It's been a long time since I agreed with Clay Shirky, but this time he takes some clever shots at a sacred cow who just happens to be swimming in a nearby barrel. He describes the method of proponents of the Semantic Web. "First, take some well-known problem. Next, misconstrue it so that the hard part is made to seem trivial and the trivial part hard. Finally, congratulate yourself for solving the trivial part." Ha!
DNC: 2004 Primary Calendar.
Weather forecast: "Lows in the upper 20s." Brrr.
I got a demo and a new account on Clark's weblog space (in beta). It's quite rough in its implementation but solid in its philosophy. Some of the ideas outlined in this piece are implemented. It's good because it will up the ante for Dean, Edwards, Bush, et al. Remember the Browser Wars when Netscape and Microsoft were competing to give us the best access to the Web. Now we have competition among the candidates to give us the best access to each others' minds. How much progress that is! They used to think of us as eyeballs and couch potatoes.
One reason I like Jim Moore is that he helps me do what I want to do. Of course I don't mind sharing, but I like it even more if there's something in it for me.
All Headline News is a new service that generates RSS feeds for publications that don't have them. I've been working with Jeff Brown for the last few days, getting his RSS in shape, and it's looking pretty good now. It has an important feature, explained here, that allows you to set up search-based RSS feeds. Very powerful stuff.
Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi is on The Connection today; and Gary Wolf of Wired and Ryan Lizza from the New Republic. Wolf says the other candidates won't be able to catch up with Dean on the Web. Hmmm. I think that's not true. That makes me want to help the other guys. I'm a Mets fan, not a Yankees fan. Dean has to watch out for that. He's got a big target painted on his back. Also, they say that Dean actually already has made his mind up about campaign finance, and that the poll of his supporters is certain to return the result he wants. But the interviewer, Gail Harris, missed the obvious question -- what is the predetermined result? Seems like Interviewing 101.
It's great to see Dan Gillmor take on the big media companies as he takes on software developers. These days it's hard to tell the difference, even a campaigns for President are creating technology. It's all mixing together. We have to know who has integrity, who is willing to keep their processes visible. That's the spirit of the weblog work we're doing. To try to lead behind closed doors is a contradiction. There are lots of cynics among us, people just looking to make a buck. Dan gets his paycheck from a big media company, so it's especially important that he shine the light into his context. Good work.
Werblog: "Google reportedly rejected a $10 billion buyout offer from Microsoft, and is now launching a product that puts Google directly onto the Windows desktop."
Essay: We can't win in Iraq so let's get out, now.
Doc Searls: "Cam Barrett showed me some of the community network stuff he's planning for the Clark Campaign yesterday, and I'm impressed."
Lots of great ideas at last night's Berkman-Blogs meeting. We spent a lot of time talking about how to get more weblogs started at Harvard. Bob Stepno turned it around, and asked how we could track news sites that Harvard already maintains without weblog technology. I love it when somone reaches inside the balloon and pulls it out by the inside and the problem gets simpler. Now the problem is to find all the sites that change every day with news generated from Harvard, and aggregate them on one easy to read weblog-style page. In other words, instead of telling everyone they need to start weblogs, decide that they already have.
Our plans for hosting fell through. We have two great servers that should be ready to deploy this weekend or early next week, and nowhere to put them. We're looking for two U's of rack space in an easy drive from where we are. Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, Watertown, Newton, Lexington, Waltham. We can afford reasonable monthly bandwidth costs. These boxes will serve weblogs and special-purpose aggregators, and over time new stuff Andrew and I (and others) develop. If you have suggestions, please send an email. Thanks.
Two years ago today: "Use these motherfuckers with care."
Three years ago, the beginning of the crazy post-election mess of Y2K. Bush won't concede Florida, the headline read. Little did we know what was coming next.
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