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Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, January 14, 2004. Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Waxy: "The Academy announced today that a second screener video was leaked to the Internet, after yesterday's announcement of the 'Something's Gotta Give' appearance." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Goddard reports on a poll showing a dead heat. "Dean leads the race with support from 21% of Democrats nationally while Clark is right on his heels at 19%." Looks like Iowa is going to be pivotal. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

New Bryan Bell theme for Manila. Installed on the server at Harvard. I tried it out. It's nice. Lots of Edit buttons. Whew. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

New directory for the Share Your OPML site. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Chad Dickerson: InfoWorld moves to RSS 2.0Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Lance Knobel: "I've become involved with Dean for America UK." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Wired: "Google may be king of the search-engine world right now." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Speaking of data integrity Mark Pilgrim (apparently) doesn't want me to point to him, when I do, his server sends you right back. Okay. But he's part of the Top 100 on the Share Your OPML site so his posts show up in the aggregator there. Oooops. Mark sends you right back. Oh la. I wonder if there's a Best Practice document on how to partition the Web?  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Hiawatha Bray: "If a player feels his character, or Sim, is being ill treated and can get no justice from the game operators at EA, he can arrange to have bad things happen to rival players, by approaching a local Mafia and ponying up some of the game's currency, called simoleons." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

People are starting to produce OPML reading lists so I thought now would be an excellent time to publish some guidelines for things people can do now that will make more things possible later.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Should you always give the user what he or she wants? No. It would be irresponsible to do so. For example, consider doctors and antibiotics. A doctor shouldn't give you an antibiotic unless it can really do you some good, and along with the prescription should come a stern lecture about taking the full course of the drug, not stopping when you start to feel better. As a user, you may just want to feel well, and that would be understandable. But the rest of us have an interest in you not being selfish. If you stop taking the drug before all the nasty germs are killed, you're going to help create a strain of the germ that's immune to the drug. Eventually there won't be an antibiotic that works, and future generations will die from diseases that are totally curable today. So while the user may want to stop taking the drug, the doctor would be irresponsible in prescribing it if he or she felt it was likely that you wouldn't finish taking it. The same idea applies to reading bad XML files. If my code reads them, then yours has to too. Eventually the XML stops working. The reason we have XML is so we don't have to scrape HTML. If the XML becomes as hard to deal with as the HTML, then we might as well just scrape the HTML. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

BBC: "The unnecessary overprescribing of anitbiotics is undesirable because it encourages the emergence of drug-resistant strains of bacteria - so-called 'superbugs' like MRSA which defy conventional treatment." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

One of the reasons the Share Your OPML project has been so much fun is that it has been so easy to give users the features they ask for. Even so, I realized early-on that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the demand for new features. The solution is to provide access to the data behind the website so other people can build on it. For example, very few people know that the popular Technorati service is built on the backend of, called changes.xml. Another example was the open service list for UserLand's first aggregator in 1999 and 2000, which enabled a community of developers to form around RSS. We're going to do it again. I've spent the last few days coding a new flow of static OPML files. At the same time I worked it out with Hal Roberts lead developer at the Berkman geek room, to statically serve the data from a server. Hal has done some really excellent work. People have been asking for a service that can serve compressed content, so Hal programmed our server to do that. I'm working with a small group of developers now on testing the new capability. We're still finding problems. When it's released we'll have sample code for Python, Tcl and UserTalk and perhaps a few other languages. It's all XML so it's easy to work with. And then, when you have an idea for an app that builds on the Share Your OPML flow, you can ask any developer with a scripting language to develop it for you, not just me. This is good, users and developers, working together, having fun. Still diggin! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Ray Ozzie's subscription listPermanent link to this item in the archive.


Last update: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 at 4:03 PM Eastern.

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