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Permanent link to archive for Friday, October 03, 2003. Friday, October 03, 2003

BloggerCon essay: The Rule of Win-Win.  

I'm going through all the pages linked into the Day 2 grid, correcting time mistakes caused by the last schedule juggle. When they disagree, the time in the grid is the correct time. Sorry for the screwups.  

Jim Armstrong reminds that there was an event very much like BloggerCon at Foothill College in Cupertino, CA on March 25, 2000. Phil Wolff and Dan Gillmor, who will be here tomorrow, were at that event. I wonder who else? It also will be much like the live sessions we did at Seybold in the mid-90s. One of those had over a thousand people. Craig Cline who was my Seybold rabbi, will be here tomorrow. All these events rocked. My sincere hope is that tomorrow's show comes off as smoothly, and is as memorable five and ten years from now. My guess is that it will.  

We have an incredible team. Wendy Koslow, Erin Judge, Hal Roberts, Jesse Ross, Bob Doyle, Tracy Adams, Michael Feldman, Catherine Bracy, Susan "Sooz" Kaup, Maggie Cohen, Patrick Lewis, Lindsay Blohm. The law school came through and is letting us use WiFi! (Hal Roberts confirms that it works.) We've gotten fantastic support from the Berkman directors, especially John Palfrey and Charlie Nesson. A special thanks to Wendy, for managing the conference so incredibly well and taking such good care of the speakers and participants; and to Charlie who's the founder and guiding light of Berkman. What an honor for me to be introduced by Charlie tomorrow. What an honor to be able to welcome so many cool people to such a cool place!  

Thanks to Myron Kassaraba for starting the BloggerCon PhotoBlog. I plan to post some of my own photos. 

Adam Curry: "I'm off to meet Chris Lydon at Berkman."  

Perseus Development Corp "randomly surveyed 3,634 blogs on eight leading blog-hosting services to develop a model of blog populations." 

New addition to the ROWW: "The simplest example of this rule is the Reciprocal Link. If someone points to you does that create an obligation to point back? Absolutely not. But if you, at some point in the future, find something on the other site worthy of a link, you can say thanks for the link by pointing to it. There's no reason for this ever to stop. Linking is virtually free, and good for you, like Vitamin C." 

Griff Wigley: "It was 22 here yesterday morn! Go Twins!" 

Doc: "In fact.... well, stay tuned." 

I just heard about this conference to discuss the future of Silicon Valley. This is what I left behind. Did I do the right thing? Absolutely. The East Coast has been much better for me. If I ever go back to the West Coast, I won't go to "Silicon Valley." That's over. As they say, your mileage may vary.  

For the record, I believe in the power of editing. I practice it myself. I have an essay I'm working on today that I wrote two days ago but held up so I could edit it with a fresh perspective. What I don't believe in, emphatically, is what comes after editing, and often is called editing -- dumbing it down -- the notion that some thoughts are too complicated for the audience. I quit the system that requires this kind of editing because, after editing, I was saying things I didn't agree with. There's no point writing for such a system, other than earning a paycheck. And they weren't paying very much, not that that matters. At Harvard, at times, when it might appear that I'm speaking for the university, I have to be careful, and I always get approval for those things. But most of the time, "voice of the individual" applies. And unedited, to me, means you're hearing what I think, not group-think

Mark Bernstein: "The mass audience can only hear the brutal, the stupid, the squalid -- the simplest messages of sensuality and fear." 

Mitch Ratcliffe: What is good about unedited? 

I added Mitch's piece to the list of BloggerCon essays, it clearly belongs in the discussion.  

Jeff Jarvis: "I wouldn't blast them -- unless I'd ended up stranded on I-95." 

Sara Wedeman: "Because there are many, many voices, we have a chance to stumble on one that conveys a different view than our own." 

0xDECAFBAD: "I'm really interested in seeing where this goes, because this comparison of RSS-Data, RSS namespace extensions, and even RDF seems like another very concrete, non-theoretical way to demonstrate the benefits and drawbacks of these ways of thinking about data and interoperability." 

I've heard from Adam, Doc and Lance. They seem to like the hotel.  

According to Adamsj, Delta Web Fares from Atlanta to Boston, round trip, $128. It's still not too late. You can get here for Day 2. Cheap date. Dress warmly, bring an umbrella. 

A picture named egg.gifGood morning sports fans and welcome to the kickoff day for BloggerCon. It's very cold, in the 30s, but the sky is clear, and they're forecasting a beautiful New England fall day, highs in the 50s. People are starting to arrive. Last night's meeting at Berkman was packed, lots of new faces and old friends. I have a lot of work to do, not the least of which involves writing at least two essays, but for me, the conference planning is over. Now it's time to do. 

Jay at Makeoutcity 

One of our semi-regulars at Berkman Thursdays is Jay from MakeoutCity.Com. He's a student at UMass-Lowell, and works in the software industry there. He's probably about 19, skinny, Elvis Costello-type glasses, gelled hair. Let's see, that makes him about 30 years my junior. But he's a hell of nice guy and smart. Somehow he sees things that I miss. Like for example last night on the walk back from dinner he told me that most people his age think that talk radio is bullshit.

Chris Locke the Rageboy 

radioChris Locke and Halley Suitt came to the Thursday night meeting. Chris is in from Boulder, CO. Based on last night's conversation, in front of about 25 other people, including Jay, I wonder if we're in agreement at all about what we're doing in the weblog world. Of course there's no law that we have to be in agreement. And if we're not, it's good because you can read both our blogs and get two views of the same data. This is called triangulation, and it's one of the great things about having lots of people writing.

Jacob Levy on Zawodny 

A few days ago on the Zawodny blog, Jacob Levy, who I've known for many years, said I was full of shit because many people won't make blogs at all, and most people who do will make stupid ones. Perhaps, yes; perhaps no. But I still want to start billions of blogs, if only so that the 100,000 really great ones also start. Sometimes you have to plant a lot of seeds.

And perhaps we were meant to entertain and inspire each other in small numbers. Whatever happened to singing around the campfire, or family singing at holidays? Just because a handful of people do it so perfectly, does it mean that the rest of us should be deprived of the pleasure of self-expression.

5/13/02: "Perhaps the centralized system, that led to such a suffocating monoculture, was a historic anomaly, an artifact? The technology of the phonograph, radio and television demanded centralization. Distribution was expensive. To pay for distribution we needed financial entities who would be rewarded for risks."

One of my favorite pieces of music is a really funky song my uncle recorded decades ago that never made it on the air. It was great because he was such a funny guy. To get it you had to know him. That made me feel good, still does. Someone once told me that blogs were hokey and funky. I said "I like hokey and funky." She groaned -- "I know."

Citizen bloggers 

THINK!Overlooked in the press articles about blogs, probably because the reporters don't understand technology, is an interesting fact: blogs have been used to create some kickass formats and protocols. XML-RPC, SOAP, RSS, OPML, Blogger API, MetaWeblog API, Trackback. These formats are being used widely by all kinds of developers. Markets are being made around them. These formats and protocols could never have happened going through the proscribed methods, where the working groups are dominated by people who are not motivated to keep things simple and easy to understand and implement. These are facts, hard to refute, yet still not widely understood.

Now why should a non-techie care about this? Because it could happen again, in other areas, like politics and government. Howard Dean's campaign is just the beginning of what's possible when citizens take innovation in government into their own hands, the way we did in technology. Think what new formats and protocols would mean to politics and government. And today, I am just as committed to making that happen as I was committed in the mid-90s to have my freedom from the big technology companies. Mark my words, much more is possible than Dean's raising so much money on the Web.

This is where Lessig and I are in synch. We're talking about code. The same tools which design and popularize great code can be used to design and popularize great code. Lessig won't be at BloggerCon, unfortunately. But Lessig came through Berkman, and left behind lots of ideas and lots of love. He's here in spirit, for sure.

Cameron Barrett 

Looking around tomorrow's room, in my head, I see Cameron Barrett, chief blogger for the Clark campaign. I also see a guy who went to Siberia last year, and started his weblog in 1997.

1997. That was one of the big years. It's the year Scripting News started. The tools were starting to mature. There were other people to read. You could still count the blogs on your fingers and toes, but it seemed huge compared to where it was a year before. It always seems huge when you're on the kind of curve blogs are on.

Now Cam gets to lead again. Talking with him on the phone, he sounds excited, clear, knows what he's doing.

Jim Moore says his blog started on April 1 this year. I bet he doesn't know that's also the start day of Scripting News. "It's even worse than it appears."


Last update: Monday, October 06, 2003 at 5:58 PM Eastern.

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