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Permanent link to archive for Friday, April 23, 2004. Friday, April 23, 2004

A picture named balanceBar.jpgPretty 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.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jon Lauck: The Argus LeaderPermanent link to this item in the archive.

MIT: What is RSS? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The Washington Post now has RSS feeds. Bing! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named trumpet.jpgTim Bishop reviews the new Post feeds. Apparently there's room for improvement. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The Baltimore Sun has extensive RSS support. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Country Joe McDonald: "You can be the first ones in your block to have your boy come home in a box." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Pete Seeger recorded the Fixin To Die Rag too.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mr & Mrs RFB: "After seeing those things 'the Fish' I felt like going to the bathroom and throwing up." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Last year on this day: "Keyboar broken, spi11 1iqui too 1ate 1ast nite. Many keys broke. Oy. Praise Murvy!" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Trademark Blog: "Google might have been conducting an unannounced test for a short period of time." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Reuters: Google May Announce IPO Plan SoonPermanent link to this item in the archive.

News.Com: Google's chastity belt too tightPermanent link to this item in the archive.

NY Times: "The European Commission released its antitrust ruling against Microsoft to the public." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mena Trott: "Movable Type 3.0 is not intended to be a feature release." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

UserLand's Scott Young will lead a discussion about RSS in Sunnyvale on Monday, 9:30AM. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

About Google's response Permanent link to this item in the archive.

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.

About Zawodny's invitation to flame Permanent link to this item in the archive.

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.


Last update: Friday, April 23, 2004 at 7:45 PM Eastern.

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