Ron Parsons of Yahoo sends a note with news of more feeds, centered around business, stock markets, the economy, earnings etc.
A piece of data for Americans about Europe and their media. No one here seems to know about the Dean Scream. It's not part of the folklore. Ask an educated European why Dean isn't the nominee of the Democratic Party and they turn the question back at you. There's more to it than the scream and the huge amount of play it got on the networks. Dean raised lots of money because he had support in the northeast and west coast. But the first primaries were in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Ole Eichorn found a new reason to love the Charles Hotel in Cambridge.
Wired: "What happens when everyone discovers the power of aggregators? Will the Web be able to handle it? In Internet boom-speak, will it scale?"
We should get some kind of group of aggregator developers to talk about the issue raised in Wired's article. So many distractions in RSS-space, the concern they raise is real, we should have some kind of roadmap for managing change-percolation in a world where polling is too expensive to do the simple way. Could we come up with something like BitTorrent for aggregators? Sure.
Michael Gartenberg: "Unless someone can come up with something and order of magnitude better than what Google offers it's likely we're going to see Google increase in importance over time and not decrease."
Boston Globe: "Google's distinct culture is a great competitive advantage, but its obsession with control and secrecy is not."
John Robb: "Their quest for money and power is Adam's pain."
John Battelle: " I can only imagine the eyes rolling at Kleiner Perkins, Morgan Stanley, and the rest of the veterans as the founders insisted on this."
One year ago today: Citizen bloggers in NH?
It's looking like I won't get as far as Barcelona. I'm going to stay another day in Geneva. My flight back to Boston is on Tuesday from Amsterdam, that's the basic constraint. But I can fly to Amsterdam if need-be.
I see indications that people are switching to WordPress. Perhaps it would be better to take the focus off the bad that some people are doing to weblog interchange formats and APIs, and focus on making sure WordPress is doing a good job. Is there a summary page somewhere about the formats and protocols that WordPress supports, and some examples? I found this discussion thread that sheds some light. Their feeds actually look pretty good, from what I've seen so far. I'd like to see the guids be permalinks, if it's at all possible, and would prefer that the full content be included in each item's description. But on the whole, it's quite digestible, and close enough to prior art.
NY Times: "Google explicitly warns investors not to buy the offering in the hope of making a short-term profit by flipping their shares."
NY Times: "Google is not an icebreaker for other companies to follow," said John Shoch, a partner at Alloy Ventures. "It's a polka-dotted zebra."
BBC: Google files for IPO.
Report from Geneva. Great room, great view, friends, food, geekfest, birth place of the World Wide Web.
There will be a Thursday night meeting at Berkman, at 7PM Eastern. They will discuss many things, including doing Thursday night meetings after my fellowship is up, at the end of June. I will be at next Thursday's meeting, Murphy-willing.
Adam Curry: "I don't want to fight about who owns what, I just want to broadcast."
Scott Rosenberg: "A president who pulled family strings to get a berth in the Texas Air National Guard, and then couldn't even show up for that cushy job, sends out a vice president who won multiple draft deferments and candidly admits he had 'other priorities' more important than fighting under U.S. colors, to attack the 'judgment' of a Democratic candidate who both fought for his country and had the guts to turn against the war when its folly became evident."
Steve Rubel interviews Robert Scoble.
Stanford student Dan Kreiss interviewed Meg Hourihan, one of the founders of Blogger.
Postscript to post about SMS. Apparently my source was talking about fractured standards above the level of SMS. I've gotten dozens of SMS messages from all kinds of places and (presumably) devices indicating that interop with SMS is good. I haven't figured out how to send an SMS message efficiently, so if you haven't gotten a response, here it is: Thanks.
Jay Rosen gazes at his navel.
How I got online from Zurich and other tales.
What a small world. Gregor Rothfuss is in Zurich, ten minutes away from the Internet cafe I'm in. He's coming over. Gregor is the OSCOM guy and was a semi-regular at Berkman Thursdays when he was living in the Boston area last year. Benjamin Voigt, a Microsoft blogger, who gave away copies of the Cluetrain inside Microsoft. He's trying to evangelize students. "Do you know Scoble?" He says he knows him.
What do Howard Rheingold, Denise Caruso, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Rhodes, Mark Schapiro, Christina Desser, Craig Newmark, Susan Mernit, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, Mark Pincus, Dan Gillmor, Vin Crosbie, Neil Chase, Ken Sands and Bob Magnuson have in common?
The SF Giants have total WiFi coverage at their ballpark.
Adam Curry, Ninja-Extraodinaire, continues his odyssey.
Breaking through with Adam was a big deal. When I try to explain this stuff, no matter how many times I say RSS was designed so people who write weblogs and news articles could understand it, they think because I'm a developer that they can't understand it. Anyway, if Adam can understand it, so the story goes, anyone can. Of course Adam is one of the smartest people I know, but he's definitely not a developer.
Apple guy to developer circa 1989: "There's only one of me and lots of yous." It's backwards. A person who works for a platform vendor should think about it the other way, if he or she is properly doing their job. Each developer is unique. Developer support people exist only to support developers, so cut the arrogance. You win when a developer ships a new product. Don't whine about it, get busy helping the developer make you successful.
Gary Wolf: "There is a clear parallel between the excitement of the PointCast days and the enthusiasm for RSS today."
For people wanting to reach me in Europe, I have a cell phone for the next week, country code 31 (the Netherlands) 622936637. Still not sure what the next stop is, but I got my Eurail pass validated and tomorrow I hit the (rail) road. For the next week or so I have no idea how or if I'm going to be able to update this site. I've started a temporary weblog that I can edit in an Internet cafe, in case Google IPOs or something else earth shaking happens.
I give up, how do you make a Eurail reservation? Can you do it on the Web?
Ed Foster: "The spread of spyware is becoming a major headache for many IT organizations."
Ben Hyde: "Don't hand out a universal identifying token!"
Wired: "The unacknowledged father of Apple's iPod is engineer Tony Fadell, who created the gadget as an independent contractor. Apple wants the story kept under wraps, but little by little, it's leaking out."
Adam Curry: "I was dissapointed that WAP didn't happen, but I'll be really pissed if the same happens to weblog syndication."
As you can see, the style of Scripting's banner is catching on.
News.Com.Au has RSS feeds, but you have to tell them who you are and agree to their agreement before they will tell you where the feeds are.
Reuters: "A Mexican man who got drunk, fell asleep on railroad tracks and was run over by a train slept through the entire episode and escaped unharmed, local officials said on Friday."
Charles Hugo: "Tonight I went to the Scipting News Dinner in Amsterdam, which was held at De Waag on the Nieuwmarkt."
Meanwhile they've apparently chosen the underwriters for their IPO.
At last night's dinner I sat across from an entrepreneur who runs a company that makes content for cell phones. He told the story of WAP and WML and how they had splintered and reformed so many times, that now there are thousands of variations, and it's basically impossible to make applications that work over enough of the market to be economically viable.
This is a cautionary tale for the RSS community. When people say more formats, or varying practices don't cost, they are either naive or acting in their own interest, not ours. In all likelihood, RSS is going down the same path. But it's not too late to do something about it.
Yesterday Adam Curry, a friend of mine (a word I don't use lightly), said when he sees me write about RSS, he quickly skips to the next item, thinking "I'm glad Dave is taking care of that." Don't be so sure, I said to Adam. The people who want to splinter the formats just make my personality the issue, something they couldn't do if you joined me in fighting the splintering. If two people say no, it can't be about personalities, because we'd have to share the personality flaws. When you make me the only voice, that's what happens.
And by the way, having said that, you can't be sure I'm watching out for your interests. I get tired of fighting this alone. So if you like what you have with RSS, get up to speed on how it is falling apart, and stop it from happening before it's too late.
So Adam asked what he could do. I said you now own Joi Ito. Help him learn how he could help. He invests in lots of companies that benefit from RSS. It's time for him to do something good for RSS to balance the books. He's used it too well, his companies, particularly SixApart, have repeatedly undermined a coalescing of the format. Someone needs to talk wtih Joi about this. I've tried, and failed. Maybe Adam and Joi can figure out what Joi needs to get him on board. Then, after that works, we'll find someone else for you to work with, and then someone for Joi to work with. We'll start a world wide club of ninjas, fighting against the unfair exploitation of RSS and its users.
Another cautionary tale from the dinner in Amsterdam, SMS is going down the same path as WAP/WML, what used to be a firm standard is being extended in incompatible ways. There will be eighteen brands of SMS, and you'll only be able to message people who use the same brand of phone. I don't use SMS, I don't think it exists in the US, but I understand it's popular in Europe and Asia.
I used to say this to Bill G when he started giving money to charities to help make the world a better place, presumably. I said that he had so much more leverage in the computer business, if he would just do a few things differently we could solve some of the biggest problems in the world by working together. He either didn't get it, or ignored it, or is insincere in his desire to make the world a better place, or something else I don't understand.
Working together in the users' interest, is by far the most important thing we can do, far more important than any one brand of software.
Fortune: Craigslist in Lights.
Consumers Union: "President Bush’s plan unveiled today to provide affordable high-speed Internet access to all Americans by 2007 fails to address a primary hurdle cited by consumer groups to achieving that goal: a 'hidden tax' the administration allows cable operators to impose on customers by forcing them to buy the services or packages they create to get access to the Internet."
NY Times article breaks down Google ownership.
Dinner tonight at In De Waag, 7PM, reservation under "Curry."
Adam is VJ'ing in a whole new way. "It used to be Michael Jackson, Madonna and Tiffany," he said.
Walter: "It appears I'm in the minority of people who think this is might be an underhanded way of nudging RSS out of the way in favour of Atom."
Wired: "Low-power radio, more than four years after the FCC's ruling, has been something less than an unqualified success."
Ed Foster: "If you stop using the service for 90 days, they get rid of your data. But the credit charges go on and on."
We are having a Scripting News dinner tonight in Amsterdam, but we don't have the place yet. Andrew and I are getting together with Adam at 1PM today. A good time for dinner is 7PM. It'll probably be a smallish group, around seven people (just guessing). We should pick a place close to Dam Square, the ambience is more important than the food quality. It should be quiet enough so we can hear a conversation involving seven people. I've started a blog post for coordinating.
Last year on this day: "Please don't flame me but.."
Scoble: "Lately people have been asking me 'how or when does weblogging and/or syndication go mainstream?' It goes mainstream when everyone in society gets passionate about something."
Britt Blaser and Micah Sifry are having a vigorous Web conversation about whether bloggers are editors or journalists. Sometimes I think bloggers are burned-out jet-lagged world travellers full of rijsttafel, broodjes, and Heineken.
Michael Levin says listening to me on audio is better than Dr Demento. Cool. I used to listen to Dr Demento all the time when I was in college.
Lots of emails saying that my power supply can probably do 220 volts, so I just need to find something that will snap onto the US plug arrangement to make it work with the two-pin European style.
To calibrate, when it's 3:20PM here, it's 9:20AM in Boston, and 6:20AM in California. As predicted, no sleep on the plane. Got into Amsterdam via train from the airport at 8AM local time, waited in the hotel lobby, met some people from the UK, went to breakfast, waited some more in the hotel lobby, they took pity on me and gave me the first available room at 10:30AM, I showered and slept and woke up at 3PM or so, and immediately (of course) had to figure out how to get online.
Which proved to be a puzzle. They had no power on the airplane last night, but I read about it in the online magazine. They said sometimes you have to pull the battery on your laptop to get it work because the laptop-plus-battery consumes too much juice, but the laptop-itself is okay. When I plugged the laptop into the converter, the light on the power-brick would pulse and the machine would start up and then hibernate, over and over. I tried to charge my iPod and it wouldn't charge. So I tried pulling the battery on the laptop and voila, it runs. So I am able to get online (for 17.5 euro a day, what a ripoff) but my battery isn't charging, which is a problem I have to solve. Any suggestions, send them here.
So why do you tune into Radio Dave? I hope it's for insights like this. When you arrive in Europe, as I did today, you realize how strange the place you live is. We don't have wind mills. We don't have great train stations under our airports. We don't have giant ferris wheels in the central square of our nation's capital to celebrate our queen, and we don't have a queen. But I'll tell you one thing we share. TCP/IP and 802.11b. Amidst all the childish squabbling of tech companies and their infantile engineers, and pundits who steer markets toward higher consulting fees (for them), we managed to get some really nice compatibility. My power adapter may not work here, but my XML-RPC stack does.
I went looking for a pointer for Channel Z and noted two things.
Google knows I'm in the Netherlands. This is irritating. I may be in the Netherlands, but I don't speak Dutch. How do I tell it to stop being so smart and just give me Google-As-Usual for a guy from the US who likes the Mets.
Second, when I searched for Channel Z the top hit was a post from a guy at O'Reilly complaining that I stole the idea from him. What utter nonsense. The idea of hierarchic directories certainly predates blogging tools. Manila has had a hierarchic directory browser since 2000. And everything in Channel Z is edited in an outliner, and as far as I know no other blogging tool has one, and if it does, was it really the first outliner? I did my first outliner in 1978. Doug Engelbart did one before. I think that's about it.
A fantastic mosaic of pictures of soldiers who died in Iraq form an aggregate picture of the 43rd President of the United States.
I'll play too. From Let's Go France, 2004, page 23, sentence 5: "For a basic first-aid kit, pack: bandages, pain reliever, antibiotic cream, a thermometer, a Swiss Army knife, tweezers, moleskin, decongestent, motion sickness remedy, diarrhea or upset-stomach medication (Pepto Bismol or Immodium), an antihistimine, sunscreen, insect repellent, burn ointment, and a syringe for emergencies (get an explanatory letter from your doctor). 1. Grab the nearest book. 2. Open the book to page 23. 3. Find the fifth sentence. 4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
I don't know I kind of like the lobster look.
Gigablast is a fast search engine. It's not using the same ranking algorithm as Google. At first I thought it was, but some of my standard searches show radically different results. Overall I really like it. It's designed to make transitioning from Google as painless as possible. And it compares favorably to Google in clutter. Google is going down the same path that Altavista went down, adding lots of doo-dads and paid distractions that take you away from the search results, which is the reason we use a search engine.
Search Engine Watch interview with Gigablast developer Matt Wells.
RSS tutorial for ASP.Net developers.
Shelley Powers on transitioning from Movable Type to WordPress.
Steve Gillmor interviews Google's Sergey Brin.
NY Times: "Google outflanked all of the Web portals and Internet providers by gaining loyalty from Web surfers who found it a very fast and impartial pointer to any information to be found on the Internet."
A wire service story that has nothing to do with Google.
Two Jewish guys pass a Catholic church. A sign out front says "Convert to Catholicism and we'll pay you $250."
"I don't know," says one of the Jews to the other. "That's mighty tempting."
A few days later the sign offers a bounty of $500 to convert. "That's hard to pass up," he says.
When they pass the church the next day the price is up to $1000. "That's it. I'm going in." The other guy waits, a few hours pass, his friend comes out and he asks "Is it true, did they pay you $1000 to convert?" The other guy asks "Is that all you people ever think about?"
Pretty excited about my trip to Europe which starts tomorrow. It's my first overseas trip since the big thing happened almost two years ago. I've got an window seat in coach, which would be a huge problem if I were flying from San Francisco, but it's cool that it's just a six hour flight to Amsterdam from Boston, a little longer than flying to the western US. So I've got two good books, three DVDs, my laptop, iPod, a bottle of water, Balance Bars, and I'm sure I won't sleep, though the flight leaves at 6:30PM and arrives at 7AM. Yeah, I'm excited. And there are friends waiting on the other side of the ocean. Life is good.
Jon Lauck: The Argus Leader.
MIT: What is RSS?
The Washington Post now has RSS feeds. Bing!
Tim Bishop reviews the new Post feeds. Apparently there's room for improvement.
The Baltimore Sun has extensive RSS support.
Pete Seeger recorded the Fixin To Die Rag too.
Mr & Mrs RFB: "After seeing those things 'the Fish' I felt like going to the bathroom and throwing up."
Last year on this day: "Keyboar broken, spi11 1iqui too 1ate 1ast nite. Many keys broke. Oy. Praise Murvy!"
Trademark Blog: "Google might have been conducting an unannounced test for a short period of time."
Reuters: Google May Announce IPO Plan Soon.
News.Com: Google's chastity belt too tight.
NY Times: "The European Commission released its antitrust ruling against Microsoft to the public."
Mena Trott: "Movable Type 3.0 is not intended to be a feature release."
UserLand's Scott Young will lead a discussion about RSS in Sunnyvale on Monday, 9:30AM.
I didn't like Google's response yesterday which came through Evan Williams. It was about as snotty as it could be, and started a whole bunch of people characterizing the issue as a conspiracy theory. How Nixonesqe. This is par for the course, Google's PR with the blogging community is usually like this these days, but it wasn't always so. There was a time when they dealt with us with respect, understanding that we are part of the Web that they cover with their search engine. As they've grown they seem to have forgotten that.
But in fact, Google does do things to force Atom support, so the conjecture is reasonable, and Evan didn't deny they were doing it.
Exactly this sort of thing happened with the Google Toolbar and its support for Blogger, just weeks after they said they wouldn't do anything to favor it over other weblog tools. They said it was just a beta, but the beta became a shipping product and they never explained why they weren't breaking the promise. In fact they were. There were APIs they could have used which would have made their toolbar work with any blogging tool. This would have clearly been the appropriate technical, not-evil, approach.
Google is a very powerful company that plays very fast with developers and content providers. Up till now none of the issues have involved the crawler or the search engine. Now they've crossed into that territory. We deserve a better answer than the one Evan gave us, certainly a more respectfully stated one.
Disclaimer: I own stock in UserLand, which Blogger competes with. Blogger is part of Google. I don't own stock in any other technology company.
Yesterday I pointed to a post by Jeremy Zawodny that appeared to be calling for a flame fest with me as the guest of honor. I pointed to it after the first few comments made it clear that it wasn't going to be a flame fest. In fact, it was the most rational discussion of conflict disclosure I've seen to date in the weblog world. It left me bursting with pride to be part of this community.
There's nothing wrong when someone writes an essay advocating something that they have a financial interest in, as long as the interest is disclosed. For example, if you're going to buy a house, it's good to know you're reading something written by someone who will profit if you buy the house. That's why you get an inspector to look over the house after you decide to make an offer. And why you'd feel betrayed if it turned out the inspector was getting a percentage of the sale. (In fact the inspector would go to jail for doing that.)
So when a Google shareholder write's an empassioned defense of Google, it was correct for Zawodny to ask if he was a shareholder. He did ask, and got an answer, and as far as I was concerned, that was news, so I pointed to it. All of this is good, it's the system working as it should.
As I read John Battelle's analysis of search engines, I wonder if he is consulting for the companies he's writing about. John has a long career as a journalist and now as a professor, both professions require disclosures of conflicts of interest, so I assume he has no such conflict, because I haven't seen a disclaimer from him.
On the other hand, I often see people who I know have conflicts writing in their area of conflict without disclosure. In a world where everyone's playing footsie, if you tend to out people, you quickly get a rep for being difficult, or having personality problems. Does this sound familiar? Heh.
In any case, the thread on Zawodny's was a milestone. Thanks to Tara, Brian, Ryan, Randy, Scott and Rogers and the others who stood up and said it's important to know where people are coming from. Tell people when you have a conflict, they'll read you more carefully, they'll respect you more, and the world will be a better place.
This evening after Rebecca's talk, a bunch of us got together to laugh about burning George Bush in effigy. Actually I did most of the laughing. We thought that might play well on Al Jazeera. See, not everyone in America is crazy. Some people are rational. I know that Hannity will be there along with Rush Limbaugh calling us liberals. I anticipated that. I'm going to get a hard hat and a baseball bat and kick some reactionary butt. We're going to chase them down the street until they admit that we're bigger and stronger than they are. No more Mr Nice Liberal Guy.
BloggerCon III in Nashville?
Phil G in Ecuador!
Tonight's Thursday evening meeting is at Shorenstein. We're going to hear Rebecca MacKinnon talk about blogging about North Korea, a very timely topic given all the news today from North Korea. It starts at 6PM Eastern and as far as I know will not be webcast.
Channel 9 interviews Dare Obasanjo on syndication formats.
NK Zone is covering the rail disaster in North Korea.
Dan Gillmor: "The Bush administration wants to keep the reality of the war in Iraq as far away from the American people as it can."
If you've ever wondered if Google has too much power, read this email, and then think about it.
Abe Fettig: "If Dave's anonymous correspondent is seeing hits on /index.rdf and /atom.xml, it probably means that his pages contain links to those files." This theory seems to be wrong. Google is actively looking for these two files, lots of reports being posted agree. Check out the comments here.
A copy of the email I sent to the Berkman fellows mail list (Google exec Andrew McLoughlin is on the list), cc'd to Brad Templeton, Larry Lessig and Robert Scoble. I'm also writing a script that tests this on my servers which are frequently indexed by Google. One has to wonder what's still sacred at Google, will they stop indexing sites whose content they don't like or is this just about formats they don't like?
Okay here's some kind of response from Google.
NY Times: "95 percent of libraries offer Internet access."
Bush: "We're not going to cut and run if I'm in the Oval Office."
Last night's movie was Eternal Sunshine, and what a nice movie it is.
Lacuna: "Painless non-surgical memory erasing process."
Heilman: "One sake, one vicodin, one beer."
Zawodny: "Your terse linking style leave a lot of room for interpretation."
Actually, if you read What is Scripting News, linked to in the popup menu to the right, it's pretty clear how I want you to interpret a link. "A link on Scripting News means that I thought that the story was interesting, and felt that an informed person would want to consider the point of view expressed in the piece."
My first Howto BloggerCon piece, about the format.
Lance argues for un-conferences.
Happiness is a new NY Times RSS feed. (About campaigns.)
USA Today: "Internet cafes seemingly dot every block in Baghdad, and new ones open often. That has led to a new phenomenon here: bloggers."
Marc Canter illustrates the method favored by many visitors to Amsterdam's Internet cafes.
Durgin Park dinner pic by the Accordion Guy.
Mark Glaser: EchoChamber.com.
Register: Texaco pumps Wi-Fi into 100 garages.
Kevin Werbach: "Who else would the parents of a nice Asian Jewish girl want for their little princess?"
Channel 9 interviews Dare Obasanjo.
Two years ago today: The Mind of Google.
Nick Denton: "The Times piece, so sniffy about the accuracy of online media sites such as the Drudge Report and Wonkette, was itself rippled by distortion."
David Cullen on Columbine: "Their vision was to create a nightmare so devastating and apocalyptic that the entire world would shudder at their power." Cullen explains how the story came to be on his Salon weblog.
Shall we have a Scripting News dinner in Amsterdam?
Lenn Pryor's report on BloggerCon. "It was the un-conference in many ways."
Wired News report on BloggerCon.
NY Times quotes Saudi officials saying they don't play politics with oil. Weblogs are famous for providing commentary on the news. Here's my opinion. "They're lying."
AP: "Researchers found a serious security flaw that left core Internet technology vulnerable to hackers, prompting a secretive effort by international governments and industry experts in recent weeks to prevent global disruptions."
Brent Simmons: "The next release of NetNewsWire is going to be a big upgrade."
Tim O'Reilly: "I do own a small amount of Google stock."
AP: "Just as consumers are beginning to get comfortable with their DVD players, electronics manufacturers are set to introduce next-generation discs that store more and would be harder to copy."
NY Times: "Between January and mid-March this year, Americans spent $1.78 billion at the box office. But in the same period they spent $4.8 billion -- more than $3 billion more -- to buy and rent DVD's and videocassettes."
The EFF is searching for a socially responsible technical director.
So many people I didn't get to talk with, and conversations I heard about later that I wish had been on the schedule. The emotional life of weblogs will be a big one at the next conference. Barlow was the perfect discussion leader. There's a lot more to do there. We've been tiptoeing up to this one. AKMA's session on Sprituality last year, and Jeff Sharlet's on Religion this year were lead-ups.
In 1999 Jakob Nielsen wondered if we were stuck with old browsers until 2003. It's even worse than it appears.
Weblog coverage of families of American war victims in Iraq?
NY Times article on BloggerCon. "The meeting was appropriately ad hoc, with no expert panels or keynote speakers. The participants -- whether they had been posting for three weeks or five years -- took turns voicing their opinions, snapping digital photos, recording videos, and, of course, blogging on their laptops through it all."
Tara Liloia blogs all who blogged BloggerCon.
High temps, low humidity and high winds, yield a Red Flag Warning for Boston and environs today.
Mitch Kapor: Korea and the Political Promise of the Net.
Kevin Reynen: "I decided to create a photomosaic of Bill Gates from images and logos of the companies Microsoft has bought or crushed."
Bought my Eurail pass this morning. Unlimited travel in all the countries. I may just spend seven days riding the train. So many places I've never been. Dinner in Prague, breakfast in Budapest, bratwurst in Bavaria? Bernie Goldbach says Destination Budapest is a pretty cool trip. BTW, I didn't say breakfast in Bavaria, I called for bratwurst in Bavaria. Though you can have bratwurst for breakfast, I've done it, and it works. Lance Knobel likes the strangeness and grittiness of Budapest. I guess I gotta go. Hungarian goulash!
InfoWorld: Can Email be Saved?
Register: The future of Weblogging.
Shocking revelation last night in the 60 Minutes interview with Bob Woodward -- a conspiracy to manipulate oil prices before the November election in order to get Bush re-elected.
In the last Fat Man Sings session (in which the fat man didn't sing) it was suggested that I write a howto that explains how to do a BloggerCon. At that moment, as I was about to complete the job, the thought of doing more work for BC seemed pretty horrible. But the idea stuck and I think it's a worthwhile thing to do, but not something to do all in one shot, rather to do it over time and hope that someone investigating this will use a search engine to find all the bits.
Good news from my now much closer friend Adam in Amsterdam. Everything worked out great, Patricia is getting good medical care, Ole filled in for Adam, and Barlow led a discussion about emotions & weblogs. Now I'm feeling quite emotional. I have to go for a walk to get un feklempt. Talk among yourselves.
Dowbrigade: "In addition to those on-site in Pound 201, there were on-line interventions from bloggers in Holland, Germany, China, Korea, Japan and Canada."
John Palfrey: "Official thanks from the Berkman Center at HLS to all those who traveled from near and far to spend a Saturday with us at BC II."
Andrew: "Who'd have guessed that MIT would find itself competing for thought leadership on the Internet with that liberal arts school up the river? Way to go, Berkman."
Yesterday I pointed to PhoneBlogger because it was mentioned at the Fat Man Sings session at the conference, and little did I know that it doesn't work with Radio. The author of the program explains. The reason we worked on a common API is so that this wouldn't happen.
Rogers explains why he is so geeked by Radio.
I didn't know that Kim Polese is on the board of Technorati.
It's a thrill to point to someone who writes about you in a language you don't understand.
There was a time when the tools worked together. Now they don't.
Thanks to all the discussion leaders at BloggerCon II. The sessions were lively, interesting, kept moving, the issues were exposed, in an interesting way, no one fell asleep. Thanks to Bob Doyle and his colleagues at Sky Builders for providing the video webcast and hardware loans. Thanks to the people who donated cash that paid for the drinks and snacks. Thanks to John Perry Barlow, Philip Greenspun and Ole Eichorn for serving on short notice. Thanks to the 100 or so no-shows, without them there was just barely enough room for everyone who was here. The one major glitch was the air conditioning, but as far as I know, even though it was hot in every room, we all survived, no worse for the wear and tear. It worked! Now it's sunrise in Cambridge, I'm eating breakfast with some friends at 8AM, and am a free man. Next stop Europe.
Amy Langfield's photo blog.
PhoneBlogger is an "automated voice application that first asks you for info about which pre-configured blog you wish to post to."
Scoble: "What are the best practices in persuasion methods?"
I'm in Jay Rosen's session on What is Journalism? Rebecca is blogging the session.
Announcements, questions, open thread.
Micah Sifry needs a ride back to NYC after the last session.
Jeff Jarvis: "One more note of thanks to Steve Westenhiser and my colleagues at Advance.net for swooping in to rescue the webcasting situation at Bloggercon." Amen!
Ted Leung: "People have told me that the 3-6 or 7 range is the golden age of having kids, when they are old enough to interact with but not old enough to start rebelling or whatever. I don't know if that's true or not, but a day like today makes me want to grab every day I can with these little people."
4/6/04: What is Journalism?
Doc Searls: "Technologists have a high need for thoroughly informed dialog and a low tolerance for rhetorical packet loss."
JD Lasica: "What really set me on edge was the notion that we should return to the days when only big-J journalists practice journalism and bloggers, well, whatever they did, it certainly wasn't journalism."
Chris Nolan: "Blogging can be a form of journalism."
Zawodny: "Even Tim O'Reilly seems to be sucked in by Google's reality distortion field now."
Three more faculty changes to announce later. Just heard from Jay, and the webcast issues are solved thanks to help from Advance.Net.
BBC: "EarthLink said it uncovered an average of 28 spyware programs on each PC scanned."
Jay Rosen: Brain Food for BloggerCon. "Blogging is not journalism."
My response: Jay, I didn't ask if blogging is journalism.
I didn't leak it.
RSS in Vietnam, in Vietnamese.
The day has arrived. The first official BloggerCon II event is tonight at 7PM at the Durgin Park restaurant in Faneiul Hall.
We're still looking for help with the webcast. I'm going to try to get through to someone at Real today to find out if we can get a temporary renewal for our license. Bob Doyle is exploring other ways to webcast, but the Real method is the one that we've used for all our webcasts, it's the software that's installed on the laptops, it's by far the simplest approach. It's possible to do the job using someone else's Real server. If you can help, post a comment or send me an email.
It seems every time I go to a conference there's some guy who has a low-flow blog devoted to saying snarky stuff about me. For some reason these people always feel they need to introduce themselves. I can see it coming by the look on their face, it's a sense that they are my nemesis, my joker, my Lex Luthor, my Kryptonite. They feel a special place in my heart. Oh if you only knew my true feelings. I know that when you point to me I get 3 hits, and most of them are from your IP address.
It's a sick thing to define yourself in terms of the misery you think you're creating. It's the kind of misery someone creates when cutting a really stinky fart. Yeah, I know I'm going to survive this, but couldn't you just skip the farting part. Hey couldn't you just skip the introducing yourself part?
What happened to people who use typewriters?
In the 80s, during the rise of personal computers, they were very outspoken.
You'd see pictures in news papers of people using their type writers to write their articles and columns. "There's nothing like a typewriter," they'd say. "You can have your personal computer, but I'll keep my typewriter. Writing is better with a typewriter. I think more before I write. There's something wrong about being able to revise constantly. I know when I'm done. I have a life."
I'm paraphrasing of course, trying my best to tell it like they did.
Now you don't hear this any more. What happened? Did they die? Did they convert? Or did they tire of the arguing?
Someday I hope to meet someone who's never seen a typewriter.
Someday I hope to meet someone who doesn't know what a typewriter is.
Someday I hope to meet someone who is impressed that I've actually used one myself.
I was talking up the Personal TV Networks idea last night with Jim Moore. He asked what they are. Well, they don't exist yet. But think about mainframe computers, centralized beasts, controlled and owned big faceless corporations, and how all hell broke loose when people could buy a personal computer for a couple of thousand dollars. Same idea. More and more, the media is owned by big faceless companies who can be manipulated by the government. Blogs are great, they're like personal magazines. This is no longer a vision, it's reality. So if you want to publish an idea, go ahead. You don't need to sell it to a publisher. The next step, which we're on the cusp of, is video production and distribution using RSS and BitTorrent, and perhaps other P2P methods. Adam Curry, who began his television career working for one of the behemoths, has become the visionary for the personal television network of the future. Of course that's one of the BloggerCon sessions tomorrow afternoon at 1:30PM, Pound 200.
Over the next few days I'm going to call out some of the people who made this conference happen.
First thanks to Berkman Center. Before coming here I had talked about doing conferences, since the early 90s, but it took the support of John Palfrey to get me to actually take the chance. I remember standing in his office last spring, about a year ago, asking if he really wanted to do it, and he said in Paltreyesque fashion "Desperately." Desperation, that's a good motivator!
Thanks to Catherine Bracy and Wendy Koslow, who cheerfully navigated the emergencies, brownouts and weirdnesses of doing a blogger's conference at a big Ivy League school. It's the first time I've worked with Catherine, and the second time with Wendy. This conference wouldn't have happened without their help.
Thanks to the Berkman Thursday group. To Jay McCarthy, who's responsible for the technical aspects of the conference, to Lisa Williams who is doing the User Vision session, and helped out in many other ways, to Jessica Baumgart for leading the Librarians session, Sooz for organizing the Durgin Park dinner, Mike Walsh for help organizing and to all the regulars who participated in the process.
It takes months of hard and creative work and lots of support to pull a conference like this out of thin air. If it works, it's a miracle. Knock wood, praise Murphy, I am not a lawyer, my mother loves me, it's even worse than it appears.
A weird idea from 2001. Let's be nice to someone today. Ask them how they're doing. What's up with you? Listen. Tell someone you like them. Did I ever tell you how much I enjoy talking with you? Go for a walk. Look up, what do you see? Greet a stranger. Hello there. Pet a pup. Hello nice doggie. Want to fetch something for me? Good job. You're a smart dog, yes yes. Make this day about someone other than you. That's my plan.
Jeff Sandquist: How Channel 9 Uses RSS.
We have a bit of a crisis on our hands re the webcast. We have a full RealServer license that expired yesterday (praise Murphy) and now we're 1. Trying to get Real to re-up (it was a contribution, Berkman is a non-profit) or 2. Find someone with a RealServer who can reflect for us. If you can help, please post a note here.
SaveDisney.Com supports RSS.
Webcast for tonight's meeting.
Greenspun: "This assignment frightens me for a number of reasons."
Google "takes your privacy very seriously." Then they say that they care that we trust them. I gave this some thought and realized, as often is the case, the problem is the reverse. Why doesn't Google trust us? When I try to engage them in conversation, about important stuff, they offer all kinds of defenses, ranging from accusing me of playing the age card (Michael Gartenberg witnessed this), to saying "it's an engineering issue" (an insult, it's not) and in one case, just walking away mid-sentence. This company has a problem. The debacle over the privacy of Gmail, which isn't much of a technical issue (the other guys, even bigger companies, already do what Google is talking about), is self-inflicted. This is a company that used to know how to talk with people like myself. Now they have every defense up, and the insiders don't want to let them off the hook until they show an interest in communicating. I'm with them on that. It's not personal as my fellow fellow Andrew McLoughlin claimed it was (he's now an exec at Google). It a conversation. It's the Web. Get over yourselves and work with us, and these problems will melt away and maybe we can all win.
John Heilemann: Rewiring the War Room.
Andrew Grossman: Privacy Advocates Wrong About Regulating Gmail.
Draft of the handout for Saturday. I'm sure there are mistakes and omissions. What are they?
Change in the faculty for BloggerCon. Nick Denton had a personal emergency and couldn't come up from NYC, so I asked Philip Greenspun if he would lead the discussion on Shirky's Power Law, and he agreed to do it. Although he hardly needs an introduction, Greenspun is an MIT instructor, founder of Ars Digita, airplane pilot, world traveler and blogger.
Make BloggerCon II announcements here.
Sunday is a free-form day, meaning Berkman doesn't have a schedule for the day, but a lot of bloggers will stay in town overnight. The weather is supposed to be fantastic. I'll be having breakfast at the Charles on Sunday. There's a Dim Sum brunch being organized. On Sunday I'm a civillian, one of the random bloggers in Cambridge. Looking forward to that feeling. From there, I have to pack for Europe and then spend the rest of April and the first part of May as a tourist in lands where their native language is not English. Hope to build many new neural pathways.
Jeff Sharlet will lead a discussion on weblogs and religion.
Two generals on NPR's Morning Edition agree that the entire US military is already deployed in Iraq. They say it's the smallest US military since 1939. We still don't have a good explanation for why we're there. The generals agree we could declare victory. We came looking for WMDs. None found. Mission accomplished.
News.Com: "IBM's Venture Capital Group has invested in more than 40 venture capital funds. It has a close working relationship with more than 80 VC firms, including as Accel Partners and Walden International."
The weather forecast continues to improve. Tomorrow and Saturday will be sunny and (by Boston standards) warm, highs in the 50s, low 60s. If you're coming from a tropical climate, bring a sweater, and it couldn't hurt to bring an umbrella, just in case. But if you believe the forecast, we'll be eating lunch outside on Saturday, which is the day after tomorrow by the way. People coming from Europe are probably already on their way. The excitement builds! Monday is the Boston Marathon. The forecast calls for highs on Monday in the 80s.
About tonight's meeting at Berkman, it's our last meeting before the conference. As always, everyone's welcome, but it's not like a cocktail party (as some thought last time), it's an intense work meeting among people who are trying to do something that's hard, with limited time, money and experience. So please, only come if you want to help.
According to John Roberts, who works at CNET, the weird feed was a mistake, as I guessed yesterday, which they're correcting. In general the blogs showed restraint this time, instead of shooting first and asking questions later, which has been the norm. Mazel tov. Also, I hope this is not breaking news, but there can be new XML-based formats in the future, even proprietary ones. I saw some people assume that a new format was bad news. It's funny that these people also think Atom is a good idea! They might want to do a consistency check on that.
Christian Science Monitor: "This Saturday he'll host BloggerCon II, a conference at Harvard Law School for both new and veteran bloggers."
For Tim Jarrett last night's Bush press conference was the tipping point.
Doc Searls: "What I heard from Bush's speech last night sounded like leadership. What I heard from the Q&A that followed sounded like a man cornered by wolverines."
Boing Boing is linking from each post to a Technorati query that shows you who's pointing to the post. Andrew Grumet has been doing this for some time, probably others too. Anyway, if Technorati wants to encourage this, as I assume they do, they should come up with a small icon that stands for this query. "New! Other blogs commenting on this post" is way way too long. Even "Cosmos" is too much space. Something about the size of the pound sign we use for permalinks. Also be sure not to do anything that limits it to one brand of blogging software.
Tim Bray on the CNET file that's not in RSS format. I bet $10 it's a mistake, and that's their internal format, revealed by accident. The NY Times does it this way too, by the way. They have their own internal format for headlines, it's not RSS. I wrote a script that runs on a UserLand server that polls their feeds, and produces RSS 2.0. It's a pretty common practice, certainly nothing to worry about.
James Gosling: "We're not a bunch of moronic secret subversive Microsoft lapdogs."
Andrew Grumet has a few interesting ways to link to accessibility engineers who don't want you to link to them.
A reminder I still have to plan something for Amsterdam. I'm there at least 4/25 through 4/28. My flight back to Boston isn't until May 4.
It's raining heavy in Boston today and tomorrow. But it will clear on Friday, it'll be sunny and warm in time for BloggerCon. Watch the forecast here.
Four years ago today, Salon ran reactions to the stock market carnage, the bubble burst so many anticipated. Three years before that on this day, Time Magazine named Marimba CEO Kim Polese one of the 25 most influential Americans.
BBC: "San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds hit his 661st career home run on Tuesday to move past his godfather Willie Mays into sole possession of third place on the all-time list."
"thinkusaalignright"Another point of view hit me hard listening to Bush bumble last night. Every day at least three or four young Americans are killed in Iraq, and an order of magnitude more Iraqis. What an incredible amount of misery. These people had futures. Maybe one of them would have gone on to be a senator or a doctor or a poet, dancer, thinker or peace-maker. Maybe they would just be people who would like to know that Barry Bonds hit 661. They were people with futures, but now that they're dead, no more.
For the families, where exactly do they put their grief? Why should they care about Iraq? For the Iraqis, why are the Americans there? He says he feels their pain, but I don't believe that. I think if he did, he'd resign immediately and let someone else, with no personal stake in this, manage the war. Having resigned, and feeling responsible for all that death and destruction, he would have no choice but to go to Iraq and fight and give up his own life to get us out. It would be understandable if he didn't want to send his children to fight with him, and it would also be understandable if other American parents felt the same. If one more life was spared it would be the right thing to do.
Also I have no doubt that at least one of the Americans who have died would be a better leader for this country. This is the best we can do? What an embarassment for such a great country to be so utterly without direction, wasting a potential prosperity, for nothing.
Queso: "It’s about time Americans understand who it was that they elected." Amen to that. Tonight's press conference was pretty bad. At one point I thought maybe Bush should just resign and go be President of Iraq. He seems to have lost track of his job, which is President of the country I live in, the country I just paid taxes to, the country whose young people are dying to save a country that did not attack us on Sept 11 and one that clearly does not want our help. Watching him fumble tonight, I realized this is Mr Joe Average thrust into a situation way over his head, as if that wasn't bad enough, he started a war that has no end. Shame on the Republicans for nominating this guy in 2000. He can't complete a sentence. He talked about a chicken farm in Libya (twice!). The Republicans still have the power to fix it, get a new candidate for the November election, and start the withdrawal from Iraq now. It's a disaster. This guy is drowning, and that's bad.
Notes about BloggerCon 2.0, as we approach mid-week.
Because the conference will be webcast it should be possible for people to participate from anywhere on planet Earth.
Jay Rosen: "Not only does the White House need the press to reach the nation where the nation is right now, but the President would like to have before him a legitimate -- and, yes, representative -- press corps raising legitimate and representative doubts. Otherwise, tonight's move is senseless."
Dowbrigade: "...reporters appear on-screen during the local and national news broadcasts, underneath their image appears both their name and email address."
Doug Kaye interviews Mary Jo Foley and Steve Gillmor about the Microsoft-Sun deal.
CNET leads the way again, with RSS feeds for new downloads.
Their hot titles feed is in a format I've never seen before. Interesting.
Jeff Jarvis started a Wiki for his session about blogs as businesses.
Mary Jo Foley on Microsoft's patents. "The company is filing for protection for, on average, ten patents per week."
Mark Pilgrim, who works for IBM, makes fun of people who think large companies are more powerful than little ones.
Why has Netflix stopped renting Chariots of Fire?
Gizmodo: Free WiFi Hotspots Roundup.
Two years ago: What's next after the Google API?
SF Chronicle: "Bonds watched the 660th home run of his career soar over the right-field wall, threw both arms in the air and started jogging."
QuickTime video of Bonds hitting #660, incl interview with Willie Mays.
Julian Bond on Google News, RSS, the Google API.
BBC: "Legislation is being drawn up in California to block Google's new free e-mail service, Gmail, because its advertising is seen as intrusive."
NY Times: "Wayport Inc has won a contract to become the sole provider of wireless Internet access in thousands of McDonald's restaurants."
The latest innovation from Grumetware.
MotorFreaks of the Netherlands on RSS.
The Nation: "A small but signficiant White House cover-up fell apart this past weekend."
Jakob Nielsen: "It's apparently easier to tune out the continuous drone of a complete conversation, in which two people take turns speaking, than it is to ignore a person speaking and falling silent in turns."
A two year old joke about engineers is still funny.
Reminder: Today is the last day to sign up for Friday's dinner at the Durgin Park. If you signed up but can't go, uncheck the box and click Submit.
Declan McCullagh: "Google's current management seems trustworthy enough. But who will be running the company in a few years?"
Boston Globe: "Moblogging allows bloggers to add postings to their blog sites from almost anywhere at any time, using a cellphone, RIM Blackberry, or wireless handheld computer."
NY Times: "Having a successful, high-profile venture capitalist with hundreds of millions of dollars in personal wealth devote attention to microfinance initiatives is invigorating for the fledgling industry."
This is a little technical.
A search engine views the Web as a set of pages. Before Google, they were unrelated pages, but Google started a practice where pages were considered more relevant to a topic if other pages linked to them using the topic as a key word. The more relevant the page doing the pointing, the more relevance it transfers to the pages it points to. It was and is a brilliant and very useful idea.
At roughly the same time we were developing weblogs, RSS and aggregators. They change the unit of the Web from a page to a post. And because RSS is becoming quite common, it means that search engines can become more relevant to users in a different way, by precisely finding the context of a pointer, and perhaps relating other pointers that are nearby. The RSS helps introduce certainty into the concept of "nearby."
I'm not an expert in search engines, but I've yet to see Yahoo, MSN or Google return a hit for a news item in a weblog or news site, so I assume they don't understand RSS. If they did, they might be able to provide a richer service to users.
Hoder explains how to form a local blogosphere in a community, based on the experience of Iranians.
It's getting close to a month since Rogers raised an important issue of ethics at The Guardian. So far, to my knowledge, we've only gotten an argumentative response, that almost promises that they'll investigate, but not quite. It appears as if they passed off an opinion piece as news. A retraction and apology to their readers is called for, or some kind of detailed explanation why the author was qualified to write an independent piece for their publication, when he was one of the participants in the supposed "war" he was covering.
Happy to be back in Boston. I remembered to blog something Jay Rosen said at dinner on Friday. He's been following some discussions of BloggerCon that I hadn't seen where people said it's pretentious. I was surprised. Something about Harvard is pretentious? I said that's not exactly front-page news.
My Dad is convinced that Bush
Micah Sifry: How to 'Finish the Job' in Iraq.
AP: "President Bush was told more than a month before the Sept 11 attacks that al-Qaida had reached America's shores, had a support system in place for its operatives and that the FBI had detected suspicious activity that might involve a hijacking plot."
NY Times: "But the briefing did not point to any specific time or place of attack, and did not warn that planes could be used as missiles."
Peter Breuls would like to do a Dutch BloggerCon. I think that's a great idea. I would come. I also want to do a third, in the Bay Area. There was a lot of demand for that after the first, I expect there will be even more after the second. Kaye Trammell is planning one in New Orleans, next spring. Murphy-willing I'll be there too. Kaye says hers should be the 30th BC. As the Colonel in Scent of a Woman would say -- Hoo Hah!
Last year on this day: "What vision does it require to start a war?"
NY Times: "President Bush was told more than a month before the attacks of Sept 11, 2001, that supporters of Osama bin Laden planned an attack within the United States with explosives and wanted to hijack airplanes, a government official said Friday."
NYC neighborhoods have food as good as the downtowns of most big cities and the prices are better. I had a gyro sandwich for lunch today that was totally delicious. A gyro is the Greek version of the Dutch broodje, something which I will (knock wood) be eating before the end of this month. I guess every culture has a food made with bread, meat, some kind of vegetable and sauce. In NY the local equivalent is a roast beef on rye with lettuce and mayonaise. In Greece, it's roasted lamb and/or pork, with onions, parsley, a yogurt sauce sprinkled with paprika served on grilled pita. Done right, it's very sweet.
Globe and Mail: "Lessig convinced his publisher, Penguin Books, to allow his new book, Free Culture, to come into the world this spring under a Creative Commons licence."
Good morning from NYC. Gorgeous spring day here. Had dinner last night with Jay Rosen at Sammy's. Had a lovely Roumanian steak, salad, stuffed cabbage and potato latkes. Excellent conversation. This morning it's a gorgeous clear green spring morning. Brought three DVDs with me, watched Good Will Hunting yesterday on the plane, watching Scent of a Woman now.
Betsy Devine: "...get on with the confusing business of trying to be a good person with nobody up in heaven who's keeping score."
Session: Personal TV Networks.
Question: Is moblogging a new market?
We've got enough money for the evening reception, and probably some refreshments during the day. We could use more money for breakfast and more refreshments. We've got almost four hundred people registered!
Barry Campbell writes to say if you lookup Sammy's with this spelling: Sammy's Roumanian, there are lots of hits. He's right. Thanks!
BBC: "By the year 2010, file-sharers could be swapping news rather than music, eliminating censorship of any kind."
Seth Godin: You Are Your References.
New header graphic: Wisteria in Bloom.
A thought I'll expand on later. The only economic factor you ever hear about are taxes. But the debt and the deficit matter too, maybe much more. The hype is that we should be ashamed of ourselves for passing on the problem to later generations, but that understates the problem. Our creditors could say, at any time, no more credit. Then, at current rates, we're going to be short $1 trillion per year. That's more than $3000 for every American, and that's just the shortfall. You'll still have to pay taxes.
I need to make a couple of disclosures, but I want to be as sensitive as I can. I don't want to be part of supposedly open processes that only include a small number of people. They aren't open, you could say say they're "as open as possible," to be generous; or "exclusive," to be really accurate.
Anyway, I've had several email exchanges and one conference call about formalizing the specification for RSS with a standards organization. My position in these private communications is exactly stated in the Roadmap section of the RSS 2.0 spec. I'm basically explaining how it would apply to a formalization process, which I would support. I would not agree to be the chair of a working group, probably even wouldn't make sense for me to be a member of the group. That's all that's happened so far.
Second, I've been helping the evangelists at Microsoft, Lenn Pryor, Jeff Sandquist, Robert Scoble, in formulating a new approach to working with developers. I plan to be open about this too, because my goal here is to help bootstrap a two-party system, and when that's working, a three-party system, and so on. I think Microsoft can exist very well in that kind of environment, but it's going to be a tough thing to pull off, because they're so large, and they're basically a gravity well, largely influenced by their own internal conversation, that it's hard for an average MS person to understand why people outside MS even bother to exist.
And now with so many of them having weblogs, it's going to be hard to keep MS people frrom interfering. But that was the problem with Apple, and Netscape and now Google; and it will be a problem in the tech industry until it's solved. How can an organization be clued in, and still work with outsiders. This could be something David Weinberger looks into at the session he's leading at BloggerCon.
On This Day In
Other worlds to go here
Important BloggerCon note. We will have a reception on Saturday, at 6PM, immediately after the last session, lasting through 9PM, and possibly longer. We have a modest budget for snacks and refreshments. There will be WiFi, so if you want to write up a report for your readers while the ideas are still fresh, you'll have a chance to do that. And we'll have time to organize dinners, and finish conversations. So -- Saturday 6PM after the conference, a three-hour schmooze with snacks and WiFi. Bing!
My good buddy Dowbrigade has arrived in South America and is blogging like a fool!
Doc Searls likes Channel 9.
Paul Reubens: "Pee-Wee was healthier than me."
IDG Poland does RSS 2.0, in Polish.
Excellent discussion at Scoble's about Media Center.
I was thinking of going to dinner at Sammy's Rumanian in NYC, so I looked it up on Google to find out if they're open when I want to go, and I have the first and only hit. Oy gevilt. Address 157 Christie St. 212-673-0330. I called, they're open seven nights a week. Don't call before 2PM you'll get the answering machine. What's the black helicopter doing on this post? Sorry, but that's an undocumented feature.
OhmyNews: "The nation is entering untrodden territory as strict new campaign procedures, a possible voter backlash over the impeachment of President Roh Moo Hyun and a massive voting block of young people that is being mobilized via the Internet come together in a volatile election climate."
The Burton Group has new support for RSS 2.0.
A mini-interview with Martin Nisenholtz at NY Times Digital. Interesting and easy to rebut. Give a voice to all the NY Times' sources so if they have something to say that the Times doesn't think is fit to print, it still gets out. This is good for everyone. We need more data. Most people think that Saddam Hussein blew up the World Trade Center. Someday the Times is going to get a big story or a great quote by reading a blog. Maybe it's already happened.
Matt Goyer: "Just think about what you could do with RSS, BitTorrent and a Media Center."
Three years ago: "Which is the platform and which is the train?"
Fons Tuistra is hosting a blogging conference in Shanghai to coincide with BloggerCon in Cambridge.
Jeff Sandquist at Microsoft gave me the tour of Channel 9 last night.
Here's the top-level story. Channel 9, on the audio track in airplanes, is the chatter between the pilot, co-pilot and control tower. If you're the kind of passenger who enjoys knowing a bit about what's going on, tune into channel 9. Most users prefer to watch the movies. That metaphor works with computers too. Most users just want to write a letter or email, post to a weblog, or listen to some music. But developers thirst for all the info they can get. And when you're heavily invested in a product, getting to know what the people who develop it think, can be enormously helpful in figuring things out.
Lenn Pryor, who I know from work we did in 1998, is an evangelist at Microsoft. Jeff works for him, as does Robert Scoble. They want to create an easy way for people who pilot and co-pilot various projects inside Microsoft to tell their stories to people in the weblog community, and (more important) to flow ideas back from the people into the products. So Scoble and Jeff go around MS with a video camera and do quick hallway interviews with people who are doing interesting stuff at Microsoft. If this works, they'll Channel 9-ize all product ships in the future. It's a good idea.
Anyway, Channel 9's first official day is today, I'm told -- but it's already an overwhelming success. 10,000 visitors in the last 24 hours. Their marketing budget is $0. Scoble says marketing used to be word of mouth, obviously it still is. Their next interview should be with Matt Goyer (who we know from Napster days and now works at Microsoft on Media Center). Clearly Matt has something to say about the product.
BTW, they're making exemplary use of RSS-with-Enclosures, but there are still a few glitches, so I want to wait until it's all working until I explain how they did it.
Scoble corrects and amplifies.
Session description: Visions from Users.
RSS version history. After reading this well-intentioned history at Microsoft, I wanted to get an accurate timeline on the Web so people could find it when they search. I imagine some people will want to debate this, but I don't. I've included pointers that substantiate this timeline. If you click on the links, and think about the dates, you'll see the sequence is in order, and the notes about the formats are accurate.
Skrenta: "Google has built their own distributed, fault-tolerant, petabyte filesystem, the Google Filesystem."
Nick Wetegrove: "Amid all the outcries of the horror privacy violations Google is committing, I have a starkly different opinion."
What is Windows XP Media Center? Apparently it's a TiVO-like box, that runs Windows XP apps, that you can access over your LAN, without hacking. In other words, it's a software platform. We should be able to create some monster apps for this thing. If all this is true, it's one of the most under-promoted products in history.
One for the wish-list, if the Internet Archive RSS feed used enclosures my aggregator would automatically download the audio. They've been collecting quite an archive of Grateful Dead concerts. Huge files. A perfect application for enclosures.
Jeremy Zawodny: "I have a sick mind."
Blogging a meeting at Berkman with Rebecca MacKinnon, Ethan Zuckerman, Colin Maclay, David Weinberger. New meme: Blog Jay. Like a DJ but for blogs. Ethan Z says Turkmenistan is going to hell. Rebecca found a German couple working out of the German embassy in Pyongyang, sending emails and having them posted to a weblog. A friend of Ethan's is blogging from Zimbabwe. Ethan just told us about the African Oil Politics weblog, whose author is coming to the conference.
Jay Rosen's notes opening a fantastic discussion for the BloggerCon What Is Journalism? session. I've posted a bunch of comments in the thread that Jay started on his weblog.
A proposed answer to the core question: What is Journalism?
Channel 9 from Microsoft Developer Network launches.
Jay McCarthy: "We are looking for volunteers for BloggerCon."
Political Wire: Kerry sees McCain as perfect running mate.
Tom Mangan: "I think it's entirely possible that bloggers could produce Pulitzer-quality work."
Ed Cone reports on a citizen journalist with a weblog in Baghdad.
I must admit HBO got me again, I'm totally enjoying their new Sunday night drama, Deadwood. You'll probably see comments here from time to time about the show. Last night's episode had two points of view that I totally identified with. First, with Wild Bill Hickock, who is taunted by a troll at a poker game, and then ranted at by zealot while working on a store-raising for a friend. He was the Wild West's equivalent of an A-List blogger. How demoralizing it must be for WBH to achieve so much fame, only to have people hate him for it. Then I felt for the central character, Swearengen, the murderous saloon man who is betrayed, and now has to deal with competition. In a stirring soliloquy, he says that he was there when there was no town, it was his back-breaking work that raised it into existence, and what thanks does he get? I know how he feels.
Jon Udell notes that Radio, while nominally a desktop product, also works as a server app. That's the advantage of using HTTP and HTML to form the user interface of the desktop app, you can easily separate the user from the app, as the old Starship Enterprise could decouple. It was exactly this configuration that I used for the short-lived Channel Dean project.
BBC: "Internet search engine Google's plans for a free email service have come under fire from privacy campaigners."
Dan Gillmor: "Ask yourself if bloggers could have pulled off the kind of journalism that turned into some of these winning entries." Yes they could, of course. A proof. Could one of the authors of one of the award-winning articles have a weblog? Hard to imagine why one couldn't. If so, then a blogger could pull off that kind of journalism. If you want to find a distinction, a diff betw pros and amateurs, you'll have to dig deeper. And maybe you won't find the distinction. And wouldn't it be cool if a Pulitzer prize winner found a source or two by reading their blogs?
Rogers notes that Lessig's book does not use the Founders' Copyright.
Report on Richard Clarke's book, which I've now read. Most Americans probably believe that Iraq was responsible for 9-11. If they found out the truth, they might wonder, as Clarke does, why we're fighting a war there. According to Clarke it's a very bad move. It weakens western-friendly countries in the region. Iraq was a poor choice for combatting terror, Iran, Syria and Saudia Arabia are much more involved. We only have token forces in Afghanistan and haven't wiped out the leadership of the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Never mind that Iraq is a morass. The focus of the press and the Bush spinners has been on placing blame for 9-11 on Bush. The book isn't really about that, it's about the direction we're going now.
The other major question Clarke raises is a creative one. What if someone else had been President on 9-11, and decided to use the new support for the US in a positive way, not just to wipe out Al Qaeda which he surely had global support for, but also to do something to improve something about the world. He doesn't answer the question, but it's still an interesting one. What if Truman had been President? Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton. It's hard to imagine any of them rushing to war with a random opponent, without international support, without a defined goal, assuming quick victory.
A new form to sign up for dinner at the famous Durgin Park restaurant on Friday April 16 at 7PM, the night before the conference.
A new form you can use if you've registered for BloggerCon on April 17, but will not be able to attend.
Rebecca MacKinnon leads a discussion about blogging outside the US.
Rafe Colburn: "I can't wait until the day when I have enough money in the bank to quit a job in disgust."
Jim Moore brings talks about bringing the Third World into the Second Superpower.
I gave a talk at an anthropology class a couple of weeks ago. At one point, I was talking about the creativity we all have but don't use in a monoculture like the one we live in. It only matters if you are the best, but it wasn't always that way. Before movies, records, radio and television, every town had a best singer, live performances were how people got music, so creativity was much more decentralized, there was more of it. I told a story of a conference I was at last year, and at my lunch table was a young man who said he is Jack Benny's grandson. He said he had no talent. How could Jack Benny's grandson possibly have no talent! Then I looked at the faces of the students in the Harvard classroom. You guys don't know who Jack Benny was, do you? Arrrgh. They didn't.
Wired: "Dubious patents have led the software industry to declare that the US patent system is broken and needs to be repaired."
Wired: "If we don't do something about increasing battery life, we're toast."
4/5/03: "We were blindsided when the Times archive went behind a for-pay firewall earlier this week."
Three years ago today: "I don't want to invalidate anyone's feeling of disempowerment, but there's a router error if you think I'm the Dept of Complaints for the NYC subway system."
Frontier 9.0.1b1: "This release addresses numerous bugs in the initial setup process, includes an updated Themes set, and introduces enhanced Manila hosting features, which make it easy to host a diverse set of Manila site communities."
Today is the sixth anniversary of XML-RPC. "On this day in 1998, after a brief collaboration with Microsoft, we opened a new protocol to Frontier developers that allowed applications running on Windows to communicate with apps running on Macintosh, and vice versa."
On a cloudy dreary late winter Boston Sunday I miss my wisteria, surely in bloom in California.
Kaye Trammel: "There will be a blogging conference next year in New Orleans."
Rebecca Mackinnon: "How about Delhi & Moscow and Accra??"
Jon Udell: "As syndication goes mainstream, we're the ones who'll be asked to explain it to Aunt Tillie. Here's hoping we can all put the geek stuff in its place and tell her what she really needs to know."
Several changes to the BloggerCon schedule.
BloggerCon session: Blogging in Academia.
Sean Palmer reviews Gmail.
My vacation is over. From now until the 18th I'm mainly focused on BloggerCon. Tomorrow and Tuesday I'll be in NY meeting with three of the discussion leaders (also going on a job interview, how about that). We're going to have a dutch treat dinner on Friday night at the Durgin Park. There should be a way to sign up for that later today or tomorrow morning. Lunch on Saturday is extended to 1.5 hours so people have time to wash their hands and do a little schmoozing. Last year the one hour lunch break proved too short by about 15 minutes. There will be a party on Saturday night, Adam and I are splitting the expense. Which brings me to the subject of money. We've priced the conference very reasonably (it's free) but we do need some more money, not much, to buy food for the party and to fly in some people who have important contributions to make, but don't have the money to travel. If you can afford to kick in $50 or even $500 that would be great. Let me know, and if there are enough people who want to participate we'll come up with an easy way to do it. However, I need to be very clear that this is not in any way a money-making enterprise for me, Berkman Center, or Harvard Law School, or anyone else. We'll spend all the money we get on the conference itself, and if there's any left over, we'll give it back with thanks to the people who contribute. We're also looking for volunteers to help welcome people, and monitor sessions and webcasts. Jay McCarthy will post something about that shortly. Many thanks to Bob Doyle, for his help with the video webcast and for providing the projectors for each of the rooms. Bob's generosity and friendship are truly appreciated.
Douglas Bass reviews Kinja.
Jeremy Zawodny reviews Bloglines.
Good morning. Spring forward fall back. Gotta love it. These days computers do it all on their own. My wrist watch still needs adjusting. The clock in the kitchen that I never turned back in the fall, all of a sudden is correct again. Ahhh life is good.
Stephen Manes asks for less of Lessig. Kind of mean, and unnecessarily personal. But it's still pretty rare to see criticism of Lessig's work, so it's worth a pointer.
Also worth a pointer is an Orlowski piece that rounds up privacy concerns about Google's upcoming email service. A year ago people wouldn't have been so outspoken with their concerns about Google (many had them, but only expressed them privately). The honeymoon for Google is ending. A reporter told me about their top PR person a few days ago, saying he's the smartest one in the business. I had never heard of him. Before he came on, I had a very good working relationship with Cindy McCaffery, who was the top PR person before him. Now I don't even rate a notice that there's a new person. PR is about relationships, that's Marketing 101. Clearly Google doesn't handle criticism well, and they're about to enter the big leagues, in competition with huge companies with seasoned management, that know (more or less) that whether or not someone has gone negative on you is irrelevant, you still have to work with them. And the other guys know how to sling the mud, and it's going to stick on old Google if they don't do something, quickly, to rebuild relationships that used to work. If anyone has a positive relationship with them on a PR level, I assume it's because they've never written anything remotely negative.
A few thoughts to share after visiting my uncle's home this week. It was a letter to members of my family, but the concepts are pretty general.
Markoff: Silicon Valley Is Seeking Peace.
I will be in Amsterdam April 25-28, Sunday through Wednesday. Hoping to have an informal meetup with European Frontier developers to talk about some projects we might collaborate on. Andrew Grumet will be there Sunday and Monday nights, we're both staying at the Swissotel on Dam Square. After that, I've bought a Eurail pass through May 4, so I don't know exactly where I'm going, but it'll be somewhere in Europe.
Linda Paulson at IEEE Computer writes: "My editor urgently needs a moderately detailed technical schematic or diagram showing something important about the way RSS works. Doesn't matter how rough it is. The art department can pretty it up." I offered to help. If you have idea for such a schematic, send me an email and I'll forward it to Linda.
Rogers Cadenhead: "Meeting Dave Winer today was like reading several months' worth of Scripting News in rapid succession."
I see a flurry of activity in the Are Bloggers Journalists? permathread. I love the arguments people make about how thorough and skilled most professionals are, and how most bloggers just shoot from the hip. I think these people need to look closer. Journalists do all that they think bloggers do, with an extra added bonus of arrogance. There's no accountability. No equivalent of the ABA or AMA. No malpractice suits to worry about. I love to draw analogies. Try this one out. I'm sure travel agents said something like what people say about journalists. In the last month I've booked four trips, and I'm about to book a fifth. One through Travelocity (who still hasn't given back the money they stole from me, another issue for another day) and three through Expedia (which isn't without its glitches, in Gainesville they reserved a handicapped room for me, and I had to wait an hour before I could check in, and the room had an absolutely bizarre bathroom). Anyway, are there still travel agents? Has their industry shrunk or grown? You may be surprised at my answer. Yes there are still travel agents, and the industry has grown enormously. But I do it myself, and I do a better job. I am willing to rebook a trip if it turns out one flight has more open seats than the one I'm booked on. I shop for bargains. I read the descriptions of all the hotels, and I search for reviews. I don't mind putting in a lot of extra effort for the customer, who is someone I really care about a lot -- me. I used to use professional travel agents, and I'd end up staying at golf resorts (I don't like golf, or golfers) or far from the places I wanted to visit, or pay way too much, or get a seat I didn't like. For BloggerCon, I'm going to write a review of all the professions that have been transformed this way. Journalism is one of them.
Screen shot of Google's mail app.
Suw Charman reviews Kinja.
Wired: "See what a little financial desperation can do?"
Will Richardson: "I want to go back to school and be in Christopher Allbritton's class at NYU."
News.Com: "Microsoft's nearly $2 billion settlement could be considered hush money."
David Czarnecki: "It's webmail!"
Over beers last night I told Kaye about Courtney Love's incredible story about the math of music that came public in the middle of the Napster heyday. It was a must-read then, and now.
On this trip I discovered that my camera does MPEG video. Okay. And I even have a few short films I took by accident. An example. And then yesterday I took a walkthrough my uncle's old hippie house. It's a geodesic dome. Back in the 70s it was the latest new thing. It's held up remarkably well for something that's in a jungle. His water tower didn't last as long and it was made of steel.
Good morning. Today's a travel day, first down to Orlando from Gainesville, and then up to Boston. I'm going to miss Florida, had a great time, esp last night at the dinner hosted by the university for journalist-bloggers.
Lance Knobel contacted the Guardian through their "reader's editor," as did Rogers Cadenhead. No response. I can't imagine that they think that will just go away. What an embarassment, a reputable publication, that went to the trouble to hire an editor to ensure their integrity, and when a clear breach of integrity has occurred, and it's reported both in public and through their channel, nothing happens. I explained this at dinner last night, and heard the usual "Dave got some press he didn't like." That's like saying a reporter who blows the whistle on political corruption is just mad because he didn't get his cut. If you're a reporter, you wouldn't like it if someone said that about you, so please afford me the same respect. Aside from that, Lance and Rogers weren't mentioned in the piece, so that can't be their motive.
Later. Rogers got a response. Saying Hammersley wrote a book about RSS doesn't explain that he's a member of the RSS 1.0 working group and a frequent partisan in the supposed war he describes. I thought about perhaps writing a Letter to the Editor, and decided that wouldn't be sufficient. After all, Hammersley stated his position in a news report. But of course if I tried to sell them on a news report written by me on this subject, I'd have to disclose all that I've done in this area, which (as with Hammersley) would immediately disqualify me. Instead of complaining about us, the Guardian should dig in right now, no excuses, and ask Hammersley about all the points Cadenhead raises, and if he can't answer them, immediately issue a mea culpa, and be a lot more careful in the future about having partisans writing news reports. They don't look good here, and the spin makes them look much worse.
On this day seven years ago a weblog called Scripting News first appeared.
The problem with Google being so creative about syndication is that it makes some people think I automatically go negative on them. If you had asked me a year or so ago what was the chance that Google would put me in this position, I'd say nil. Anyway for the record, I call it as I see it, and I see their new mail thing as independent from the mess they're making in syndication.
Okay okay, you got me on this one Russ. Phew. It is April 1. Oy.
I was going to do an April Fool joke myself but decided not to waste the time. It was going to go like this. I was going to kill my RSS feed and invent a new format called Mota. The top level item would be called deef. Under that would be knil, eltit, enilgat, di, deifidom, etc. For one day I would only support this format, but I was going to say it was forever. People would be shocked. They'd think I had lost my mind. Then they'd realize it was a joke and they'd laugh. The next day I'd go back to RSS, and deprecate Mota once and for all. Goodbye Mota. It's been fun. Then a couple of days later when it was time to write the code I said kcuf ti. I had my laugh. That's all I needed.
I heard about Google mail on Paul Harvey's radio broadcast, then it got a mention on the CBS radio hourly news. A fee gigabyte and integration with the search engine. That's cool. Raises the bar for Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, etc.
Something really is amiss with my content management system. Sorry for the missing posts for the last days of March. I went back through my aggregator and rescued them, here they are below. Not sure what went wrong, but at least the ideas are preserved. (Got to the bottom of the problem, it wasn't an April Fool's joke. Should be fixed now.)
Andrew Grumet invites discussion about the Infrastructure session.
The discussion about journalism for BloggerCon continues strong over at Jay Rosen's weblog.
At lunch yesterday Rogers Cadenhead said that the Guardian has an ombudsman, and that he directed the issue about the lack of disclosure in Hammersley's piece, and had not received a response. Why does the Guardian (or any other paper for that matter) employ an arbiter and then not respond when an ethical issue is raised? I've sent emails and talked on the phone with various people about this. They can't seem to hear that the issue isn't that I got some bad press, that happens all the time. What matters is that a major newspaper, whose integrity appears to matter to them, has let one side in a dispute report the news, without labeling it as opinion. Secondary, there are major factual errors in the piece all of which favor Hammerley's position. And third, yes it does make me angry that they make me look like someone that I'm not. But don't miss the first and second issues. You may know that it was an opinion piece, but readers of the Guardian were not told. Now the core question -- does this happen regularly at the Guardian? Seems to me they'd want to protect their reputation by troubling themselves to answer the questions.
Jon Udell: "Something wonderful died with Napster: the collaborative discovery and sharing of a wide diversity of music."
See the picture over there in the right column? --> Well, I'm a lot more tanned than that now. Kind of overdid it in the last couple of days. North Florida has the best beaches anywhere. Lots of room, great swimming, Listening to Richard Clarke's book. Audio books are perfect for the beach. No fussing with pages, or getting tanning oil all over the place. You can close your eyes and soak it up. Saw Ed Cone's comment on Glenn Reynolds' dismissal of the Clarke story. Yeah, the right-wingers are missing the point. Sure I think Clarke is a sanctimonious self-important Republican. But what he says is worth listening to, considering, and doing something about. Let the President know that we want to be ready for the next great act of terrorism. Seriously. There won't be any mercy for the next President who didn't prepare us for it.
More Russian RSS. The hits keep comin!
Not sure what happened to yesterday's posts. Luckily the RSS archive is intact, so I'll be able to restore it when I get back home.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.