone to chew.
To both, there's no reason you can't do desktop apps that communicate over the Web using XML-RPC and have the best of both worlds, developing for the Internet and plowing the master's field at the same time.
Paolo: "On one side a few huge companies, with lots of resources, controlling most of the environment, and on the other side a bunch of smart developers who are too small, too focused on their own agendas and probably too short sighted to get out from this situation."
Brent: "I donít like the sharecropper metaphor they use to describe developers who write apps for specific operating systems."
Here's the current last entry in the comments on Scott Rosenberg's post about people flaming about my editing Scripting News as the day goes by. Sometimes I delete things. They think this is corrupt, evil, impure, disgusting, it must be stopped, who does he think he is. Here's my comment.
I learned early on that flaming comes with the territory. I expect it. I am not impressed by it. But it's normal.
Ernie, I am just one person. I am not the NY Times. I spread the work out, as I've explained before, it's part of the philosophy of weblogs. I don't have a staff of people here writing it. That's why it's real. And sometimes I change my mind. That's real too.
I've told you what to expect, my deadline is 10PM Pacific. My edits are visible. If you don't think that's right, compete and prove me wrong.
Otherwise get this -- I can't and won't change to please all of you. That's not why I write. I write because I have something to say. When I no longer have anything to say, I hope I have the good sense to stop writing.
Bill Seitz, I'm not flaming Mark. Honestly I'd like to ask him some questions. He doesn't want to be asked those questions. That's all that's really going on in the back-and-forth you see.
Anyway, I'm on the road. What a new perspective that gives me for these flamefests. This so unimportant. Solve a world problem. If you spend any time trying to get me to change the way I write, you're missing the scope of things. You are powerless to change me. Focus on areas where you have power. Be dignified, show self-respect. Complaining about the personality of someone you've never met is a ridiculous waste of time. My opinion of course. Have a nice day.
I will be at Jing Jing at 7PM tomorrow for dinner. Several other people will be there. You are welcome too. Just show up, look for the loud weblog-type people. The Jing Jing people are usually pretty good about giving us more tables. More tables means more food and that means more money.
About XML Devcon, the conference I just participated in, in Portland. Not surprisingly it was a Microsoft-centric conference. Chris Sells, the promoter, works there. The closing session was a Microsoft evangelist asking marketing questions of the audience. There were lots of demos of Microsoft tools and development environments. More than two presenters from Microsoft said "I love XML-RPC but I'll never use it." Then, for a Microsoft conference, it was amazing how often RSS was discussed. They talk about it as they talked about HTML in 1998. Take that for what it's worth, I'm not sure whether it's good or bad, or both or neither.
Postcards from San Francisco Bay.
At the rental car counter the clerk asked if it's a camera or a radio. It's a camera. Smile!
Presidential candidate Howard Dean is guest-blogging over at Lessig's. That's some kind of new thing.
Jim Moore: "Consider the advantages of Smart Posses!"
Three years ago today. "Over and over at the hearing I heard this idea. If musicians don't get paid they won't make music. How do they know that? I don't even think it's true. It might be true of some musicians. I know it's not true of all.
Chris Lydon: "The 'spoken word' tour of the blogosphere continues."
I'm blogging live from Dave Jacobs's house in San Francisco. Walked on the shore of the bay at the Marina this morning, got some great pics of sailboats and young beautiful San Franciscans. The weather is so fantastic, the city so damned beautiful. Dave and I went out for Pho. I find that I missed California, maybe more than I thought. Dave just took my pic for his new weblog. Dave looks pretty good for a guy who's been through hell.
Mikel Maron wrote a format driver for Echo.
Major fun: Radio gets some kind of Echo support.
Let's do a Bay Area blogger's dinner at Jing Jing in Palo Alto Sunday 7PM? Am I crazy? Can it come together that quickly? I asked Gretchen Pirillo and she said she thinks she can come. I promise I won't talk about RSS. Maybe my darling Gnome-Girl will come?
3/16/02: "Over time there will be new XML formats that can flow through Radio's news aggregator. Instead of having to update the aggregator each time, we decided to add an architecture that makes it easy to plug in new drivers, to teach Radio new formats."
Simon Fell has an Echo feed that validates. I'm at XML Devcon with a net connection, and I don't understand what the speaker is talking about. I'm going to see if I can get Radio to subscribe to Simon's feed.
Postcript: 4:30PM Pacific -- I have the format driver written and it reads Simon's feed and flows it through the aggregator in Radio. Now I have to test it inside xml.rss.compileService. It's really rough, probably doesn't do all the semantics right, I haven't even looked at the spec (is there one yet?) but shit if it doesn't read Simon's feed. I've been sitting next to Peter Drayton, one of Simon's best friends. I describe what I'm doing as catching a bullet in my teeth. That's something I like to do, when I can. The alternative is to catch it in my brain. Not so pleasant.
Postscript: 4:49PM Pacific -- Screen shot of Radio aggregator displaying most recent items from Simon's Echo feed. I announced its existence to several people at XML Devcon. They seem pretty happy. Is this the first aggregator to support the new format? I think perhaps it is. Next step, post the code.
Hossein Derakhshan reports that the Iranian government is blocking the persianblog and blogspot domains, as well as his site. Blocking within Iran, I assume?
John Palfrey: "The Net could indeed be the wide-open, lawless paradise some of us once imagined."
Scott Rosenberg: "He's exposing his editing process to his readers, by choice." Yup.
Don Park: "I frequently edit my recent posts."
Andrew Grumet: "Have you ever created something, put it out in front of the world and then later revised it? I do it all the time."
Shelley Powers: "If Mark had done something like this with me, I would quit weblogging." Amen.
I was interviewed by a BBC Radio reporter today for The World at WGBH-Boston from my Beaverton hotel room. We talked about the blogging MPs in the UK, including Tom Watson.
Chris Lydon's next interview is with Jim Berle. "A very active blog poet," says Chris. He calls his weblog That Funky Monkey. He has interviews lined up with Eugene Volokh, Ed Cone and David Weinberger and already has Dan Bricklin in the can.
I'm in Oregon, Portland -- using my computer in the lobby of the hotel (where they have a fast Internet connection) and group of women wearing red hats is assembling. I asked them what's the deal with the red hats. They said they're quilters, on their way from all over the US to a quilter's meeting somewhere in rural Oregon. They're all going to join the red hat society. My mom is a quilter, and my friend Randy is a red hat. Small world.
Three years ago: "The Web is not a mirror of the print industry, that's why advertising is not so important. The unique thing about the Web is that it's interactive. The challenge is to squeeze quality, high-integrity writing out of the readers, and present it back to them with a seal of quality. That's a much higher-growth proposition than employing writers and running ads as the print industry does."
Also on that day: "If all the pubs had integrity and courage, they'd call the bullshit artists on their bullshit, and if they wanted coverage, they'd have to answer the questions, and we'd have fewer vaccuous blustery irrelevant announcements."
BTW, yesterday at O'Reilly I asked some direct questions, like why are we even talking about trusting Amazon, Tim, don't we remember their patent abuse and how they never swore-off using them as a competitive weapon? Do you think for a minute that they don't have submerged patents on their web services? Imho, we shouldn't consider helping them until they say no-more-patents. When I talk this way in public it makes some people uncomfortable, but here's something cool about open source developers, they like to hear that kind of question asked. And once someone breaks the ice, as I am happy to do, they pick up the ball and run with it. In that way they're better journalists than Markoff at the Times, even if they don't write as well, or have such a big T&E budget.
5/7/97: "A great programmer is a seeker of truth and beauty. Successful programmers know how to ask questions, and they know how to ask the right question. You can't go forward until that happens."
Ryan Irelan did a transcript of my talk with Chris Lydon.
NY Times: "Silicon Valley companies, which were already re-examining their compensation packages, are feeling increased pressure to alter their pay practices in light of Microsoft's decision to change the way it pays its 50,000 employees."
RFC: "On Saturday I leave Portland and head south to Silicon Valley. It's the first time I'll ever stay in a hotel there, after living there for 23 years. So the question most on my mind: where should I stay?"
John Palfrey: "One thing I've been wondering about from time to time: the copyright implications of news aggregators and the increasingly widespread use of RSS feeds."
Pictures from the O'Reilly conf across town. I went over there around lunch time for the Bill of Rights for Web Services session. We came up with some. 1. Right to clone your interface. 2. Right to not use an interface that's not clonable. 3. No patents for Web Service interfaces. 4. Right not to be locked-in. Some people said the data behind the interfaces is what differentiates the services. But the terms under which the service is operated makes a big difference. The presenters were from Amazon and eBay, the audience took a while to get revved up, but eventually in true OSCON style, they sliced and diced the issues. At the end I talked with fellow Berkmanite Ethan Zuckerman, and we agreed this should be a project we undertake along with our lawyers. When I heard about this session I had my doubts. At the end I was sure that this is something we need to work on. Thanks for the launch Tim. Good job.
Back at the Sells Brothers conf, Keith Ballenger puts up a slide: I Love RPC (not the exact title), with reasons why RPC is lame. Then I got an email from Josh Allen (also of Microsoft) responding to my answer to his call for examples of BigCo's screwing up markets for LittleCo's.
Donna Wentworth: "I have accepted an offer from the Electronic Frontier Foundation to become an EFF Webwriter/ Activist." Congrats Donna, we'll miss you!
Donna says I'm the new Berkman babe-in-residence. Hehe.
Speaking of Daves I'm now the #1 Dave on Google for the first time ever. Yow.
7/10/00: "I like XML because I like choice, not just for me, but for people who use my software."
Notes for my talk in Portland.
I had dinner last night with a bunch of the speakers at the Sells Brothers conference (that's where I'm speaking today). On the way back, talking with Chris Sells, he said he hadn't read my political FAQ for RSS 2.0. He said the perception was that "funky" was about feeds that use namespaces. Not so. Here's the definition I wrote last week. "A feed is funky if it uses extensions to provide information that can be expressed by core elements."
Jon Udell: "Wake me up when it's over."
Mark is still operating his website despite my (public) request that he stop. Now the page has a rude comment about Radio (which definitely has the features he says it doesn't, Mark is really swinging wildly now).
The next step is to look at the copyright issues his service raises. They are quite interesting. Scripting News, both in HTML and RSS, has a clear copyright on it. Should I have a say in publications created from my content? I generally don't mind, but shouldn't I have to give permission? Suppose a magazine started publishing all my writing. Would I have recourse? I am not a lawyer, but it seems clear that I would. Is Pilgrim somehow immune to copyright law? I'd love to hear the legal theory that allows him to do what he's doing with my work.
Also, because of the outage, noted above, you may not get the full Mark Pilgrim Experience becuase my RSS feed isn't updating.
Joshua Allen: "We in the software industry are waaay too guilty of this self-indulgence where we think that the world cares about our politics, platforms, and gratuitous layers of abstraction." Right on.
On the other hand, the rest of us are really at the mercy of the BigCo's. While I agree totally that we programmers are here to serve the users (I preach that every day, telling the users to expect more of techies, esp to expect the complete truth) one little change from one of the platform vendors can and often does put lots of LittleCo's into the dumper. Try to understand, we're not wrong, maybe your intentions are good, then you can do much better at staying out of the way. In the meantime it's getting worse not better. Also, one more thing, I don't do vertical apps; and your boss needs my horizontal ones as a source of new ideas. When was the last time Microsoft shipped something really new that originated inside Microsoft (not just the code, the idea and the design). Obviously it happens, I'm making a point. There's a synergy between large and small, even a co-dependence. The small guys have always known that. The big guys, for a variety of reasons, haven't. In the case of smaller newer Big's, like Marc Andreessen's Netscape, not understanding the power of independent developers can be fatal (for the company, Marc is still alive). It's exactly at this point, an inflection point, that Google is at right now, imho.
Yesterday I asked for a feature in Manila, and today it's being tested with the most technical Manila users (also known as developers). If all goes well, Jake will release it later today. I wanted to get a feature in asap, this is a good one because it removes the incentive for referer-spam, the nasty links that show up on our referer pages because people want a free ride on our waves of page rank. It's a feature we think the Google folk should appreciate. As Jake would say: Hey There. Anyway, with the recent changes at UserLand, one of the good things is I have a direct connect once again to Jake and Lawrence. Don't worry guys I have a few more ideas for quick hits that will make the users happy. Real crowd pleasers.
Three years ago today: "I just got an email from a friend who suffered a massive heart attack, and survived." Update: He's still kickin. I've been emailing with him the last few days.
Mark Pilgrim has written an application that reads my site (apparently) every five minutes by a robot. Mark, please limit your reads to once an hour. We have a huge bandwidth bill, it's one of UserLand's biggest expenses, and the more we pay for bandwidth the less we have available to pay for programming and support. Thanks for working with us on this.
People ask how they can help UserLand. Here's one way. When someone asks an intelligent question on one of the user mail lists, be sure they get an intelligent answer. Lawrence is totally overloaded and it's a well-known fact that he can't get in every loop, although he surely tries. Especially while we try to put it back together, we need extra support and understanding for the users. It would be great if the support improved at this time. Think about what a powerful message that would send.
I'm flying to Portland, OR today via Seattle, WA.
Limited updates. See you from the West Coast.
Mike Walsh: Will Trade Beach House for Manila Knowledge.
NY Times: "Microsoft said this afternoon that it would no longer grant stock options, relying instead on restricted awards of stock to help pay its almost 50,000 employees."
On July 1, Derek Scruggs requested something related to the harmonizer that I had already done, last year, the Web Bug Simulator. As you might imagine, it simulates those cute little web bugs, one-pixel graphics that help tally hits and referers. In RSS there is no such thing as a web bug. that's why we have to simulate them. By default all Radio users participate. And it accumulates a page of stats. Very useful. Very unknown. Maybe not any more. Yesterday I had a long talk with Jon Udell, lamenting that so many problems have been solved that so few people know about, and we spend all this energy arguing about changing things that honestly really can't be changed. How much better it would be if we had a business development, tech writing, tech support and marketing function for all this open development we do. Then it could make the world a better place instead of an angrier place. That wasn't idle talk, btw, we're seriously considering how to do it.
It's time for some pictures from Berkman. Chris Lydon, my very good friend and radio interviewer extraordinaire, is breaking free of the shackles of National Public Radio. How so? He's now a one-man interviewing machine. He bought a Sony mini-disc recorder, microphone and headphones, and now he does interviews and he does it all. No engineers. All Chris. Today he interviewed me. It was great. Here's what it looked like from my point of view. He says the interview will be on the Web by the end of the week. That's not soon enough for me, but it's progress.
Next picture. After writing so much criticism of Google over the last few days, I thought it would be a good idea to publicly demonstrate that no matter how critical I am, one only criticizes things worth criticizing. Alan Kay used to say that about the Mac, that it was the first computer worth criticizing. Good point. Well, I love Google, that's why I speak up when I think they can do better. Some people doubt that. So today I wore my Google shirt to the office, the one Nate Tyler gave me last June, a really classy black shirt with the multi-colored Google logo. When I wear it people always ask me if I'm really that cool, even at Harvard (which is a pretty cool place). Here's the picture, taken by Chris Lydon. It's a little trippy, we had been playing with the settings on the camera. If you work at Google, please go ahead and put it on the wall of your cube and throw darts at it. It's good therapy, I hear.
Next. To say it's hot and humid in Boston would be like saying, well it's too hot to think of something creative. I give up. As I was driving to work this morning I saw a boy and a man fishing in the Charles River at Watertown Square, and I thought this captured what the heat feels like. It was over 90 degrees at 10AM. In Yiddish the word for that is Oy.
Last one. Here's a picture of the Spinners performing at Tanglewood on July 4. It was hot then too, but really cooool. Sorry, I had to say that. Please forgive me.
Amazingly, Jason DeFillippo saw the Spinners the very next day, outside Pittsburgh, PA! Yow.
Betsy Devine found happiness in Prague.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Before posting an entry in his personal weblog, Robert Scoble always pauses and considers how he would justify its contents to three people: his boss, his wife and Steve Ballmer." What about me?
Here's something so cool. Today, for the first time, I ran my aggregator at the office with the harmonizer installed. Now, back at home, I have all these feeds that I used to only have at the office. I feel harmony. Hmmmm.
Marketing Profs: 5 Key Questions (Youíve Been Dying) To Ask About Business Blogs.
Phil Ringnalda usually gets his facts right but not this time. A simple search would have shown that both Radio and Manila support the Blogger API, so if Google wanted to do something truly great they could have, simply. Giving a little spot in the Google toolbar to blogging, not just to Blogger™ would have, imho, despite what Phil says, been the Not Evil thing to do. Would we expect it of Microsoft or AOL, if so, why not of Google? Further, while it may not be the norm in the search engine business to be inclusive, it is the norm for products to interoperate in this way in the weblog tools business. Should we set the bar lower just because Google is now one of the competitors? I was encouraged not to do so by John Doerr, one of Google's board members.
There was an item here pointing to a site that was redirecting based on the referer. Simply, this means if you came to the site through Scripting News you'd see something vastly different from what I pointed to. So I took the link down.
Philip Greenspun discovers a relaxing vacation spot in New England? I like the part about the water temperature staying in the low 70s all summer. What a thrilling idea.
To everyone who sent email yesterday offering to help UserLand, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. What an amazing turnout. We're going to try to do something fun, unique, and powerful with UserLand's position in the weblog and content tools market, and we're going to try to include the community in the business, i.e. people will make money. To thos who have asked if I will return as CEO, I can't. I have a job that I love at Berkman, we're doing lovely things, the things I want to do. For me, the technology challenge is behind me, the next challenge is to apply the technology in activities that Harvard does uniquely well, and then bring the results to the constituencies that the university serves. That means there's room for a CEO here, and a management team; it also means it's possible that UserLand will be acquired. But we will only do it if it means continuity and growth for UserLand's customers. One thing hasn't changed, the first two syllables of the company's name. That's been constant through all the changes of the last fifteen years.
On this day last year, the iPod was working. Thanks again to Rogers and the 32 others who bought me this wonderful gift. I use it all the time. That's saying something. There are few electronic toys that give so much and work so well.
To Jake, a Manila to-do item, asap. Implement a robots.txt function, subject to user prefs (user can turn it off if they've already got a robots.txt through custom programming). The first setting will tell the crawler to ignore the referers page on the site. This should get the referer spammers to stop using our sites to improve their rank with Google.
Tim Bray: "If you care about building traffic, few things do it better than getting flamed every day by Dave Winer."
Tim O'Reilly is having a session at OSCON on user's and developer's rights and Web Services. He asked if I could join; I'll be giving my keynote at Sells Brothers on the same day, so I won't be able to be at O'Reilly's.
Two years ago today, just by coincidence, I wrote something on Scripting in response to a question from Rahul Dave that relates Web Services, open source, commercial development, and developer freedom. Here it is, in full.
Rahul: "How is commercial software any more inclusive then the GPL?"
My answer: Commercial software isn't a cause and it isn't the proponent of inclusion, although it can be a party to it. Commercial software is not more inclusive than the GPL. But other things, like SOAP and XML-RPC are sources of inclusion. They don't care whether you code in your pajamas or work for the DEA. Everyone can participate in the networks they define, regardless of economic philosophy or operating system choice. They totally subvert the locked-trunks. You can put any kind of service behind such interfaces, and it's hard to see what Microsoft or Stallman could do about it. And in Microsoft's case, at some level, they're commited to this. What about Stallman?
News.Com: "The Massachusetts attorney general's office is investigating whether Microsoft tried to squash Linux in violation of the consent decree settling the company's landmark antitrust case."
Some news: John Robb is leaving UserLand. This is part of a bigger transition, one that we're not ready to talk about yet. It should be, net-net, good news for Manila and Radio users, and for the weblog community. We weren't ready to announce, John surprised us by writing about his departure on his weblog. He's a surprising guy. Anyway, part of my reason for being in Calif next week is business. I think UserLand will do fine, although things are still uncertain, but that's life in the big leagues. Thanks John for all your help, and best wishes to you and your family for much continued success. Onward!
Immediately I got an email from Paolo Valdemarin asking how he can help. And then a bunch more. This is really cool.
Next question. Suppose, hypothetically, you were going to release a spec under a Creative Commons license, and you wanted the terms to match, as closely as possible, the Copyright and Disclaimer on the RSS 2.0 spec. Which one would you use?
I was sitting at home minding my own business when the phone rang. Hello, is this Dave? Yes. Hi, it's Mr Safe.
JY Stervinou had a conversation with Mr Safe too. He's getting around a lot. Another place he's been, ZDNet/France, where they ask "le RSS, c'est quoi?" They figured it out. Lots of very cool RSS 0.91 feeds.
Le Zeldman figured it out too. "How you feel about the limitations of RSS probably depends on what you use it for. If you want a simple format that lets you notify subscribers when your siteís content is updated, and makes it easy to include a few lines of that content so they can decide whether or not it interests them, RSS 2.0 fits the bill perfectly. Its genius is its simplicity -- and simplicity, whether in furniture design or software design, is a high virtue." +1.
Two years ago today, Sean McGrath asked how many XML gurus it takes to change a light bulb. The correct answer is eight.
Three years ago today: "Let's go have a look," Jeru said, "I haven't seen a green dragon in a long time!"
Four years ago: "Ask 29-year-old Linus Torvalds what if Microsoft crushes his Linux. He doesn't care, he'll just keep working on it."
Phillip Pearson has a comparison chart of how different harmonizer implementations handle error conditions. It's cool to see a critical mass developing so quickly. Phillip is attempting to harmonize the harmonizers. Good idea.
Don Park on the lost art of the insult.
DaveNet: On AOL's entry into weblogs.
"thinkusaalignright"Little bit of serendip. Did you listen to John Philip Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever this weekend? I did. I even sang it. Very cool. Now for the serendip. You could spell his name as So USA. And it would be true.
NY Times: Blogs in the Workplace.
Simon Carstensen previews my keynote for the Sells Brother's conference. How did he know what I was going to lecture on? We do have forward motion, but it's not at a level visible to the people who only worry about XML. We're moving forward by bringing weblogs to law, libraries, politics, business, medicine, and that's just the beginning. We were working on the XML level five years ago. Now we need it to stay quiet down there so we can rock and roll at the political and societal level. It's not just about ones and zeros boys and girls, it's about changing the world. The arguments of the software world are so boring. "Let me stand on your toes for a while." Oy!
Another way of looking at it. In 2000 when the RSS community was flaming about RDF, the wireless world was inventing WAP and WML, and creating new companies with multi-billion-dollar market caps. Had the fight not happened, some of that would have flowed into the weblog world, which as we know now had a future, where WAP and WML didn't. So don't think the fights are trivial, they aren't. They cut off growth. Could we have capitulated then? Would the fighting have stopped? I think the events of this summer prove that it wouldn't. This neck of the woods likes to destroy stuff. Lessig take note. Your faith in the open development process could use a bit of refinement, imho.
Steve Kirks: Open Letter to the RSS Community.
Philip Miseldine has a subs harmonizer running in .NET.
Andrew Pearson did a subs harmonizer in PHP.
Brent Simmons: "Help!"
Three years ago today: "Other people make good mirrors, but the answer to the who-am-I question is inside."
For several months this Google search would turn up a UserLand page as the number one hit. Today it's not in the first ten pages. Must be a bug. Or do they play games with their search engine? Straight question. Screen. It's really hard to believe it just fell off the Web in the last few days. And while I'm at it, I don't like it that they label my older specs as deprecated (in caps no less). You won't find that word anywhere on the pages, I hate that word, it says "abandoned" to people who use them. It says that about RSS 0.91, which is what the BBC uses, which I am pleased to promote, even though in a private place I wish they'd use the latest. We have to talk about the whole thing Google. It's time to get to the next level. Your mistakes were understandable a few years ago, now they're not so funny. (PS: I know that the use of deprecated comes from Open Directory. Good reason to replace it with something that really is open. The editor of the category is not always disinterested, as I'm sure is true in this case. The question is is Google itself disinterested. We're always going to be asking that question, until we know for sure it's no, and then we move on. So far it's yes, but lately with a caveat.)
From Japan via Joi Ito comes news of a new developer using the MetaWeblog API. You've probably heard of them.
Don Park has some ideas on weblog APIs.
BuzzMachine reports on a demo of AOL's blogging tool.
On this day in 1998, Josh Lucas got a Java XML-RPC client working. Back then we talked about XML-RPC differently, it was a way to communicate with Frontier. A few years later O'Reilly would publish a book about XML-RPC and not even mention that Frontier supports it. Is that progress? Yes, in some ways. No in others.
To this day, some more enthusiastic Frontier-philes insist that UserLand's implementation is the canonical one. They are wrong, there is no canonical implementation of XML-RPC. It's a thing unto itself. A very beautiful thing, imho.
Dave Jacobs, my friend with advanced PKD, writes: "I have had email from all over the world. Not only has the weblog world helped me, but you have raised awareness about organ donation. Everybody can save someoneís life. I donít know anybody who would refuse an organ if they needed one. So I think you should be willing to donate one. Thank you for posting the story about my need."
Simon Carstensen writes to ask if it's safe to implement a harmonizer clone, ie will the API change. The answer is, it's safe. I don't expect the API to change. It works, I've heard from happy users. I'm happy. Haha. Go for it.
BTW, Adam Kalsey wrote me a kind email where he said. "It occurred to me that in all this mess, no one has asked you why you froze the RSS and XML-RPC specs. Why did you freeze the RSS and XML-RPC specs?" I wrote Adam a lengthy reply, but then realized my post in response to Simon, above, was actually a concise repsonse to that question. Simon asks Is it safe to start? As a designer of a new protocol I have to decide. Am I willing to live with this API forever? I give it some thought. Based on past experience -- yes. I know there are limits, things I'd like it to do that it can't do. On the other hand, I weigh that against the amount of time I have to put into it, now and in the future, against the value of having other developers pushing this into other environments. As with all things software, there are tradeoffs. Given more time it would get better. But people would lose interest. A better spec that no one else implements isn't worth anything. So back to Adam's question. RSS is frozen, as is XML-RPC, as a signal to developers that it's safe to implement. We won't rip up the rail and abandon your town. Dear developer, go ahead and build. It's safe.
On this day in Y2K, a sunset in the Sierra.
On this day last year the Economist asked: "So what do big media groups stand to gain from adopting a format that delights in promoting competitors' content, and relies on relinquishing editorial control?"
Silent in the recent michegas are the people who have been laboring over software and feeds and quietly working with people to create and use RSS. Imho, those are the people who should be setting the priorities, not engineers from other disciplines. I can't open a post for user and developer comments, because the usual people will take over. We're being controlled from the outside, that's the feeling I get, and it feels like crap.
Earlier this week I talked with Joi Ito about this, and have been emailing with a Google exec. Both were adult conversations. I want to engage SixApart and Google at that level. I would be happy to talk with IBM as well, on the chance that this is not part of an IBM strategy to own this space. I don't think Google wants to control blogspace. I think Evan does, and there's a disconnect. I don't like the way UserLand is omitted from his list of competitors. It gives me the chills. Imagine if Microsoft left Netscape off the list of their competitors. Maybe they did. But then Netscape didn't have a weblog to discuss it with the rest of the world. Esp on Independence Day in the USA.
Talking with a friend last night I said that we're (ie the weblog world) supposed to be above this. No behind-closed-doors exclusive deals. But in the last few days this little world has shown itself to be no different. Sad day.
Do you hear anyone saying how happy they are that all our cards got thrown in the air? No one asked me if it was okay. Of course they gloat, that was the point. Tim Bray brags that he can kick me out. Hey if he can kick me out, he can kick you out too. Or does he even know who you are or care what you think? Send him an email and find out. I've sent him a few, I've begged him to take the hex off. He never responds.
It's still not too late. Blogger could get a new much more powerful API, on their terms, in a matter of days. An API that's already supported by Movable Type, Radio, Manila, and virtually every other tool and editor in existence. Evan says that once the new stuff is finished all kinds of innovation will happen. Fact is so much innovation has already happened that users don't know about. Now is emphatically not the time to rip up the rails, it's time to polish the apple, to spread the gospel, dance in celebration at the miracle of the technology we've created. Flamers will always be there to stop forward motion. When you try to build a community on flames, you never get anywhere.
Guardian reporter Neil McIntosh attended a Thursday weblog writer's meeting at Berkman in early June, and filed a report in today's paper.
Chad Dickerson: "When I started using an RSS newsreader daily, some remarkable things happened that I didn't necessarily expect: I began to spend almost no time surfing to keep up with current technology information, and I was suddenly able to manage a large body of incoming information with incredible efficiency."
Adam Curry: "Big fire today in Zaandam, just north of Amsterdam. A cocoa storage facility caught fire. 300 firemen at the scene and one blogger in the air. Dean and I grabbed the new camera and flew up to give or new setup a try."
Dear Evan, yes I like a good standard as much as the next guy. But when you have one, and someone decides to break it, how do we know you won't do it again, and again and again. The issue isn't whether a standard is a good thing or not, the issue is whether you get to throw out all our work.
Sam Ruby says the vote on whether to drop XML-RPC was ill-conceived and ill-timed. Hmm. No matter. Developers chose to stay with XML-RPC by a wide margin. So now we look to Evan Williams to change his statement about dropping support of XML-RPC. Turns out the developers don't want breakage. Not really much of a surprise, of course. Over to you Evan.
DotNetJunkies: Got RSS?
Rogers Cadenhead has been looking into an RSS validator.
BlagoNet is a Flash-based RSS reader.
Philip Greenspun: "Having been a passenger on an airplane that makes a carrier landing does not make our President into a front-line soldier."
7/4/1776: "We hold these truths to be self-evident."
Elmer Fudd: "Be vewy vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbits."
Yosemite Sam: "Dead rabbits tell no tales."
Name withheld: "I take it for granted that you've experienced LSD, as I have I. I'm wondering if some of these younger engineers have."
Denise Howell, a lawyer, says the harmonizer might be the thing that makes aggregators useful to her.
A hole in the design of the harmonizer. When I unsubscribe, it just deletes it in the central place, it doesn't percolate to the other aggregators. Hole closed in Radio implementation. I also want to do a Top-100 list of public feeds the members subscribe to.
Mark Bernstein sent an email to several developers asking us to comment on the latest goings-on. Here's what I said.
"John Robb said a few days ago what I believe will turn out to be true.
"The Wiki is there to give the illusion that it's a community process, but in the end the decision will be made on the basis of how many users and how much money each player has. Or how much sway, like a guy like Tim Bray.
"The smaller developers, with less money and fewer users are better served by staying with the formats and protocols developed over the last few years. They're easier to support and they are already supported.
"Imagine a railroad company that decided that the old railroad tracks had to be ripped up and rail laid on a different route. What about the towns that had grown up on the original route? Too bad so sad."
I wanted to do a bootstrap, in public, at the same time that many developers are exploring the work that I did over the last five or six years. I wanted to do the bootstrap to remind myself that they get the benefit of not having to go down the blind alleys, if they choose to respect prior art. It was hard work to get clients and servers in place to support the formats and protocols, when very few people believed there was value to the work. (Actually in some ways it was easier.)
To my chagrin none of the re-inventers have ever asked, "Hey Dave, why did you do it that way?" In fact they seem to assume that every decision that I made was wrong, they seem to go in the opposite direction from prior art, in kind of a random way. In my experience that is not a good way to design formats and protocols or software.
For example, some seem to place a high value on what XML-RPC looks like on the wire. This has come up before, and I have expressed an opinion that was rejected, that what matters is what the XML-RPC call looks like in your programming language. I still strongly believe that; and that's why over the years I've invested in making it easier and easier, without changing what's on the wire. It's also the reason Python is one of the more popular languages for XML-RPC apps, because it has a very flexible way of creating remote procedure calls that look much like local ones.
Anyway, I'm available for friendly questions, if they ever come. I did the formats and protocols in a totally open way, and borrowed from prior art where ever possible. Sir Isaac Newton said he could see further because he stood on the shoulders of giants. That's the way I like to develop. I steal ideas from the best. But in the software world, far too often, we stand on each others' toes, and hate the people who came before. This is the worst of what we do, and the sooner we nuke it, the faster we'll progress. Some days I think that's why we're in a depression in our industy, and we would instantly snap out of it if we started respecting each other better, which means listening without fear. After all, while Murphy's Law still applies to everything we do, so does Moore's Law. Growth should be easy, but our industry is not growing.
I don't expect this little essay to change the minds of people who hate me, probably quite the opposite, it will make them hate me more. But it will help the people who want to understand what's going on, and thereby may help to neutralize the hate, and help us achieve real forward motion, not circular motion, or worse, reverse motion, which is what happens when people tear down what works without understanding why it works.
My new subscriptions harmonizer is ready for the next step in the bootstrap. I have a test server up and running and an aggregator-side implementation running in Radio UserLand on two of my computers, and so far it works! Praise Murphy. If you have two or more Radios, and have experience using the object database, please give it a try. But read the instructions carefully. It's an open protocol, other developers are welcome, and I have a section of the RFC ready to point to them when they come online. If you have comments or questions on the Harmonizer, please post them here. Thanks!
Lessig: "Iím relieved to find myself again in disagreement with Declan."
Jake Savin disassembles Blogger's switch to SOAP. Jake is qualified to comment, having managed UserLand's work in SOAP interop in 2001.
Brent Simmons: "There are people who bought NetNewsWire to edit their Blogger weblogs, and these people are far more important than my being pissed off at Blogger."
More sensible comments from Brent. +1.
Daniel Berlinger nails it twenty-five different ways.
Trademark Blog: Hormel sues Spam Arrest.
A Russian article about RSS. Wish I could read it!
News.Com: "An increasingly popular technique for preventing e-mail abuse is frustrating some visually impaired Net users, setting the stage for a conflict between spam busters and advocates for the disabled."
Randy Morin: "Why did the biggest proponent of funky RSS remove the funkiness from his RSS?"
Wired News: "No one mentioned in the book, however, actually works here now."
I added Chris Pirillo's Amazon RSS feeds to the Services sub-section of Feeds in my RSS directory.
Brent Simmons offers a couple of tips for Radio/Frontier programmers.
Here's the plan for the next couple of weeks. Tomorrow I'll be at work, but there will not be a Thursday meeting at Berkman because of the holiday. Then on Friday and Saturday there will be no updates on Scripting News. Swimming in the woods, listening to music, and beta-testing some new Levis. If all goes well, updates should resume on Sunday. Then on Wednesday the 9th I disappear for a week, once again no Thursday meeting. There may be intermittent updates during the week, maybe not. I'm going to be in California, cleaning up lots of loose ends, probably moving servers around (arrgh), seeing friends, and chilling out in the coool Bay breeze.
The PKD Foundation is the "only organization, worldwide, devoted to improving clinical treatment and discovering a cure for Polycystic Kidney Disease."
Essay: Escaping Microsoft's Dominance. "[Google] could be the foundation for a platform, but this company is even less prepared to compete, imho, than Netscape was."
An Amazon employee with a weblog. "This is a cheap place. Wait, did I say cheap? I mean frugal."
Here's a sketch of how a Subscriptions Harmonizer would work for people who use more than one aggregator.
Brian Cantoni did a FTP-and-OPML-based harmonizer.
East Broadway Ron: "The Mets stink worse than East Broadway on a hot summer afternoon."
Jim Moore: "Moveon.org has about two million registered members. If half of them -- one million members -- gave just $1000 each, this would add up to a billion dollars."
Microdoc News: "You may be ignored, linked to, ranted at, but nevertheless, you can have your say on your own weblog and continue to be a member of the blogosphere."
AP: "Corbis Corp, a photography-archiving company owned by billionaire Bill Gates, filed a federal lawsuit Monday against Amazon.com and several partners, alleging copyright infringement."
Chris Pirillo's Amazon feeds are now customizable.
NY Times: "Buddy Hackett, the streetwise comedian from Brooklyn with a face like a plate of mashed potatoes, died yesterday at his beach house in Malibu, Calif. He was 78."
Register: "With patents allowed, small software companies may suddenly find themselves faced with accusations of patent infringement from IBM, Microsoft, HP, Sun etc etc. They can agree to pay a licence and see their profits slashed or go to court and spent on average £300,000 fighting the case."
Casady & Greene: "It is with profound regret that we inform you that Casady & Greene will close its doors on July 3rd, 2003, after nineteen years in the Software Publishing business. We have endured many industry downturns, but the last three years have presented a series of economic disasters from which we were unable to rebound."
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.