This year's song: "He was playing real good for free."
A new header for a new year. Taken at the last game of the World Series, at Shea Stadium in Flushing, NY on 10/30/00. The Mets are in the field, a Yankee at bat as the pitcher winds up and throws. At first I thought I'd use the ancient Shea scoreboard, but it didn't work as well as the infield.
Paul Boutin: 101 Ways to Save the Internet.
A story about stories inspired by Big Fish.
Four years ago: "That's it for this millennium!"
One of the cool things about New Years is we get a new year in the On This Day In list. Okay, it's not really that cool.
The NY Times asks if CBS paid Michael Jackson $1 million for the 60 Minutes interview. "In essence they paid him" for the interview, the Jackson associate said of CBS, "but they didn't pay him out of the 60 Minutes budget; they paid him from the entertainment budget, and CBS just shifts around the money internally. That way 60 Minutes can say 60 Minutes didn't pay for the interview."
Pet peeve: Print pubs that mis-spell Dan Gillmor's name. Every time I see it, and it happens a lot, I wonder what happened to all the editing that supposedly is backing up every print article.
Warning -- if you're the type of person who doesn't watch movie trailers and you haven't seen Big Fish, skip this section. On the other hand, I promise not to reveal anything about the movie that isn't in the trailer.
Tim Burton, the director and producer of Big Fish, is a master story-teller. Is there anything more to Tim Burton than his stories? Suppose I met him at a party and asked "Who are you really, I mean without the stories?" Could he give a meaningful answer? I suspect Burton is telling us, in Big Fish, no. Speaking through one of his characters he says "I can be who ever you want me to be."
My uncle, who died a few months ago, was a big story-teller. We used to joke when he'd start to tell a story that we'd heard dozens of times -- oh that's story number 278,291. In his stories, as with all our stories, he's the hero, he overcomes great odds to prevail, in a funny, lesson-learning way. Today my uncle is dead and guess what, there's nothing more to him now than his stories, and our stories about him. Do any of them have anything to do with who the true man was? See, that's really hard to say.
We seem to think there's more to a person, that you can sort of lift up the floorboard, and underneath the stories, find the soul, the essence of the person. But I'm beginning to wonder. Could it be that our purpose is to tell a story, and that the better lived a life is, the better the story that survives after you're gone?
The story behind this movie really gets you thinking. And that kind of story, for me, is the very best kind.
BBC: "The inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, has been awarded a knighthood for his pioneering work."
Jay Rosen: "Ordinarily we make New Year's Resolutions for ourselves, not for other people."
Brent Simmons: "I except 2004 to be fun."
Last year on this day was my first trip to Harvard. It was cold and snowy. Harvard Square was empty, I got lost, but found my way to Berkman, had a great meeting with John Palfrey, and that led to me becoming part of the team there. Today it's warm and spring-like, the square is empty, the campus quiet. It's been a wonderful year. Thanks to everyone who made 2003 so productive, fun, so unusual.
BBC: "More people looked for information about the file-swapping program Kazaa than anything else on the net in 2003."
Wired: "Gibson's maverick CEO wants to shove Ethernet up your ax and rock the music world."
InfoWorld: "Phil Goldman, the founder and chief executive officer of Mailblocks and one of the founders of WebTV Networks has died at age 39, according to a statement released by the company on Sunday."
SF Chronicle: "A fitness nut, Mr Goldman seemed in excellent health, said those who knew him. After a long night of programming, Mr Goldman often headed over to Gold's Gym to lift weights, Perlman recalled. He was also notoriously careful about his diet."
Kay Trammel picks up on the Universal Story ID idea.
Harvard Magazine profiles our humble little community.
Today's movie -- Big Fish. One word review: Wonderful.
Mike Walsh: "I wish there were a Universal Story ID Number in the blogosphere."
Andrew Grumet: "The first Getting Started with Weblogs class will be held a week from tomorrow at MIT Sloan, building E52."
Edwards received the endorsement of Hootie & the Blowfish.
Over the Christmas holiday I started a new moderated mail list for people who use RSS. It's off to a great start. No flames of course, and lots of good ideas, and a discussion about feeds with excerpts.
USA Today: "This will be the year downloadable music goes legitimate," says Dave Fester, general manager of Microsoft's digital media division.
Betsy Devine: "On December 13, President George W. Bush signed a big chunk of Patriot II into law -- but the 'major media' were focused on Saddam's spider hole."
"thinkUsaAlignRight"BTW, Wired News had an article about it in late November, I pointed to it and Jason Lefkowitz got angry and went into motion. I've heard Republican spin masters say that we need a positive optimistic vision for the future, not people who are angry about the past. Remember, when you hear that bullshit, they're not wanting you to think about the Fourth and First Amendments which are being dismantled. Do you think Uncle Sam was angry about Pearl Harbor or the Nazis? Yeah I'm angry. And that's the correct way to be.
The Scotsman: "Every political animal -- from George W Bush downwards -- began to notice the potential for communicating directly with voters without irritating media types getting in the way. The political weblog was born."
A rambling essay on friendship, the Dean campaign, ping-spam.
Scoble: "Why didn't Silicon Valley happen in Kansas?"
mobileRSS is a "Web-based client for reading RSS feeds."
For 10 points, write a caption for this picture of a moose kissing a kitten.
The Wikipedia, an incredible resource, needs $20K to stay afloat.
Two years ago today: "The people who do the standards work at the BigCo's can be great engineers, some of them are very smart and experienced people, but as you can see in specs like UDDI and WSDL, they also have to work with low-road idiots who carve out political power in their companies by polluting simple ideas with incomprehensible compromises."
Also on that day: "In the end the only teams that matter are the Cubs, Red Sox and of course the Mets."
Elvis Mitchell's ten best movies of 2003.
Kaye Trammel: "You don't have to try be gendered on your blog -- chances are that it just happens naturally. After all, that is what being gendered is all about."
Sarah Leonard, spokeswoman for the Dean campaign: "What you're seeing is a career politician desperate to save his political career."
Here's a question. When the campaigning politician talks to the press they do it separately from their pep rallies for voters. Why? I'd like to hear what they say to the reporters. Wouldn't a grass roots campaign like Dean do that? Jim Moore, I wonder what you think about this. Is that true to the Second Superpower concept, which you developed?
At a restaurant in Queens today an Asian woman lugging a suitcase goes from table to table offering DVDs for $5. Movies that are currently in the theaters. I had never seen this before. I found it disheartening. Calling this piracy is totally fair, imho.
The Unisphere in Flushing Meadow Park, in Queens.
Six years ago today: "A new Scripting News feature. Soooon, you'll be able to hook up to the news flow thru XML."
Boston Globe: "McGovern, now 81, places himself, and Dean, 'right in the mainstream of the Democratic Party' on all issues besides the wars each have opposed."
Paul Krugman: "I don't know why some journalists seem so concerned about politicians' clothes as opposed to, say, their policy proposals. But unless you're a fashion reporter, obsessing about clothes is an insult to your readers' intelligence." Bing!
Microsoft has announced a unique approach to stopping spam. "For any piece of e-mail I send, it will take a small amount computing power of about 10 to 20 seconds. When you see that proof, you treat that message with more priority." Normal email senders won't notice the delay and filters on your mail client will be able to tell high priority mail from low priority spam. Very clever. I was briefed on it a few months ago, and as long as they are making the technique freely available I support it. If it's another patent gateway I'm afraid we're just trading the evil of spam for another evil. Which is lesser is a good question.
The RSS-User mail list is a miracle. It's the first time, to my knowledge, that there's been a discussion of RSS that wasn't dominated by developers. All I'm doing so far is approving messages, I just posted a couple at the start. I won't let through messages that are developer issues or ad hominems. Should have done this a long time ago. BTW, on some blogs they're saying my stint at Berkman is about to run out. Although I've asked them to run corrections, they haven't. So I'll correct it here. My fellowship goes through the end of next semester, and we're working on plans that go beyond that. Nothing in life is certain of course, but I hope to be employed by Harvard for quite some time, Murphy-willing of course.
BBC: "The prospects for the Beagle 2 lander on Mars look increasingly gloomy after a radio sweep of the planet failed to detect any sign of the UK-built probe."
Dare Obasanjo: "My day job involves reading or writing specs all day. Most of the specs I read either were produced by the W3C or by folks within Microsoft. Every one of them contains contradictions, ambiguities and lack crucial information for determining in edge cases. Some are better than others but they all are never well-defined enough. Every spec has errata."
Today's song: "Oh the weather outside is frightful.."
Computer rendition of Let It Snow.
Final challenge for the morning -- hooking up a Ceiva digital picture frame. It has to connect to the phone line. The phone cable they gave us with the unit, with standard phone jacks at either end, doesn't fit into the back of the unit. We spent a half-hour trying different angles, it just doesn't fit. Then we tried taking the cord that connects the base unit of an old Princess-type phone to its handset, and that fits. Unfortunately that won't fit into the wall. I'm afraid this one has me licked. (For now.)
My next challenge -- figure out how to get my Sony DSC-P9 camera to connect to my IBM laptop over USB. In the past, when I used a Sony laptop I could just pop the memory stick out of the camera and plop it into the laptop. The IBM, as far as I know, doesn't have a memory stick slot. So when I plug the USB cable in, nothing shows up on the desktop. I assume this means I have to install some software on the laptop. (Postscript: I just had to turn the camera on. D'oh!)
Driving from Boston to NYC my Creative Rhomba went kaput saying things like English Font Only and get new firmware from creative.com. I didn't have a chance to look it up till now, doing a quick search on Google turns up lots of people getting the same messages. Where do you get new firmware? If you got it how would you install it? Geez Louise. It's not heavy enough to be a boat anchor. (Postscript: A pointer to the answer was on Creative's European support forum. Users to the rescue. Bing.)
Philadelphia Inquirer: "Air France canceled six flights between Paris and Los Angeles yesterday after U.S. intelligence reports indicated that al-Qaeda might be planning to hijack aircraft for a Sept 11-style suicide attack, US officials said."
Channel Z status -- I'm using it every day, in fact I'm using it to write this post. At some point I plan to put in another month or so of intense work, not sure exactly when. Now I'm gaining experience as a user. And my experience as a developer with thousands of users of new Web authoring software has taught me to go slow at this stage. Once deployed, the demands of users get overwhelming quickly.
B52s: "I am living on Channel Z." Me too!
There's been a bunch of comment on my editorial yesterday, most of it missing the point, widely. Candidates have to earn my vote, and they won't if they say one thing and do another. They don't stand a chance competing with commercial software developers, yet that's exactly what two leading candidates are doing. Further, the software market in America is depressed, and I think that's partly caused by people expecting to get software for free.
A candidate who wanted to help software jobs come back to NH, a high-tech state, could do something right now to help. No need to wait till they're elected. And I don't agree with people who say the candidate's job is to get elected. Sure, that's probably the way the candidate views it. But I'm not a candidate, I'm a member of the electorate and a taxpayer. I've yet to vote in a presidential election that means something. I'd like to, someday. I honestly don't think this is the year, but I'm doing my part to shift the focus to the voters and away from 60-second TV commercials. What are you doing?
BTW, Dean is a very average candidate. His handlers ought to tell him to answer questions frankly. He got a question about the airplane they were using and tax dodges. He was asked if the story was true and he said No, and didn't comment further. He said some really nasty personal things about George Bush and John Kerry, kind of schoolyard stuff. Not something you'd expect from a Presidential candidate. That people are rallying around this guy gives you an idea how desperate we are for leadership. I think we can do better, much better.
About open source being un-American --> wrong. It's almost totally American. Think about all the big open source titles, projects all led by Americans (or Fins living in America). Sometimes I wonder if these people even bother to read the things they critique.
Some critics have pointed out that I've done plenty of software for free. True. In fact, since 1988 I've only done software for free. Did it make me happy? No. I yearn to be paid for software again. I've learned, the hard way, that people don't appreciate stuff they get for nothing.
Jay McCarthy: "The point should not be to get elected to office. The point should be to be the person who the people want to be in office. Don't convince them, be their voice."
Antoin O Lachtnain: "I gave up smoking quite a while back, and I have been meaning to take it up again now for some years.
MyWireService "delivers the headlines and summaries to you in an easy to scan page."
Went to a Broadway matinee, it was great, a musical, lots of fun!
The RSS-User mail list is off to a great start with 81 members. It works because it's moderated. All the posts have been about feeds and howtos, no politics, no personal attacks.
Bush officials tell holiday stories, including Karl Rove reading Santa's New Reindeer. Requres Real (video).
NY Times: "Gephardt's aides say he has to win Iowa to have any hope of gaining the Democratic nomination."
Wired: "If we're still in the race in a few months, I think you'll see a tremendous amount of development."
Wouldn't it be great if Dean and Clark went after Viacom, ClearChannel and Time-Warner, instead of the tiny companies that make blogging and social networking tools.
I find myself hoping they get their asses kicked, hard. I don't expect much of Bush, but I doubt seriously that he would undermine the mostly American software industry by competing with it with free software. Makes the Dems' pitch about exporting American high-tech jobs to India fairly hollow (NH is a high-tech state, so it has been an issue).
One of the reasons American programmers aren't competing here (in America) is that users expect to get software for free, and in that environment little new stuff gets created, and we have to keep creating to justify the greater amount of money we make (over Indians). But if all we make are commodities, then Indians working for low pay beat Americans working for free. (People who work for free have no incentive to please users, or even create usable software.)
How sad to see two leading Democrats fall for, even feed the lie that they can create user-oriented software for free. Shame on both Dean and Clark. They went after the little guy. Who wants a president who does that. Not me. Still looking for someone worth supporting.
NY Times: "The federal government said this evening that the first suspected case of so-called mad cow disease had been discovered in the United States."
A new Manila macro, available only on Harvard's server (for now) is a clone of the Radio macro that displays recent blog posts.
Lessig: "Enough already!"
Highly recommend Mort Sahl on NPR's Fresh Air today.
Scott Rosenberg: "Today's open-minded kids are tomorrow's democratic majority."
Bryan Bell's viral marketing scheme for the Central California Falcon Club.
Update at 4:30PM. First the good news. Shanti Braford responded to my emails. It's not a denial-of-service attack, it's just a buggy bot. The bad news -- the flood continues unabated. About five requests per second. A huge waste of bandwidth and money.
I was about to begin a day away from the computer, and decided to check my server log, and saw tens of thousands of accesses by a bot at 184.108.40.206 of a single file. It's reading a fairly large file about 100K times per hour. I entered the IP address in my browser. This usually doesn't get you anything but this time it got me an empty Movable Type weblog for "Shanti Braford." I looked up this person on Google, and found that he is the author of Popdex. So this probably isn't a denial of service attack, rather a script with a bug -- a bug that's costing me a boatload of money. If you're friends with Mr Braford please call him up and ask him to kill the script. In the meantime I've temporarily removed the file (sorry) to help minimize the damage.
Dowbrigade: "Dean has reached the Pact-with-the-Devil stage of his political ascension, and how he handles it will go a long way toward determining the ultimate impact of his campaign, if not its objective success."
Sun pulls the plug on Cobalt. Coincidentally, Scripting News is no longer served on the Qube. For the record, it was a revolutionary breakthrough product. A computer that didn't have a keyboard or a screen, but did have HTTP. It was the inspiration for Manila, it showed that real applications could interface through the Web. Too bad they sold out to Sun, that form factor with that kind of software had a big future, imho.
NY Times profile of Elizabeth Spiers.
As an experiment, I put Google AdSense ads on the weblogs.com home page. Immediately it makes me laugh. "Handmade Leather Journals." The perfect gift for the blogger who has everything.
I started a moderated mail list for people who use RSS, either as a publisher or reading feeds in an aggregator. The list is moderated to keep it on topic and away from personal issues. It's just about using RSS, not debating its merits or other formats that may be like RSS. I wanted to have this list to get ready for the session I'm doing at RSS Winterfest, below, and of course if it's an active resource it'll be around for a long time after that.
Scott Rosenberg: "Our office tower just started swaying. Stopped now. Seems like there was just a medium-size quake in the Bay Area."
AP: "An earthquake estimated at magnitude 6.5 rocked California from Los Angeles to San Francisco on Monday, collapsing downtown buildings in one town near the epicenter, causing several unspecified injuries in the region and a widespread blackout."
Reuters: "Ralph Nader said he wants to make another White House bid in 2004 and will announce a decision next month."
You can tell Ralph to run, or not, in this Web form.
In Salon, Scott Rosenberg explains how Microsoft is using weblogs to spawn a culture around the Longhorn version of Windows, in development. You have to get a free day pass or buy a subscription to read Scott's column.
RSS Winterfest is a two-day conference, Jan 21-22, for people who use RSS. An audio conference that you participate in over the telephone. No charge, but registration is required. Should be very interesting. I'm doing the opening session, from a conference room at Harvard Law School, with people who are using RSS, and we'll talk about what they want to do with RSS, what they like about today's software, what they don't like; products and services they might want to buy. How do you feel about ads in RSS? How can schools, businesses, the government, better use RSS? Comment here.
Lessig's on a roll. Lots of interesting posts today. Go get em.
Taegan Goddard reports on a poll showing Dean leading narrowly in a crowded field in South Carolina. "Dean leads with 16 percent and is followed by Wesley Clark at 12 percent, Al Sharpton at 12 percent, and John Edwards at 11 percent. "
Jon Udell: "XML documents, flowing through XML plumbing, can now deliver very real and tangible benefits."
The Clarkbot is a "Perl script written by Rick Heller. It searches the Feedster RSS search engine for references to "Wesley Clark" To be picked up by the Clarkbot, a blog must generate an RSS Feed, and that feed must be listed with Feedster."
I went to see Dean speak yesterday. I wonder how many people who support him have. Then I stumbled across an essay I wrote in 1998, about the Vietnam War and Clinton, and how we got to this place where we elect people who are "Successively better airbrushed, more and more tuned to polls, fighting for the center, telling us what they think we want to hear, trying to nudge the numbers up, but not relying on the minds of the electorate. They were smart not to rely on our minds, because there was no evidence that we wanted to use our minds." That was totally consistent what I saw with Dean last night. There were 150 people in the room, mostly it was about lies, bedtime stories, telling people what they want to hear. No minds activated. Some good lines, a glimmer that minds may have played a role in the Dean campaign at one time, but not today. Now they're trying to get elected, and I believe in doing so are guaranteeing that they won't. If you're looking for an airbrushed guy, Clark is much stronger. I don't know why people care how much money Dean has raised, that's just going to buy commercials. I'd love to see one of the pols use their money to solve some problems now, win or lose. Put some teeth behind We Love The Internet and The Internet Loves Us.
Ed Cone: "North Carolina should be a great proving ground for Internet campaigning at a state level."
Two years ago today Brent Simmons said: "I'm 200, you're 200." It's cool because you have to know HTTP to get it.
The Guardian's A-Team blogger list.
Phillip Pearson: "I wrote a Python script that downloads a web page, then examines all linked pages to try to find their RSS feeds."
Back from New Hampshire with pics of Dean and Lieberman.
Jessica Baumgart's notes on yesterday's trip to NH.
Jon Postel: "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send."
Chronicle: "A massive San Francisco power outage on one of the busiest shopping days of the year turned the normal chaos of the Saturday before Christmas into surreal confusion -- disrupting traffic, shutting down two transit stations and disorienting thousands of suburbanites who visit the city only a few times a year."
Marshall McLuhan: "The medium is the message."
John F Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
Bloggable campaign events today in NH. Dean, Lieberman, Clark.
Frank Rich: "The political establishment has been blindsided by the Internet's growing sophistication as a political tool -- and therefore blindsided by the Dean campaign -- much as the music industry establishment was by file sharing and the major movie studios were by The Blair Witch Project, the amateurish under-$100,000 movie that turned viral marketing on the Web into a financial mother lode."
Karlin Lillington reviews Radio UserLand.
New version of mainResponder.respond for Frontier users, adds ETag support and optimizes all pages served by mainResponder.
Pictures taken at Clark and Gephardt talks today.
Saw two presidential campaigns today: Clark (in Derry, NH) and Gephardt (Manchester). I asked Clark a question, to see if he had an idea that money might not be such a big issue in this election and future elections. This is an idea Lessig tried to explain in his Lydon interview, and that I've been saying over and over. Now Jeff Jarvis has echoed the idea via Jay Rosen -- the campaigns, while they use the Internet, are one-way not two-way. That's what I was hoping Clark would say, and he almost did. Got a lot of good pictures, not sure how I want to present them yet. Clark has become a much more compelling candidate since the last time I saw him, before BloggerCon, in Sept. Gephardt, imho, was going through the motions. Lots of laborers there. He talked about jobs and health care. Clark almost gave a schpiel about the First Amendment. He's getting close to where I want a candidate to be. Also, I really feel he could beat Bush, if he can win the nomination. I had audio, but somehow the Rhomba decided to format itself, and in doing so, wiped out the recordings. Next time I'll copy the files as soon as I plug the device in.
Kaye Trammel asks what RSS can do for you, and almost nails it. It's true you are being generous by publishing what you write in RSS; and it does make it easier for the reader, but you get something in return -- commitment. A person who subscribes to your weblog is saying they want a permanent relationship, they want to read everything you say. Someone who doesn't subscribe comes when they remember, or when someone else points to you. Not much commitment there. BTW, a subscription doesn't mean they agree with you, or even like you. Remember the old agage: Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.
Erika Stutzman: "The University of North Carolina's School of Journalism and Mass Communication is hosting a Weblogs in Journalism seminar in January, yet another sign that the online journals and forums are starting to mature."
First, if this time of year makes you cheerful, have a happy. I'm pretty ambivalent. There are some things I like and some things I don't. I see the pressure to buy for what it is. Pressure, which I don't like, and commercialism, which I also don't like. I love buying nice things, but almost no one knows how to do that for me like I do. I suspect that's true of everyone.
One of the things I like about this time of year is that so many people seem to have a time to do interesting and fun things. It's like everyone gets a mini-sabbatical. It's time to go to a game, to the movies, a museum, out to a long lunch or visit with a few bloggers you haven't stayed in touch with. Next week I'm going to be in NYC. Maybe there will be an opportunity to do some or all of that.
Randy Charles Morin sent a question about this. Does the blogosphere pick up or go on holiday during the holidays? Here's what I said.
1. I don't have any data, but I do have subjectives.
2. The actual flow goes down, around the 25th way down.
3. But the volume of real work goes up, because people have time for projects that require attention or thinking, which they have more of in the coming two-three weeks.
I've done some of my best work in this period in years past. My first two XML projects, siteChanges.xml and scriptingNews format (which became half of RSS 0.91) were hatched in December 1997. Last year in this time period I helped my parents get through a tough time. I was telling my brother yesterday that I have fond memories of this, it gave me a strong sense of purpose, and a sense that I made a difference. That also happened during the holidays last year.
So mostly the holidays are good. I especially like it when stress isn't a big part of it.
David Davies: "Let's see those video moblogs!"
Just heard an interview on NPR with Todd Rundgren about music on the Internet, the value of a song, albums, and how the users are now in control. Todd says that iTunes is the wrong model because it commoditizes music, with every tune priced at 99 cents. He's the guy to look to for the killer app in online music, he's always been first. I played a Rundgren song at last week's webcast and people groaned "Oh that's 80s music." What I didn't say is that's music from the guy who could figure out how music on the Internet works as an art. (And besides that, it was 70s not 80s music.) This week I played a Rundgren-produced song, and the kids liked it. He was one of my heroes in the 70s and 80s, and then later when personal computers took off I got to hang out with him in San Francisco.
Chris Lydon interviews Larry Lessig. Just listened to it, great stuff.
Reminder -- there's a special RSS feed for Lydon interviews, with enclosures, that can automatically be downloaded overnight by enclosure-aware aggregators and feed readers.
Fantastic story by Zeldman of the beautiful website for a Semantic Web conference. Is it semantic? No, but it is beautiful.
I was joking with a friend about doing a new format, MCS, an acronym for More Complex Syndication. Here's how you'd cook it. When Atom starts settling down, make a list of features it has that aren't present in RSS 2.0. Then copy the RSS 2.0 spec, creating a new document. Do a search and replace, changing the string RSS to MCS. Replace the Roadmap section with a single acronym, TBD. Then carefully add all the features on the list generated in part 1. Then as Atom changes, change the MCS draft spec to include the new features and remove the deprecated ones. Of course this is a joke, I have no plans to actually do it.
This is a test post. There was an error when I tried to demo routing to weblogs.com last night and the error recovery was inadequate (it left around an invalid structure). So I fixed it so it cleans up after itself, and tried again, and this time it worked. Next time there's an error it'll recover better, and also will leave around a message for me so I can tell what went wrong. It wasn't broken, it just wasn't prepared for something to go wrong.
News.Com: "What is the impact for peer-to-peer fans of a court decision that knocks back the recording industry's legal strategy for tracking down and suing alleged file swappers?"
Economist: "The coffee-houses that sprang up across Europe, starting around 1650, functioned as information exchanges for writers, politicians, businessmen and scientists."
Ryan: "So here's a kiss, for Joey and for Wendy. You've just shown me another beautiful side of the Internet."
BBC: "There was more bad news for the record labels, this time from the Dutch Supreme Court."
NY Times: "The broad presidential powers invoked by the Bush administration after the Sept 11 attacks to detain suspected terrorists are now being challenged by the courts."
Announcing: Dean Community News.
Jim, the address for tonight's webcast is likely the same address as last week's. We're in the conference room now, Jay McCarthy is here setting up the webcast. Here's the link to the IRC channel. The webcast has started. We're kicking the show off with Paradise By The Dashboard Light by Meatloaf. Here's the page of notes for this meeting.
News.Com: "RealNetworks sued Microsoft on antitrust charges."
Cook Report: "The unusually strong approval numbers among his fellow Republicans builds Bush a very high floor, but the equally strong degree of opposition among Democrats constructs an unusually low ceiling."
Kaye Trammell: Why the Fox Searchlight Pictures Blog Sucks.
NY Times: "Google, the Internet search engine, has begun an experiment with book publishers in which the contents of the first chapters of books, reviews or other bibliographic information is indexed and made available to Web surfers."
More about tonight's demo. I'll explain how the Dean campaign is using the Internet in ways you didn't know about, and that I didn't know about until last night. My eyes popped when I saw what they were doing. Jay Rosen, whose nephew Zack is the Dean developer, got a sneak preview. "Very exciting Dave. Mega cool. Did Zack help with this?" To which I said: "Yes he did, but due to the power of standards, he didn't know he did. ;->" That's the way it's supposed to work. Open level playing field. Anyone who wants to can innovate. Small pieces, loosely joined. Tune in to tonight's webcast. The app I'm demoing is a Web app so you'll be able to follow along from home. 7PM Eastern.
Rebecca Blood on weblogs.
John Palfrey on ICANN.
Doc Searls on presentations.
Clay Shirky on the RIAA.
Jay Rosen on journalism
I've got a total kickass demo for tonight's Berkman meeting, which is on, and Murphy-willing will be webcast.
Boston Globe: "IDG World Expo, the Framingham company that is moving its flagship MacWorld Expo convention from New York to Boston, said yesterday that it is doing the same with another of its technology industry trade shows in 2005."
La Fing interviews Chris Pirillo and JY Stervinou about RSS.
Wired: "Voter advocate Bev Harris alleged Tuesday that managers of a subsidiary of Diebold, one of the country's largest voting equipment vendors, included a cocaine trafficker, a man who conducted fraudulent stock transactions and a programmer jailed for falsifying computer records."
Two years ago: "As your body ages you learn in many ways that your shit does stink. It's a constant reminder. If you didn't have a sense of humor before, aging gives you one."
Fastbuzz is a new centralized RSS aggregator.
NY Times: "Better coffee a millionaire's money can't buy."
Changes.xml for RSS feeds. "It seems that aggregators and feed readers can make good use of the flow of changes, to discover new feeds that may interest readers; and to optimize polling."
Today's song: "It was a night like this forty million years ago."
I dialed into one of my servers to be greeted by an error window that made me wonder "How does it know?"
BBC: "Film fans who have just seen the final installment of The Lord of the Rings trilogy have been heaping praise on the much-anticipated movie."
Brent Simmons: "The MetaWeblog API does exactly what I need."
If you hate the Yankees, as I do, please click on this link, but before you do so, swallow your coffee.
Here's how I'm handling apps that request changes.xml too often. The rule is that you may access changes.xml three times an hour. After that you'll get a 503 Service Unavailable response. I also included a Retry-After response header.
FreshMeat has a new XML-RPC interface.
A picture I keep thinking of as I read about the "problems" people have with RSS. How far they have to stretch to explain these problems. It reminds me of Rose Mary Woods, secretary to Richard Nixon, who explained how she accidentally erased portions of the Watergate cover-up tapes. The picture of her foot on the treadle while she answered the phone and accidentally hit Record instead of Stop, was a classic in the world of stretching to cover lies.
Reminder, here's the feed of New Hampshire candidate appearances thanks to PoliticsNH.Com. The primary is about a month away (42 days to be exact). If anyone asks if there are any applications of RSS that are temporary, tell them about this one.
If there were an award for being a peacemaker, Randy Charles Morin would surely be up for it. This guy has been standing in the middle of the Syndication developer community, squarely, and doing what's right. Note that I didn't say Atom or RSS, I said Syndication. Because if you pop up a level, in some sense, it doesn't matter what the format is, what matters is that there's agreement on the format, and that technologists don't try to divide the world based on compatibility, as they so often do.
On the Atom-Syntax list, RCM said: "In the next month, I'll present a framework based on Atom API called PaSSAPI that will implement both the Atom syntax and RSS over the Atom API. Then you can choose to do whatever pleases yourself."
Choosing whatever pleases yourself sounds good on paper, but in practice it's bad. The #2 cool thing about RSS is that you can implement it in an afternoon. An API based on doing Whatever Pleases Yourself is something only a large company can pretend to implement, because no one can fully implement such an API. No one will believe that a sole practitioner or even a smallish team could cover all the variability in a platform like OpenDoc or SOAP, or what Atom is shaping up to be.
If you want it to really fly, simplify. Use the guideline if it can't be implemented in an afternoon, it isn't going to fly. The Blogger API and the MetaWeblog API both could be implemented that quickly. Imho, the smartest thing would be to require XML-RPC, and then forget about SOAP and REST.
We've already heard from people who flip it around, force every tool to support SOAP and REST and make XML-RPC optional, but none of them have anything invested in the installed base, so of course they want to change everything. Anyone who had already implemented the Blogger API or the MetaWeblog API would want to keep their investment.
Even when a big established platform vendor does something like this, it usually fails. I've seen Apple, Microsoft even IBM try. Only in very unusual circumstances do you get enough support from developers to make an incompatible corner-turn, a discontinuity. Even Mac OS X had to run unaltered Mac apps. Learn from them, Luke; don't repeat the mistakes.
And to Randy thanks for the good juju you've been spreading around.
Top 10 reasons why RSS rules.
Meet the new team at UserLand. Scott Young is CEO.
New category: Technology/UserLand/Management.
Eric Raymond: "A textual protocol tends to future-proof your system."
This just in. Saddam was turning into Santa. "Watch out Easter bunny, you're next," says President Bush.
Brent Simmons on two frequently asked RSS questions. The first is about using HTML in titles and descriptions; it's our opinion that you can in the latter, but not in the former; and second, should link elements be permalinks or should they point to an external page? In both cases, the spec says something. We'd like to know where people need clarification to deploy content or apps.
New weblogs.com feature shows cumulative high water, starting today.
BTW, I now have a feed you can subscribe to with all the news about weblogs.com.
FCC Commissioner Michael Copps: "Anyone could access the Internet, with any kind of computer, for any type of application, and read or say pretty much what they wanted. This Internet may be dying."
CNET reviews my new laptop. How did they know?
Ars Technica reviews it too, calling it an "object of geek desire."
A fresh start for Weblogs.Com. "Quietly, over the last few days, with help from Lawrence Lee at UserLand, I took weblogs.com for a ride across the country, from UserLand's hosting service in California to my personal colo'd server in the Boston area."
Re changes.xml, any application that reads more often than once an hour should be using shortChanges.xml (it contains the last five minutes of changes only).
Tomorrow UserLand will announce its new management team. Sales and marketing, a CTO. Seasoned veterans. Lots of experience. A phone that's answered. Updates coming for Manila and Radio. I'm chairman, founder, board member, user, developer, stock holder, friend, fan and cheerleader. Jake and Lawrence are psyched. I was going to send emails to people with a sneak preview, but decided that it was best to sneak it on the Web, because I'd forget to send an email to someone. So please join me in supporting the new team and wishing them the very best. Tomorrow is a big day for everyone in the community. We get a fresh start. Let's bring back the magic. Still diggin!
Steve Gillmor: "Hi ho hi ho disruptively we go."
Recalling that my weblog posts are just that, and not spec text, Steve Gillmor wonders if I insist on full text in RSS items. Not only do I, but if anyone cares what the spec says, it's pretty clear. An item can either represent a newspaper-like story, or it can contain the full text of the item. There's nothing inbetween. Steve says that enclosure is a Dave-authored extension. Not so. It's a core RSS 2.0 element. It was co-designed by Adam Curry. I still love you Steve, even though you asked if I was the Jack Valenti of RSS. For one thing, Valenti is a tiny little fella and I'm 6-2 and big. And when the guys in Prince Edward Island complained that my blog was in their way, I said I'd knock it down myself, and I did. Look at all that white space. I know you love it Steve, you think I'm evolving to be RSS-only. You never know, that day could come. Maybe sooner than you think.
Lance Knobel comments on the Dean foreign policy team.
Jason Lefkowitz is fighting back against Patriot Act expansion.
Desktop Dean is a "free Dean for America mini-RSS aggregator."
Suggestion: Include my Dean feed in the default subs.
NY Times: "Baghdad is a place that feeds on rumors."
Redhead: "I'm hoping my voice will reach South Carolina."
Ed Cone: "If you don't need to fight a war, but you fight it anyway and win it and thus remove a really bad guy from power, have you done the right thing?"
Scoble is right, if people were paying attention, they'd be concerned at how IBM and Google are throwing their weight around in syndication space. And if Microsoft were doing what they're doing, there would be a holy jihad. Technology companies have always acted this way, and I guess they always will. I remember well how IBM screwed up SOAP, and the pattern is totally repeating. The same thing will happen with RSS, unless users, content publishers and independent developers take an interest. RSS is definitely good enough and growing at a huge rate. There's still hope that the proponents of Atom will see the wisdom of not forking and building compatibly off the RSS base. And there's hope that users will act in their own interest.
Boston Globe: "A wonderful mix of rain, snow, sleet, rain."
NY Times: "When this project is successful," he said. "people will say, 'A bicycle with Internet access -- so what?'"
I added ETag and If-None-Match support to mainResponder.respond on Monster2. Is that enough jargon? Do you care? Well, it makes Scripting load faster, and it will lower my bandwidth bill, and I'm giving it to UserLand so they can give it to Frontier users (after a thorough burn-in). But basically it brings my server into the Modern Age of HTTP 1.1 in an important way.
Every category page on Scripting News now has a white-on-orange XML icon. This means you can subscribe to a single category of Scripting News. You could also use one of my feeds, in combination with other feeds, to create a "mega-blog" on a given topic. For example, here's my category for Joe Lieberman and here's the feed. I don't write very much about him, but when I do, I route it to this category. It's conceivable that with three or four other people we could do a reasonable job of blogging his candidacy, and (key point) never have to "go" anywhere to do it. That way I can stay with a hot story like the capture of Saddam Hussein, and still make a contribution to the hypothetical Lieberman weblog.
I bought another electronic toy today, a Sony thing that plugs into the cassette player in my car, on one end, and plugs into the headphone jack on my Rhomba on the other. So on a drive earlier today I was able to listen to a report on NPR and record it at the same time. And of course now my MP3 music collection is available on my car stereo. I call this feeling Living In The Future -- in the sense that I've always known that in the future I'd be listening to the same music in my car as on my desktop. I could have done this a while ago, but now I'm actually doing it. I also bought a Microsoft notebook mouse. It's very very sweet. A tiny little thing.
Dan Gillmor: "China is adopting open-source software in a big way."
Mike Clough: "The Gore endorsement may spur the party's ardent centrists to rally more openly behind Wesley Clark, the candidate who most closely matches the centrists' profile of an electable candidate: a strong-on-defense, progressive Southerner. This is especially likely if, as many observers believe, Clark is the preferred choice of the party's chief centrist, former President Bill Clinton."
Weather update: The snow just started, and the heat is back on. Getting ready to dig out when the storm is over, in about 24 hours or so.
BBC images document the capture of Saddam.
Comments: "If you could decide his fate, would you put him in jail for life like Noriega, or put him to death, or create a special punishment for him, one that fits his crimes?"
BBC: "Ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been captured by US forces in Iraq, the coalition says."
NY Times: "Officials said they had used DNA tests to confirm his identity."
CNN: "The arrest came with little or no resistance, a U.S. military official in Washington said Sunday. He was with a small group of aides who also were taken into custody, the official said."
Bremer: "Ladies and gentlemen, we got him."
A spider hole is a disguised entrance to a tunnel used by the Vietcong.
I recorded the press conference. A couple of caveats before you download the 4MB file. I began the recording about fifteen minutes into the event. Second, it's a WAV file. Haven't figured out yet how to convert to MP3.
JY Stervinou sends a pointer to SOX, an open source Swiss Army Knife for sound files.
A special category for news about the capture of Saddam Hussein.
Plea for sympathy. The heater went out last night, the coldest night so far. I'm shivering waiting for the stores to open to go buy a couple of space heaters. It's above freezing in the house, barely. :-(
DiscountWatcher "constantly searches the Internet for the latest discounted items, organizes them by category and by store, then lists them in reverse chronological order. The site is fully RSS enabled - you can subscribe to any category, store or search."
La Fing: RSS: une alternative au Web?
Finally something worth pointing to on Frank Paynter's site. You won't be disappointed. Before you click make sure your mouth is empty.
We're doing lots of domain remappings tonight on the ping handler and static server for weblogs.com. If your site doesn't show up in the changes list, it's probably because the ping went one place and the static page was written to another. It should all resolve itself over the next few hours, Murphy-willing of course.
Highly recommended, Chris Lydon's latest interivew with Democrat factotum, Dick Morris. He's very bullish on the Internet, says that Dean is to be given credit for breaking through, but he's too far left to win. Why does Morris say he's so far left? Because he was against the war in Iraq. That's so funny. I would just say that proves that he was thinking. No matter, Morris says come Election Day, the economy will be in good shape, the troops will be safe, and everyone will have a drug discount card; and old Howard Dean better have something to run on come November 2004.
BTW, Morris has the same top-down disease all the other old operatives have. They still have to let go of something dear to them -- that they are on top of anything. Chris almost got there in one of his interviews (I think it was with Jay Rosen). He quoted Walter Cronkite saying "And that's the way it is." And Chris said, no thanks we'll decide for ourselves (reminding of the great Annie Lennox song). But in the back of his mind Chris was thinking that he would be the new Walter. And Dick Morris thinks we'll be happy chatting with robot candidates. Fuck you Dick. Democracy is government of the people you schmuck. We don't need marketers.
What's more pathetic, planning a smear campaign or telling everyone that one is coming? Hard to say. How about inspiring us with some ideas. We knew the Internet was great before Dean came along. The Republicans got it wrong when they say Dean is McGovern. A more apt analogy is Netscape vs Microsoft. The Dean guys are making the same mistakes Netscape made. Yeah you got there before the Republicans. Now build some alliances, spread the love, before the hoarde invades. I can be convinced. I keep telling you how. Let's go already dammit. I don't want to see Dubya get a second term. Man.
Ward Cunningham, the designer of the original Wiki, has taken a job at Microsoft. If you have advice for him, leave it here, on a Wiki of course.
BBC: 'Iran's policy of blocking access to certain websites has been defended by the country's authorities at the UN digital summit."
NY Times profile of Dean campaign manager, Joe Trippi.
Canadian regulators said it's legal to download music, illegal to upload; and imposed a tax on playback devices to be distributed among artists. "MP3 players with up to 10GB of memory will have an added levy of $15 added to their price, while larger players will see $25 added on top of the wholesale price. MP3 players with less than 1GB of memory will have only a $2 surcharge added to their cost."
Google's Jason Shellen proposes a change in the functionality of the white-on-orange XML icon. He says most users find it confusing, but I wonder about that. How many people click on things they aren't interested in? I don't. Too busy. I might, if I knew nothing about XML, click once, after seeing them pop up in lots of familiar places, seeing something I don't get, click on the Back button and remember not to go there again.
I agree that most Web users today won't understand what they see when they click. However, I don't think they'll understand something that looks different from, but contains the same information as the page they just came from. Why is this here twice? the uninformed user might ask. To which Shellen says, it's explained on the page itself. But I don't read, responds the user, I just skim.
But it would be good to verify some of the assumptions by actually asking some users what they think. And we know that the white-on-orange buttons are good for something, and they will be less useful if they aren't used consistently.
The RSS 2.0 spec and its predecessors may not say clearly enough if you can or can't include markup in titles. But I don't think you should include markup in titles. Titles are like file names (not exactly of course). They are a happy medium between software and people. Both must be able to read them and make sense of them, in all contexts, and do so easily. While it seems reasonable that a description may contain markup, it also seems reasonable that a title should not. So, if I were writing a validator for RSS, and encountered markup in a title, I'd warn the author that many processors would not be happy about this and it would be safer to strip the markup from the title.
Disclaimer: Scripting News is a weblog, not a spec. If you interpret it as a spec you will be making a mistake. I think I've said this quite a few times, but a few people still treat it as if I were writing a spec here. Not so. And not fair.
A postscript. I went back to see what the spec actually says, and it turns out it's not really a problem with the spec, rather with my recollection of what the spec says. Scroll to elements of item. It says descriptions may contain entity-encoded HTML. It doesn't say that a title may. So if that's the biggest problem people can find with the spec (which many were flaming about when I wrote it, it's not like they offered any help, btw) then it's a pretty damned good spec if you ask me.
Ben Adida: "I just returned from two days at the National Institute of Standards and Technology where we discussed eVoting."
Leslie Walker: Early Days Of a Data-Sharing Revolution.
As I read this headline on the Dean weblog: What Can You Buy with $61 million? I thought this was the amount that Dean had raised, or expected to raise, and they were about to tell us they were going to do something imaginative, instead of giving it to smelly media companies so they can run television ads. No such luck. What would you do if you had $61 million and wanted to make America a better place? Could $61 million make a difference?
Rolling Stone interviews Steve Jobs.
Another storm coming in on Sunday. Just as the snow from the last storm has been reduced to slush and huge piles in corners. A chance to take some more pics? It isn't even officially winter yet.
Let's help Rogers promote his excellent Radio UserLand book.
An MP3 of yesterday's Berkman meeting, thanks to Jake Savin.
Okay I can tell I'm going to watch this about 100,000 times.
Telegraph: "Rolling Stone Mick Jagger has been knighted for his services to pop music at Buckingham Palace."
Wired: "AT&T's move was the latest in a flurry that promises to bring VoIP into the mainstream."
Last night as we were getting ready for the Thursday webcast, as usual, a member of the cleaning staff came in to empty the waste baskets at around 6:15PM. We happened to be playing music this time. I think it was Channel Z from the B-52's. If you haven't heard the song, it's a great rocker, easy to dance to, even if you're sittin down. A curious look from the cleaning man. I said to him: "Harvard University, where we dance and play music!"
People drop in when the tunes are going. Ben Edelman stopped in and we compared devices. Mine has more features. But his cost $0 and was three years old. Mine has more storage capacity and his has less but physically is bigger. Mine cost $200 and was brand new and has a radio and can record voice.
At first I thought we wouldn't pull it off, but Jay McCarthy came early and got the webcast going. I was still disorganized as the session started, and didn't get my demo properly set up, but I think it was a wonderful session. Webcasting gives the Thursday mood a new zing. We'll keep doing it for sure. There was also an active IRC channel. I didn't get much chance to see what was going on there, but it seemed to be pretty active. The tent gets bigger?
At last night's meeting I said something that Ed Cone and I figured out at almost exactly the same time. It takes two years to get to know a blogger. Then I snickered. Some people, less.
Don Park: "It's like discovering that everything you designed was built on a gigantic turtle that just woke up."
As Don recommends, I did a View Source. This is what the URL looks like. With a quick glance it looks like it's from Microsoft, but you're actually viewing a page at zapthedingbat.com. This isn't entirely new. I'm not sure what the %01 is about. I guess it's a problem if it's the action attribute of a form element, where you can't see the URL. Takeaway: look in the Address part of the browser window when you're typing into a form and if it's the wrong place, hit the Back button and resume your life.
It's looking like we will be able to webcast tonight's meeting, Murphy-willing. We have the server runing and recording, now we're trying to figure out the URL for the webcast. If you have an idea what it might be, please send me an email. My next mini-project will be to get IRC installed on my laptop. We got music now, playing Channel Z right now, just played Start Me Up. The webcast is working and the IRC is running. (Postscript: The 40MB RealAudio archive of tonight's meeting is here.)
Taegan Goddard: "Don't expect a landslide."
Washington Post: "The Acacia case highlights why a growing chorus of corporate and government officials is warning that the US patent system is broken, threatening to stunt technological innovation."
Lance Knobel: "Much of the commentariat has passively accepted the conservative's characterisation of Dean, without examining the evidence."
BBC: "Reports that Google's cache -- which keep copies of websites for records and can be used to bypass government restrictions - was no longer available to some web surfers in Iran first surfaced at the end of last week."
As always, when I'm using Scripting as a guinea pig, you see posts like this: "Testing. Please ignore." Good that worked. Now to see if it updates properly. It did. Gloryoski. The update should happen faster now. And it surely did. Now I have to give this item a title. 1.2.3
Another test post, this one destined for a different location. Holy guacamole. It worked the first time!! Wow. You gotta love this. Now can I make it show up in the other location? Pause. Nope. Back in a minute or two. One more time. Arrrgh. I think I found the problem, really obscure. When editing text in a textarea I'm getting back a blank whose decimal value is 160 instead of 32. That's why when I stare at the code that does the string comparison to decide if it should be routed to the other location, it looks so right. Okay, now I'm going to add code that changes all 160s to 32s and see if it works. Yes, that did the trick. Maybe someone can explain why I'm getting 160s but right now I don't care, I want to catch my breath and get ready for 7PM. As I re-read this I think I've turned into Russell Beattie. The software is ready for the demo, I didn't write the backgrounder, but tune in to the webcast if you want to hear about it.
An article about news aggregators from a lawyer's perspective.
Some things are starting to fit into place.
Boy it really pisses me off when Republicans compare Howard Dean to George McGovern. That swaps in memories of Watergate and dirty tricks, and a Republican vice-president who resigned in shame, and the Republican president who followed him, and his successor, also a Republican, who pardoned him. And what about the Republican attorney general brought up on charges, convicted, who served time. And he wasn't alone. The chief of staff and a top advisor also did time. So, was there actually an election in 1972? Something to think about. Was there a complete meltdown of the US political system? Absolutely. Was McGovern honest? Without any doubt.
One more thing. When I was sixteen, I worked for the McGovern campaign. I canvassed door to door in Queens, handing out literature and talking to voters about the candidate. I addressed envelopes, and on election day helped people get to the polling place. McGovern was the last campaign worth working for, imho. The Republicans, in my lifetime, have never nominated a candidate worth working for. So when the Republicans boast, at this early stage, they may make it a matter of pride for some who are ambivalent about Dean and the rest of the Democrat field. We vote, we have money, and we care about our country, much more than Agnew, Mitchell, Nixon, Haldeman, Ehrlichman and the rest of the Republicans who "won" in 1972.
Some things are starting to fit into place. From the article above, it's clear now that the difference between readers and aggregators isn't new, it goes back to the difference between My.Netscape and My.UserLand. In the former, each feed was considered its own independent thing; My.UserLand flowed all feeds into one flow. (My.UserLand migrated to become the aggregator in Radio.) To me (and I've said this before) the My.UserLand approach is more leveraged for the human, because the former approach still makes you go somewhere to find the new stuff. True, the "somewhere" is all in one app, but it's still work you have to do, instead of the computer.
Then another dichotomy is exposed. Quite a few Movable Type bloggers start things called linkblogs, or remaindered links, whatever you call them, they're working around the model of longish posts with lots of visual overhead (a model also implemented by Blogger, Manila and Radio, so this isn't a dig on MT). What if you just want to link to something, should that require a whole post with all its attributes? It's a matter of user interface in the end. If MT made it easy to post and update a news item that was link-blog-like, people wouldn't need to invent a way around it. But that would break the relationship between the feed and posts. Oy what a mess.
Now look at this page carefully. See how posts of all sizes mix? It seems to work. The only thing missing is titles for posts (you'll see why I need them, in some cases, later today). But a right-click menu makes it possible to give a post a title.
This morning I'm listening to Start Me Up by the Rolling Stones. What an excellent song. Man. It's so weird that Microsoft chose this as the theme song for Windows 95. Wow. I think they chose it because they wanted us to think about the Start Menu. But ohhh you make a grown man cry. If you rough it up startitup startitup don't make a grown man cry. She's my fave-fave-favorite shape. Never never never stop. I take you places you never never seen. Never never never stop. Start me up never stop. Start me up never stop. You make a grown man cry. You make a dead man come.
The Telegraph in the UK has a very nice set of RSS 2.0 feeds. They make you tick off a box saying you've read the terms and conditions, which seem more to apply to incorporating their headlines in a website than reading them in an aggregator. Oh well, I guess they have lawyers in the UK too. In any case, very nice job, lots of data. Excellent.
Wired: "The Content Reference Forum aims to publish standards to allow consumers to easily play music or other digital content encoded in one format on any device and in any country, while also obeying contractual obligations, such as paying licensing fees and enforcing copyright protections."
What happens when you combine a weblog tool with an aggregator? Haha. I should have it working in time for tomorrow night's weblog writer's meeting. I'm such a tease. (Postscript: It works. As a by-product of the changes, you will, from time to time, see items in the Scripting News RSS feed, that have titles. Another example of the exhaust of one site hooking up to the intake of another. I call this feature the Ghost-Writer-Router. Or is it Router-Writer? Steve Gillmor is going to like this. I'll explain first thing tomorrow morning.)
Part of this round of corner-turns has been better real-time stats. For example, how much bandwidth does scripting.com use? About 100MB per hour. The top five files it serves? According to hits: 1. The Manila badge, 2. rss.xml for Scripting News, 3. the permalink marker, 4. the daily link icon, 5. the world famous and much maligned white-on-orange XML icon. Now, according to bytes served, it's a somewhat different story. 1. rss.xml, 2. the banner graphic for Scripting (probably a bug in the caching code in Frontier's web server, or an oppty for optimiziation), 3. an MP3 of a Grateful Dead song (this is new as of today, someone must be pointing to it), 4. Scripting News, 5. the Manila badge. Worthy of an honorable mention is #7, a rare picture of Elvis and Nixon together, proving that they were not the same person. #6 is the RSS 0.91 DTD.
Boing Boing has a theoretical pic of the NY Times front page on the day after Election Day in 2004.
I got a bunch of very nice requests today from people who want to put a site on scripting.com, but I spent the day messing around with Windows networks, so I haven't had a chance to do anything with them. I need to think about whether or not I want to do hosting, and on what terms. But I wanted to acknowledge the requests. Also, in my spare time this afternoon I helped Doc's friend Terry Heaton get his RSS feed on the air. I'm subscribed. Looks interesting. And thanks to Lawrence Lee, Andrew Grumet, Robert Scoble and the people he annoyed at Microsoft. I got my network working thanks to all their help. Yeah, we had to whack and flush things to get it going. Had these been Macs. Never mind.
Don't forget python.scripting.com. Hasn't been updated in a while. I could see this being a group effort to keep up with all the developments in PythonLand. It would be a natural next step for scripting.com. I'd subscribe for sure. I could even see putting ads on that site.
Jim Waldo: "The dominance of C as a programming language was an example of better is better, not worse is better."
Just for fun I left the door open on the new scripting.com server so that anyone could create a Manila site. One of the good guys, Phillip Pearson, created a site, in disbelief. "This is so weird," he said. "Why is it so weird?" I ask. An empty Manila site is a few kilobytes on a hard drive. These days, a few megabytes is nothing. Phillip posted a note about this on his real website, and then the wiener boys swooped in, creating the childish stuff they like so much. I closed the door and sent Phillip an email, "If someone you trust asks if it's possible to get one, send me an email introduction vouching for their maturity." I won't host sites for little boys up past their bedtime (or little girls for that matter) but I'm interested in who would like to have a scripting.com website, and what they might do with it. It doesn't cost me much to find out. But I'm not interested in cleaning up the messes that children leave behind.
Steve Kirks: "I propose that you create a Scripting fellowship."
Dave Sifry's Thanksgiving piece. Thanks for the thanks Dave.
I went to see a great movie the other day directed by Clint Eastwood, who must be in his 70s by now. It was a masterpiece. Could he have made such a movie in his 20s or 30s? I think it would be impossible. He knew what worked and what didn't. He knew who to cast, he knew how to edit, he knew what I would think at every step in the process. At the end, I came out of the theater thinking "Man that was a great fucking movie."
Howard Dean: "If you guys are upset that Al Gore is endorsing me, attack me, don't attack Al Gore." Same thing. Dean made a really huge mistake. When offered a chance to get on board with the same old idiots, Dean grabbed. Should've said "Thanks Al, but no thanks." Now it's kind of obvious that the next step is a (Bill) Clinton endorsement of Clark.
If you're running for office this year, or plan to in the future, check this out. Robert Scoble, who works at Microsoft, points to an innovation from Sun. Why? "I want to be an authority on the operating system industry," says Scoble. I'm sure there are people at Microsoft who think this is stupid, but it's actually really smart. Create a new media context for yourself. A tent that's big enough to hold people who are interested in your competitors. If your products are superior what have you got to lose? MS people are always whining about the press. Scoble doing something about it. Bravo. BTW, this is Rule #1 in my seven point plan for candidate weblogs. The same plan probably works for technology companies too.
BBC: "At an event to mark the opening of the UN technology summit in Geneva, Tim Berners-Lee was reunited with the machine he used to invent the web."
A reasonable response from Clark (the campaign, not the man) about Gore's endorsement of Dean. People who say the campaign is over are assholes. Not a single vote has been cast yet. Dean is out of the running now, he's a slave of the Democratic Party. I'm sure it's even worse than it appears. Looks like Clark is the front-runner for making something sensible happen in this election cycle, although I wouldn't hold my breath.
USA Today: "The former vice president's endorsement is another sign of how a compressed campaign increases the influence of party insiders at the expense of voters."
Jake Savin recorded last Thursday's weblog writer's meeting at Berkman, and how has them available in MP3 for easy downloading. We're going to webcast tomorrow night's meeting too, Murphy-willing, and I'll bring my Rhomba and will try recording it that way too.
The BBC's support for RSS isn't new, but it is newly explained on their site. For example, if you scroll to the bottom of the index page for UK news, in the lower right corner you'll see a menu item called "RSS version." Click to visit a page that explains what RSS is all about, and links to the feed for the page you came from. It requires a little digging to find all the goodies, but the payoff is huge because the BBC has so much you can subscribe to. Now there's a way to find it from the BBC site.
The Philadelphia Inquirer announces RSS support.
Debbie Weil: Top 20 Definitions of Blogging.
One more time. Any candidate who made an effort to understand the political issues of the Internet could make a difference. Whether they would win or not, whether they beat Dean or Bush is hardly the point. Find out what makes the Internet so great. Take a weekend off from your campaign that isn't working anyway. Then stand up and tell us what you learned. You might be surprised to see your poll numbers start climbing.
Klaus Schwab: "Mr President, to conclude our session, you have in front of you the 1,000 most influential business leaders. What would be your single, most important wish towards them, at this moment?"
CNN: "I'm very proud and honored to endorse Howard Dean to be the next president of the United States of America," Gore said.
BBC: "The endorsement of such a mainstream figure is a major boost for Mr Dean."
Signs of life at the Clark weblog, asking people to spam an MSNBC survey. Whether you think that's nice or not, at least they're using the weblog to fight for their guy. BTW, the Gore endorsement means bupkis to me. I thought the guy was a weenie in 2000. Imagine losing to George Bush who's an even bigger weenie. I know everyone thinks this validates Dean, pushes him over the tipping point. But I don't care about candidates at this stage, I care about a discussion of the issues, a meaningful vote, an election, not a TV show. And that's looking pretty grim now.
Andrew has been TiVo-hacking. Interesting stuff.
It's been a tradition, every year on this day I check in with Google to see how my John Doerr investment is doing. It's been a good year. I own the Number Two link on Google when you search for John Doerr. And get this, I have the Number One link for his partner, Will Hearst. I wonder if there's some way to monetize that?
Interesting little rant by Zawodny about Trackback and corporate secrets.
Hands-down the most useful coverage of US politics is Taegan Goddard's Political Wire. I'm sure Gore's support will turn out to be worth something less than $100 million, but it's still a good quote.
Paolo: "I would like comments I write on other weblogs to be saved on my own weblog."
RSS clearly is about to go through another growth spurt. And as with each other time its eclipsed its former self there are people who seem to want to take control, redefine it in some bizarre and undignified way. If people would first study the history of RSS and see how much it has suffered from this kind of greed, perhaps they'd back off and just be grateful that there's new technology that makes the Internet much more useful, and leave it at that. (They usually say their ignorance is their strength, btw.)
The name RSS is every bit as good as any other name you can come up with, and it has the advantage that it's already the name everyone uses. Read a marketing text book. Trying to make a new name stick will only make the whole thing weaker.
For example, imagine falling in love with someone. "You're the perfect person for me," you say. "But your name doesn't communicate who you are. Let's have a contest to come up with a new name for you." Now, how clueless would that be?
One more thing. There's a myth going around that there is a way to do publish-subscribe without polling. Not true. At some level, every apparently non-polling technology is built on, you guessed it, polling. It's all just an illusion. Computers don't really do interrupts. At some level it's polling.
Now, should an aggregator be polling every 30 minutes? The convention early on was no more than once an hour. But newer aggregators either never heard of the convention or chose to ignore it. Some aggregators let the users scan whenever they want. Please don't do that. Once an hour is enough. Otherwise bandwidth bills won't scale. Further, there are good ways to optimize this stuff, but that would require cooperation among members of the community. And this community is well-known for not cooperating with each other. We let a small number of people fillibuster the mail lists, people who don't produce software on either end of the RSS equation, and thereby progress happens in very small steps if it ever happens at all.
Net-net, it's good that users are taking an interest in RSS. But it's bad that they're behaving just as the geeks did, selfishly, in a controlling way, fighting over things that were decided a long time ago. Human nature comes along for the ride with us on our journey to more effective communication tools. Can people see the big picture and let good stuff like RSS rise to the top without pulling it down? I've become a pessimist over the years, I think they can't help themselves. So it's a miracle something new happened. Enjoy it while you can.
Dowbrigade: "Wednesday, China's new premier, Wen Jiabao, will be speaking at the Harvard Business School, and my Chinese student Simon will be there to give us a first-hand report."
AP: "Former Vice President Al Gore intends to endorse Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination, a dramatic move that could tighten Dean's grip on the front-runner position." "This is huge," said Donna Brazile, who was Mr. Gore's campaign manager in 2000. "It gives Dean what Dean has been missing most: Stature. Gore is a major league insider, somebody with enormous credibility that Democrats respect, who can rally the grass roots, and who's been speaking very strongly in the last few months about the direction he wants to take the country in."
Joshua Marshall: "It's difficult to write anything about Howard Dean without Dean's fans thinking you're bashing him -- except, of course, if you're adoring him or cheering him on." I noticed too.
On this day last year, my Dad talked. This was a big deal, and the family was optimistic -- but he wasn't out of the woods yet, as it would turn out. Today, he and my Mom are hiking in the desert east of San Diego. Hiking. We call him The Miracle Man. Later this month, Murphy-willing, the folks will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Betsy Devine: "In her doggy mind, I'm the one who made all this snow. And I did it for her, just because it would make her happy."
Zawodny: "RSS may not be perfect, but it's good enough."
Paul Boutin's 10 technologies that have changed the way we live.
Jim Moore: "Woke up this morning to a world of dazzling sunlight on waves of undisturbed sugar crystal snow."
2/18/95: "If millions of people understand and use the expressive power of the web they would be easier to organize against paranoic attacks on our civil liberties."
Ed Cone: "The Dean campaign has created its own parallel media universe."
I email on and off with the CTO of the Kerry campaign, he was at BloggerCon, trying to drop not-too-subtle hints that Dean could be one-upped, or maybe two-upped. So he asks how and I tell him, and he says they have to go slowly. And you wonder why Kerry, according to some, is getting ready to write off New Hampshire. BTW, I don't support Kerry, or Dean. I do believe in using the Internet to revolutionize democracy. You can see that in my writings going back to 1994. People said I was a dreamer, that I should stick to technology, but I insisted that politics and technology were inseparable. Hey it's nice to be right. But Dean doesn't go nearly far enough, not enough to make it real democracy, and not enough to beat Bush. So far Dean only reports to and about people who are already Dean supporters.
BTW, Dean breaks the number one rule of the Internet, he takes from the Internet, but doesn't give back. Where is he on the Broadcast Flag and earlier Democrat-sponsored efforts to turn control of the Internet over to the entertainment industry? Has he stood up for free speech on the Internet? What was his position on the Communication Decency Act? Read the last section of my recommendations for Presidential candidates. Imho, it's not enough just to use the Internet to schedule meetings and raise money. The ideal of democracy involves diverse points of view, an informed citizenry, and freedom of speech. I've yet to hear a Dean speech that grabs me this way, but such a speech is not only possible, it's mandatory. Get up in front and tell us why the Internet is great. Dean is in front but sadly he doesn't really know why the Internet is great. The real revolution is still waiting to happen.
One more thing, Dean has picked safe people to advise him on the Internet. They're nice. They say nice things. But they're not fighters. Another way to say "let's lose this election but we'll be really nice about it."
NY Times: "At least a third of all spam circulating on the Internet is now sent from or relayed by personal home computers that have been taken over."
Slow start today -- lots of good stuff on yesterday's Scripting.
Chris Nolan: "Why canít Big Media write about Howard Deanís campaign without sounding like a bunch of clueless but well-meaning 19th century explorers debating the source of the Nile all the while breathlessly reporting back on the wonders of Africa?"
Scoble: "I don't like group weblogs." This is a current topic with me. A bunch of people I know wanted to do a group blog. I said okay give it a try. I'm watching from a distance. I prefer to write for my blog and develop a way to route posts to categories so readers can assemble their own group blogs out of their favorite authors (of which I hope to be one). Scoble is a pundit and a very wise man. He's onto something.
Adam Bosworth admits he doesn't get REST. I like that. It takes courage. The REST advocates promote by intimidation. A clear sign they don't want you looking too closely. Now Bosworth is going to do exactly that. Bravo.
Went for a long walk in the snow. Still light flurries. Very beautiful. Quiet. All the houses lit up. Smell of fires in the fireplaces. Like a Currier & Ives print. No sleighs, but every other schmaltzy New England winter visual.
Some stats on the new server we deployed yesterday. On a Sunday it's doing about 10,000 hits per hour and keeping up very nicely. Most of the traffic are things like the white-on-orange XML button, various graphics for Radio users, the DTD for RSS 0.91. I'm going to write some scripts that tally up how much of the bandwidth is subsidizing the community. Who should I send the bill to??
Yippee. The weather forecast for tomorrow is Mostly Sunny. That would make me Mostly Happy.
Okay, I've got a new laptop, a new MP3 player, next on the list of goofy gadgets is a hand-held GPS. I found myself at Best Buy last week with techno-lust, but I didn't know which one to buy. Stay tuned.
There's been lots of talk on the weblogs and mail lists about making it easier for users to subscribe to sites. Of course, since we went first with Radio, it's very very easy for Radio users, just click on an orange XML coffee mug, where it's available, and confirm that you want to subscribe, and it's done. No copy-paste. Nothing complicated. If we wanted we could have made the url invisible, but we decided that would be too confusing. Now what's the general solution that works for everyone all the time? This is one of those times when, if Microsoft, Apple and Linux could get together, they could upgrade the Internet in a nice way. Probably just Microsoft alone could do it (the others would have to follow). Choose a port which is the Subscription Manager port. Say it's 5350, a random unassigned port. Then when you want to say "click here to subscribe to this website" include a link that looks like this. Since the OS has the Subscription Manager running on that port, it would confirm that you really want to subscribe, and then add the URL to the Desktop Database (on the Mac) or the Registry (Windows) or /usr/subs (Unix). Or whatever. Some place that the aggregators running on the system could watch. Yeah, it makes sense for some part of the aggregation system to migrate into the OS. If any of the OS vendors want advice on this, let me know.
Snowy New England street.
Jewish mother jokes.
Lessig: "Declan is a brilliant writer, and excellent pundit. But he is more a bomb thrower than a careful reader."
Newsweek: "Now that Dean has put 30 points between himself and onetime front runner John Kerry, his candidacy is coming under intense scrutiny -- from the media, the GOP and his Democratic rivals."
An article in today's NY Times Magazine, about Howard Dean says "A team of Internet theorists -- David Weinberger, Doc Searls, Howard Rheingold -- consults for the campaign." According to Doc this isn't true. So where did this bit come from? Did the reporter invent it? Did the campaign put Doc on some list? BTW, I have buckets for the Dean campaign and for Doc's punditry in my taxonomy.
Cheaters have infested the WizBang awards.
In case you're not in the northeast, here's what almost two feet of snow looks like. I'm going for a walk myself in a few minutes after some coffee. Enough cabin fever. It's not snowing very hard now, and I've got sweaters, ski clothes, a hat, mittens, and warm boots. I'm bringing the camera too. BTW, I have a Boston Weather category.
NY Times: "The finale of a powerful two-day storm roared across the New York metropolitan area and played out over the Northeast today, burying parts of the region in a foot of snow that set records, slowed travel, challenged Christmas shoppers and transformed the landscape into vistas as uncluttered as early maps of America."
Joi Ito and Loic Le Meur will present at Davos in January on weblogs. That's cool, I'm glad the WEF is finally letting the bloggers in, officially. It's not the first time the Media Leaders have heard the story of amateur journalism, though -- maybe some of them will remember my prediction that they'd be hearing more from us, from Y2K. I blogged Davos that year, of course, and wrote a closing essay with my advice for Big Media on participating in the revolution I was sure we were uncorking. The advice is a bit dated, because we were still in dotcom boom times, but it's stood up pretty well, imho. Wish I could be at Davos this time, sounds like this is going to be one to remember. Jay Rosen from NYU will be there. Probably a few others we know. Let's hope they represent us well.
Hey, I looked up the session on the WEF website -- check out the title. "Will Mainstream Media Co-opt Blogs and the Internet?" Giggle. They asked the question backwards. "Have blogs and the Internet already replaced Mainstream Media?" For many, the answer is yes. Seems like the WEF is trying to tell their membership (large corps) what they want to hear. It's up to you to not co-opt those cute little blogs. Heheh.
Yowsa. The Redhead is in Toronto.
Back in November we tried a transition that didn't work, today we're trying it again. Conservatively I'd give it a 50-50 chance of working this time. A DNS change is going through that will move scripting.com from the west coast to the east coast. When the change is complete, you will see a picture of King Kong atop the Empire State Building to the right. Click on the image for a preview of what it will look like when it's baked. (Postscript: Looks like Murphy is smiling on us. This time the system seems stable, it's handling the flow fine, lots of traffic. It's the first time I've ever cast Frontier as a serious static server. On a 3Ghz monster, it performs quite adequately, knock wood, praise Murphy, etc.)
Terry Heaton wants his Greymatter weblog to emit RSS.
Steve Gillmor's latest ode to RSS. He gives credit to Radio UserLand for pulling it all together. Radio 8, in early 2002, was the milestone, it has both sides of the equation covered, publishing and aggregation. It turned RSS from a promising idea into something for users. I'm grateful to Steve, even though he uses another RSS reader, for the acknowledgement.
Jay Allen has the full lyrics to They All Asked for You. The part that I wanted the most is [inaudible]. Something like "Boiled villas. And tomato paste." Eh labas.
In the middle of the first blizzard of the season, UPS delivers my new Creative Labs Rhomba. "Oh cool," I said, "a new toy to play with." I cut open the plastic pack, take out the device, hook it up to the computer through USB, and first the computer happily says "New device recognized." Then it pauses, thinks, and decides that it doesn't recognize it after all. On the screen of the Rhomba, a weird display, an open folder icon with the word ROOT next to it. A music note, with the words "reative PDF" in big type. Lots of other iconography including a telltale lock (I assume this means the device is locked). It's clearly not at all right. In the Windows Explorer it should show up as a drive, but it doesn't. Did I get a bad unit? Oy gevilt. I have the worst hardware karma in the world.
Thanks to lots of help from my friends, I have gotten my IBM laptop to work, so that's good. And it's snowed a lot over night, and I guess that's good too. My cold is back in a big way, and I'm having trouble finding the goodness in that, but I'm sure it's there, somewhere. Cough. Sniffle. Sneeze. Oy.
Jim Moore took a picture of his son in the woods by his house outside Boston today. A big blizzard coming in tonight from the south. The scene is going to look quite different when the boy wakes up tomorrow morning.
I'm getting nowhere getting my Windows XP-based laptop connected to the Internet. The wireless connection is excellent, but it's not getting an IP address over DHCP, or so it says. When I look at the properties of the connection it sure seems to have a good IP address. Checking the status it's sent 78 packets but only received 1. When I try to "repair" the connection (not sure what that means) it churns for a minute and then says "Please contact your network administrator or ISP." Yeah I'm sure Verizon is going to be a lot of help. (Sorry for the sarcasm.) If you have an idea of what I should try next, post a comment here, please.
There's a snow storm headed our way. "Driving and walking would be dangerous and that people should remain indoors unless travel was 'absolutely necessary.'"
Hey there's a new award site and Scripting News is nominated for Best Overall Blog. Thank you thank you. Now y'all can vote for my humble weblog, and for that I would be most grateful, because as much as I like being nominated, I like winning much much more.
John Foster sends a pointer to an abbreviated rendtion of They All Asked For You. Mike Donellan sent the most complete lyrics. I'm still looking for one that includes the names of all the New Orleans food they talk about, like red beans and rice and crawfish etouffe. There's some that I can't figure out wtf they're talking about. And while I was writing that, my new laptop arrived. Yehi.
Andrew Grumet: "BitTorrent will probably be the killer app for dealing with RSS enclosures when they catch on."
Talking with my brother last night we hummed a few bars of an old New Orleans favorite. "I went on down to the Audubon Zoo and they all aksd for you. The monkeys aksed. The tigers aksed and the elephants aksed me too." It's a silly little song, that's why it's so much fun. I told my bro we could get the lyrics on the Web, but I just looked, and they still ain't there. Come on Internet. Let's get this show on the road.
Gotta love this. Here's a developer who created a tool that claims to support the full RSS 2.0 spec. Even Radio doesn't do that (but it comes close).
Jeffrey Henning: "Some commentators have taken our idea of nanoaudiences as a sign of the failure of blogs."
After much thought and mind-changing I bought a Creative Rhomba. Deciding factor was ease of use and reliability. Reviews of the Archos box were not great. Downside is that the voice recorder in the Rhomba produces WAV files so if I want to generate MP3s, I'll have to run a converter of some kind.
It's time for a new banner for Scripting News. This one comes from a series of pictures I took on 5/28/00, on a boat on a canal in Venice, on a trip to Trieste, with my gracious host, Paolo Valdemarin.
Thanks to Hal Roberts and Jesse Ross at Berkman, tonight's meeting is being webcast via RealAudio. You can tune in right now, starting at 6:12PM Eastern. You'll hear me typing. I'm the only one in the conference room right now. I'm going to try to set something up on IRC so people who are remote can participate. Okay, I think I am now on the #bloggerCon channel on irc.freenode.net. If you can find me there, please stop in and say hello. It looks like Kevin Marks is there, but it might not be the human being named Kevin Marks, it might just be his chat client. And of course I have no idea how to use IRC, so I probably got something horribly wrong.
Peter Rukavina from Prince Edward Island sent a picture of winter rolling in, in three hour period yesterday. All this is due to the magic of webcasting and IRC.
Steve Outing, a user, wishes Dan Gillmor's RSS feed had guids. Now, he didn't all of a sudden wake up one day transformed into a geek, he wants the feature that guids enable -- no more repeated posts when an author makes minor edits.
Kevin Marks: "Tim -- you're in VC. You should know the difference between a demo and a product."
Salon's Scott Rosenberg writes an ode to RSS, likening it to HTML in 1994. It's pretty cool to have had a hand in creating something that's become so powerful. BTW, the Salon piece requires you read an ad.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer supports RSS.
Scoble: "I want to see more software companies, not fewer."
Good news -- Jorn Barger is okay.
Diego Doval's essay on the recent Atom discussion at Scoble's.
Deanspace is released. Now I can make my announcement. When Channel Z is released I'm going to announce I'm running for President. Now here's the clue that I'm just kidding:
The next new feature is ready for you to try out. If you want to receive the contents of this weblog every night at 11PM Eastern, visit the page and enter your email address. You'll receive a confirming email. Click on the link in the email to confirm. The page is also linked into the popup menu in the right edge, under Nightly Email. If you were subscribed before the switchover there's no need to resubscribe, I transferred the addresses from the old system into the new one. At this time there's no way to unsubscribe. That's the next thing on my list. BTW, all Channel Z sites will have this feature.
Getting Started with Weblogs at MIT in January.
Tim Oren: "Kevin, if you want your Old Fart credentials, you've gotta get your history straight."
I just moved www.opml.org from a UserLand server to one of my own servers here in Boston. In the transition, I hooked up my OPML category here to a box on the home page of the new OPML site. Hello Dolly. It just worked. Man I love this stuff. Hook the exhaust of one site up to the gas tank of another and (as Ralph Cramden used to say) away we go!
Bryan Bell: "I can't say enough good things about the CSS 2.0 text-shadowing support in Safari for Mac OS X 10.3."
Don Park: "Most of them are not even taking the proposal seriously. One even called it trolling." Don is talking about his proposal to use RSS 2.0 as a starting point for Atom. If you share Don's preference, there is a place to register that. It'll be interesting to see how many people agree, and if the people in charge gives it any weight.
Sebastien Paquet wonders if combining RSS feeds into new steams is in the air. Yes. We tried it in 2002, with Radio, with a tool that does just that. Any aggregator could do it too. But it didn't take root then. Now, with a highly category-based content system, which I call Channel Z, I'm going to try again, and this time I think it'll stick. Many of the first steps are in place. For example, every category is also a feed. Here's the Fun/Songs category in HTML, and in RSS. In the aggregator, I only subscribe to my own feeds, but there's already a mechanism for others to ping a category with the URL of a feed.. Not publicizing that yet.
And thanks to Seb for pointing me to Jason Kottke's redesign. I read his Remaindered Links in my aggregator so I missed the changes. Now that I see where he's going, it's deja vu all over again. He's where Scripting News has been for seven years, a mix of links and paragraphs. I bet Jason would like editing his blog in an outliner.
Nice and warm inside. Thirteen degrees farenheit outside.
Two years ago today, I asked what if we cut out the middlemen and elected the stars of our favorite TV shows as our political leaders. Martin Sheen for President. Move the capital to Hollywood. Four years ago today I had a phone talk with Joel Klein, then the Department of Justice official in charge of the Microsoft antitrust case. I blew it. I said they should leave Microsoft alone. This is before I read what they were saying about Netscape in emails inside Microsoft among the execs.
Wired: "Prosecutors, on behalf of major U.S. film studios, will try to prove that 20-year-old Jon Johansen broke Norwegian law when he developed and distributed a computer program that enables consumers to make personal copies of their DVDs."
According to News.Com, IBM will announce a new "lockbox" for home networks on Thursday at Berkman. "The software will let media companies protect their intellectual property and be simple enough for consumers to use, according to IBM."
I believe the conference they're talking about is actually on Friday, December 5. I'll get the details. I am reluctant to attend because I don't agree with the premise. I think we should find ways to move on, without the music industry, and let a new commercial medium develop around the strengths of the Internet, rather than tax the Internet to hold back the clock for an industry that's unwilling to change.
PC World: "As digital music site MP3.com prepares to go silent under new ownership, mobile media group Primetones.com warned this week that over a million tracks from independent artists could be lost in the shuffle."
Ralph Nader has an exploratory committee website.
Eric Wagoner: "Jorn Barger, editor of Robot Wisdom, is missing."
Jorn Barger can be found in the archive of Scripting News, at least references to him can be found.
Lots of good stuff today on OPML-DEV. We found out how Amphetadesk, NetNewsWire and Bloglines use attributes in subscriptions files, for reading and writing. Stan Krute is collating the new data, in an outline, of course.
Don Park suggests that Blogger and Movable Type adopt RSS 2.0. I've been asking them to do this for a long time, repeatedly, and ask once again. Don casts the RSS 2.0 spec as an immovable object in the way of something, but we went to great lengths to make sure that it wasn't in the way. It's licensed under the Creative Commons for-attribution license. So all you have to do, if you want to produce a derivative work, is credit me with authorship of the original. Period. End of obligation. And if you don't want to use my spec as the basis for yours, your obligation to me is zero, nada, nil, void. How much less of an obstacle could it be? Don suggests "backward compatible." I like the sound of that.
Rogers Cadenhead is interviewed about Radio UserLand.
Robert Scoble asks important questions about Atom.
JY: "I love when Dave creates new things." Thanks!
I moved the Recent Categories list onto a separate page. Too much screen real estate. Added to the directory. Thanks for the email. Great ideas. Good to know there's so much interest in this humble weblog.
Greenspun: "Why bother pretending to care about another person's troubles?"
Dwight Shih has standalone Trackback for Radio.
A new feature in the right margin of Scripting News links to categories that have new posts in the last seven days, sorted by number of posts in the seven days. This gives you a rough idea of what's topics are hot over the last week, and a way to get more background going back further in time (click on a link). Now that I've been categorizing stuff for a few weeks, the payoff may be here now. Let me know what you think.
Command Post: Edwards Launches Spanish-Language Blog.
Rogers Cadenhead on the OPML 1.1 spec. Note, we're reactivating the OPML-DEV mail list, with a clear heads-up re the charter, and what's on-topic and off-topic. My hope is that users will be able to participate in the discussions if they're sufficiently interested, esp librarians and information architects. We're not talking about format design, or why OPML as a format is or is not good. Not a debating list. We are talking about applications and cleaning up loose ends. For those who are interested, here's why OPML is a cool format.
William Grosso: "Someone dropped a meme in the water supply again."
ThinkTank packaging circa 1983, thanks to Dwight Harm.
Greenspun: "Thus did students who are within months of graduating with their $160,000 computer science degrees learn how modern information systems are actually built."
NY Times: Eisner's 19 Years at Disney.
Two articles, both from the NY Times, by coincidence happened to show up one after the other in my aggregator, a stark contrast of how two kinds of Americans live. The first article details the luxurious cruise ship Tom DeLay is bringing to the Republican National Convention in NYC in August, where George Bush will, presumably, be nominated for a second term as President. It's a very beautiful ship, very nice. The second article is the daily report of US soldiers killed in Iraq. Yesterday only one soldier died, David Goldberg, 20, an engineer in the Army reserve, based in Layton, Utah. Needless to say he won't be going to the Republican National Convention or riding on any cruise ships.
And by the way, do you think it was a coincidence that Bush showed up in Baghdad just hours before Hillary Clinton? Perhaps the Republicans got wind of her trip and decided to upstage her? Can you imagine the giggles in the Oval Office. How unseemly, given that Americans are dying every day in Iraq. I don't think these guys get it. And remind me please, why Iraq, of all countries? Why not China or Burma or East Timor? Or South Africa, Liberia, Ghana or Namibia? The Ukraine or Georgia? What about Argentina? Venezuela? Mexico? Pakistan and India. Is Iraq the only country that needed our help? Couldn't our billions have done more good elsewhere? Did so many Americans have to die? Is it a coincidence that we have an Oil Company President? I'm sorry. This shit is keeping me up at night. Forget about stupid, they must think we're total complete morons to fall for this bullshit. One more thing, how are we going to get out? I can only think of one way, elect a Democrat who makes an explicit pledge to do exactly that. The Democrats are pretty gutless. Al Sharpton puts it well. By fighting for the center the Democrats have lost Congress, the Senate, the White House and the Supreme Court. Maybe it would be a good time to actually stand for something? Just a thought.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.