Bob Stepno on the World Editors Forum in Istanbul.
"thinkusaalignright"Last night's 60 Minutes had a controversial segment, I watched it this morning on TiVO, a 10-minute scroll of pictures of American soldiers who died in Iraq. Some observations. When people say it's just Americans in Iraq they're missing something, America is so diverse, we have people of European, African, Asian, Latin descent. All those young people's lives gone, it's profoundly sad, and you feel it differently when you see all their faces scrolling by. In Andy Rooney's lead-up he got in a dig at men, saying most of the people working on new ways to kill people are men. He didn't mention that most of the soldiers who die in wars are men too. Next week I'd like to see CBS run a similar segment with all the Iraqis who have died in the war. Their deaths are no less tragic. I suspect you'd see a lot of small children, mothers and grandparents among their dead. It would take much longer than sixty minutes.
New York: "Falsely accused of having an affair with John Kerry, the 'intern' sifts through the mud and the people who threw it."
Wired: "Companies prefer authoritarianism to democracy."
I left California for Boston in March last year, throwing out four dumpsters of posessions, put most of the rest in storage, and happily got on the road with what would fit in my car. In the last year, I've accumulated so much stuff that I either have to put it in storage in Boston, or leave it behind. Reading this NY Times article about household junk reminded me that I still need to leave cities periodically to keep the load reasonably light. Still don't know where I'm going btw. July 1 is moving day.
Trial balloon: Solving the "silent data loss" problem in RSS 2.0.
UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff tells how conservatives use language to dominate politics.
Okay they can't have elections in Iraq for some time. Makes sense. They've never had real elections. You can't bootstrap democracy overnight. But you can do a poll. Ask a scientifically-chosen random sample of Iraqis of voting age (over 18?) which of three or four people they want to be the interim president of the country. It's not the best solution, but it seems better than the US creating a puppet regime.
Adam Curry and his colleagues created a wireless LAN on their flight home from Las Vegas to Amsterdam.
Watching movies in the age of the Internet is way different. Now I can look something up after watching a movie, like for example, did you know how many future stars were in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? It's pretty amazing. Scatman Crothers, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd.
Last night I went to see Troy with a friend, a perfectly awful movie. So much for the theory that I like everything. This one just goes on and on. At one point the camera focuses on an old man who at first looks like he might be Peter O'Toole. Oh good, we'll have some real acting now, I said to myself. But on closer examination, it's just a sad old man, not O'Toole. And the acting continues to be absolutely terrible. The best moments are when Brad Pitt preens, looking beautiful. And that's pretty bad. Anyway on getting home I looked up some reviews, and hold on, that was Peter O'Toole. Holy hanna. He's aged so poorly, and has become a really shitty actor (or is it really shitty direction). Either way, a shame.
It seems that Netflix would be just the kind of network service to give me an RSS feed I can subscribe to, where they would give me interesting articles about movies I just saw, or ones I'm about to see, or movies playing near my house that I would probably like, movies my friends liked, etc etc. They already do a bunch of stuff like that on their site, so why not do it in a feed?
Also, did I write this just so I could include a picture of a youngish Jack Nicholson? I'm not telling.
New header graphic, the first black-and-white picture, probably taken in the late 50s in Georgia or one of the Carolinas, where my maternal grandfather, Rudy Kiesler, was wheeling and dealing schmattes from New York's garment district. He's the cowboy on the left. I'm not sure if he would have understood what a weblog is, but now his image graces the top of his grandson's blog. I think he would have seen it as progress for our family. He was the youngest of thirteen, Uncle VaVa's father, and Hedy Lamarr's uncle.
Gnome Outliner, an "outline editor for Gnome."
Russell Beattie's experience getting an Atom feed up and running. His experience mirrors the experience I had trying to write a driver to read Atom feeds. I asked some straight questions on the Syndication mail list but didn't get any answers. I think it's pretty clear that some very basic questions don't actually have answers.
John Robb: "I noticed that Yahoo is now including an RSS 2.0 feed with every Yahoo Group. Nice. It even includes an orange XML icon."
I finally found decent CD ripping software for Windows. It's shareware, and works pretty well, except it's got this annoying dialog that keeps it from doing unattended scans. I'd gladly pay the $19.95 to register, but I've learned the hard way that companies take a long time to send you a registration code, some of them never do. Go figure. We need a better system to flow money from users to coders. Anyway, I'm listening to a fresh scan of an Elton John song..
Today's song: "I entertain by picking brains. Sell my soul by dropping names."
Very useful feed from CNET, lists the most popular shareware downloads. If we were going to try to collectively gather data on which apps are the most treacherous spyware tools, this would be a good place to start, the ones on this list are doing the most damage.
A fantastic rant from 2001 about memes and why I dislike them.
Fascinating thread on Scoble's, where Joshua Allen says things that totally needed to be said about advocacy in syndication. Read the comments. We're getting beyond ad hominems. Good work.
The revolution of RSS is "what people are doing with it, what it enables, the way it works for people who use technology, the freedom it offers, and the way it makes timely information, that used to be expensive and for the select-few so inexpensive and broadly available. RSS is the next thing in Internet and knowledge management. It's big. A lot bigger than a format."
RSS is more than a format...
Highly recommend the latest Frontline on how the music industry fell apart during the 80s and 90s. Why? Stopped loving the product.
SF Chronicle: "Prince is back, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief."
NY Times on the women of Six Feet Under.
Scoble sat next to an exec from eBay on a flight from Seattle.
I went to see The Day After Tomorrow, yesterday, opening day. I liked it, but then I like almost everything. It wasn't totally terrible, in fact it's badness is part of what makes it good. There are some very good special effects, esp the opening scene. It's a big-budget Hollywood disaster movie. Kids will love it. You may wonder how Dennis Quaid saves the planet, it's actually fairly clever. I've heard that the science is all wrong, but this is one of those times when, sorry, it just doesn't matter.
BTW, one of the coolest things about the movie is that the Vice President is a Dick Cheney look-alike: he's stubborn, stupid and Republican. The President, who defers to the VP, is cheesy and stupid and wears a military bomber jacket in the Oval Office. Someone in Hollywood, a Democratic stronghold, had fun with that. They also found a neat solution to the war in Iraq (but I won't say what it is).
Installing Kazaa wasn't the only insane thing I did,
I also enabled Windows Update, allowing it to install updates from Microsoft every night at 3AM. This was not a good idea for at least one reason -- it reboots my machine every time there's an update. I'd rather decide when my machine is rebooted.
Now I'm trying to figure out how to turn it off. There used to be a Windows Update icon in the tray, but now it's gone. I guess once they have you hooked there's no need to configure it? I've pored over the site, to no avail. If you know how to turn it off, please let me know. Thanks!
Shannon Rush writes: "Click on the properties on My Computer and go to the Automatic Updates tab. Hope this helps."
It did help. Thanks!
Frontline interview with rock star David Crosby.
Rory Kaplan: "I've been in the music industry for 30 years."
Steve Gillmor: "Bill Gates chose carefully his first public comments on RSS and the tectonic shift it's rending across the technology landscape."
Engadget: A $50 iPod from Microsoft?
Michael Gartenberg: "There is no $50 iPod from Microsoft."
Still cleaning up. The next thing is to figure out how to get rid of popups that are watching where I go, and popping up ads that are related. I've run Ad-aware several times, asked it to remove everything it finds, but somehow it's not catching this demon.
Five years ago today, Scott Rosenberg, writing in Salon, wrote a milestone piece about the then-nascent world of weblogs.
In response to Scott's essay: "Salon (justifiably) brags that they've matured to the point where they could send a reporter to Yugoslavia. But the web was already there. People on the ground all over the world. Some of them are great writers and have passion for the truth and aren't serving the same masters that the bigtimes at WSJ, NYT and CNN. And most of them don't have websites, yet, largely because it is too complicated and expensive to have one. When this bubble bursts we'll get a new burst of diversity in thought and vision on the web."
BBC: "Californian senators have approved a bill that limits Google's plans to scan messages and include ads based on what it finds."
Political Wire: "Kerry is expanding the use of biographical ads to introduce himself, while President Bush is running negative ads to try to define his opponent first."
Still working on the clean-up. Last night before the Berkman meeting I mentioned what happened to John Palfrey, he said he had a Kazaa computer, one he never boots. Come on it can't be that bad... Maybe it can. Here's a screen shot of the Windows Task Manager. Note that the window is gone. No menus. No tabs. Just a list of processes. Something is hosed. And the computer goes into limbo periodically. Doesn't respond to mouse clicks or keystrokes. Lasts a few seconds, then unsticks. Very hard to work with. My machine has done both things before, without Kazaa. Hey to make amends I bought a couple of $20 music CDs yesterday. Maybe I should pray to the RIAA.
Salon: "It's the war, stupid."
A version of Yahoo's toolbar has an anti-spyware feature.
It's Thursday and I'm still thinking about Sunday's episode of The Sopranos, that's how good it was. I guess we know who's going to get killed next. Will Tony have any blood relatives when it's over? Then a delicious thought, a Sopranos spinoff, set in hell, with all the characters who have been killed over the years. Some of the best ones. The star would be Pussy Bumpensiero. I just love that guy's name. He was Tony's best friend before he blew his brains out on a boat.
J-Walk: "Dave Winer should know better."
Postscript: Many people recommend Spybot and Adaware. I've run both apps, they're great, so refreshing after the virus-filled spy-ware experience I had before. Lots of great email from friendly users who have been down this path. This is the Web when it works. Thanks for all the help! It appears (praise Murphy) that I've dug out. Whew.
I did something realllly stupid this morning, I installed a free program that offered me a choice: $29.95 with no ads or $0 with ads. Since I was just checking it out, I opted for the $0 version. I figured a few ads, no problemmo. If I like it I'll pay the bucks. Big big mistake. Popups all over the place. Tons of virusware installed. I expect to be digging out all day.
To try to regain control of my system I installed the Google Toolbar for its ability to kill popup windows. It does seem to stop some of them, but a lot of them still get through. I'm running an Norton SystemWorks One Button Checkup now. It's impossibly slow. Hope it finds those nasty things that are popping up the windows. I bet they're also sending keystrokes back to the mother ship.
According to this press release, the National Archives released transcripts of telephone conversations of Henry Kissinger, national security advisor and Secretary of State in the Nixon Administration. More at George Washington University's archive.
NY Times: "Al Gore demanded today the resignations of Defense Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld and five other members of the Bush administration."
Motley Fool: "A $30 billion valuation of Google implies that due to strong network externalities, the company will own the standard in the search engine space, like Microsoft in PC operating systems or eBay in Internet auctions. While a standard will likely be established for search engines, Google's ability to own that standard remains highly uncertain."
Scott Rosenberg: "Admitting mistakes is the first step toward preventing their recurrence."
Harvard Crimson: "A social studies office worker said she was fired this week after administrators discovered provocative posts in her online journal, including threats to fellow workers and superiors."
Richard Gephardt says John McCain is "someone a lot of Democrats could get interested in." Be careful, that could backfire. What if the Republicans ran McCain instead of Bush. I bet a lot of Dems would be interested in him, over Kerry.
CBS Marketwatch RSS feeds.
Ranchero: External Weblog Editor Interface. Mac.
Gary Wolf: "Back at the dawn of time, Dave Winer and Louis Rossetto had a little debate about the future of Web publishing. It was 1994. Things got heated."
Ask Phillip Pearson what it's like being a programmer in New Zealand.
Ed Foster: Dumb Patents.
At a meeting on radio and the Web at Berkman. Not exactly sure where we're going. I'm sitting next to Roger Kennedy, former White House correspondent for NBC. Lots of really interesting people around the table. Bob Doyle is on my right, with a fantastic new Sony Vaio TR3A notebook. Bill Buzenberg from Minnesota Public Radio speaks. They want to do a national news show cross the country with the Web at the center of it. "It isn't just Talk of the Nation." Chris Lydon is speaking, then we got into a chaotic discussion, the best kind. John Palfrey is blogging this too.
Jay McCarthy update on the big fire.
John Kerry has a new campaign plane.
Evan Williams: Dear Lisa Williams.
Wired: "Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux open-source operating system, has proposed changes to the Linux kernel-development process which he and other developers hope will make it easier to answer any questions about the origin and ownership of Linux source code."
Register: "More than two thirds of the 840m emails scanned by filtering firm MessageLabs last month was identified as spam."
Scoble, who works at Microsoft, says that internal weblogs are boring. Now there's something I didn't know. We did group outlining at UserLand behind the firewall, and that worked great when we had a project that required a lot of collaboration, but I've never done a private weblog (or if I did I don't remember it).
In comments on Scoble's site, Firas explains why so many programmers are troubled by the XML icon (and probably a lot of other things about RSS). "They hate being told to use it." I know how that feels, I felt the same way about the Macintosh user interface guidelines, but then gave in. That made users happy, because while programmers hate being told what to do, users love consistency among apps. If you don't believe me, ask a user. (These days apps are websites.)
Adam did his first Live-From-Las-Vegas radio show. Since it was live, they had to do it between 9PM and midnight Pacific time, to catch the morning rush in Amsterdam.
Andrew needed to get something out of his system.
Dare Obasanjo: "Scoble gets on my nerves sometimes." Hehe.
Bush speaks on Iraq. More good news, he says. Everything is going great. Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. It seems they have more say in the future of the US than US citizens do. I read today that our national parks are falling apart. How about that.
Looks like some new interop is booting on the Mac, led by Brent Simmons, author of NetNewsWire. I love to see developers working together to make software work better for users. Bravo!
Jay McCarthy: "Having your house burn in front of you is a very strange experience." Amazing story. Jay is a Thursday night regular. Lisa Williams has started a PayPal account for donations to the McCarthy family.
Bush would find ample precedent if he chose not to seek reelection. "His escalation of American involvement in the Vietnam War eroded his popular standing and led to his decision not to run for reelection to the presidency in 1968."
CBS: "Forty-one percent approve of the job he is doing as president, while 52 percent disapprove -- the lowest overall job rating of his presidency."
Jakob Nielsen: Thirty Years With Computers.
Wired: "Once a year, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates lectures the nation's top CEOs on how much more productivity they'll get from adopting new technologies."
In NYC last week I saw a tremendous number of iPods. People with the white iPod-ish ear phones. When I could find the unit it was one of the new small color ones. Conclusion: they're selling a lot of these suckers.
A friend of Michael Gartenberg's asked why there are so many debates about syndication, and Michael looks to the Talmud for the answer.
I got my first stock alert from RSS Quotes. Interesting format.
Don Park: "What if a DEMO conference could be held every month?"
Transcript of last night's CBS interview with General Anthony Zinni.
On this day in 1999, a milestone essay, Edit This Page, explained how easy-to-use Web content management would develop. It was accurate, it is largely how it evolved. "When I'm reading a web page that I wrote, if I spot a mistake, I have to execute 23 complicated error-prone steps to make the change." That was the problem. Here's the solution. "Every bit of text that I created has a button that says Edit this Page when I view it. When I click the button, a new page opens with the text in an HTML textarea. I edit. Click on Submit. The original page displays with the change. Three easy steps."
Bernie Goldbach sends a pointer to a Sunday Times article about syndication. I can't read it because I don't have a subscription. Here's a quote that Bernie sends along. "The hot topic of today is Really Simple Syndication (RSS), the answer for anyone with news deprivation."
Travelocity asks for feedback from customers. They don't ask the key question: "Why are you spending several hundred dollars a month with our competitors and not with us?" A perfect demo of a company in need of a trip on the Cluetrain.
Philip Miseldine: "I'm not going to give credence to a new specification when the one we have already works perfectly fine."
Another former US general, Anthony Zinni, has spoken out about the war in Iraq, on this evening's 60 Minutes. He calls for the resignation of the civilians in the Pentagon, all the way up to Rumsfeld. I wonder why he stops there. The President is the one who led us to this disastrous war. At this point I wonder how any American can feel this war was worth it. Every justification we've heard was a lie.
I went to three meetings last week in NYC with publishers, two of whom are currently publishing RSS feeds. The ones who are public have heard from advocates of different formats, saying that they were taking sides in a religious war. Considering that they probably all hear that, it's pretty remarkable how broadly RSS is being supported. As far as I know RSS advocates don't use religious arguments. If you do, please stop.
Something I didn't know. According to op-ed columnist Jim Kennedy, former Clinton communications director, Colin Powell's "wild" press agent, Emily Miller, tried to terminate Tim Russert's interview with Powell because the interview's ground rules were broken. Raises a question -- why doesn't NBC disclose the ground rules to viewers?
I'm getting a sense that some of the newer aggregators have a funny way of handling time. Not sure exactly what's going on. I've gotten one complaint about the NY Times feeds which include the items in the order the NY Times provides them. It's never been a problem in Radio's aggregator, it knows if it has seen an item before and if it has, it doesn't present it to the user. I gather some reading software isn't keeping track of what they've already shown the user. This is not a bug in the feeds as some people believe, rather a missing feature in the aggregator. However, I haven't got enough data to be sure, I'm just guessing. We've talked about starting to track features in aggregators and blogging tools at the Berkman Thursday meetings. This is an affirmation of the need of an independent view of the various categories of software in the blogosphere.
WordPress 1.2 is released.
I'm still in NYC where it's hot and muggy. Back home in Boston, it's collld. 49 degrees. Sounds great. I'll be back tomorrow.
Brent Simmons continues to think out loud about prospects for the open source release of Frontier. This kind of open narration is very useful. I also got a lot out of Mark Pilgrim's piece about GPL vs BSD, linked to below.
Rogers: Publishing MySQL Data in RSS 2.0.
Andrew is getting ready for Iceland.
Adam Curry: "In about 20 hours the crew and I will be in Las Vegas for a week of live shows and plenty of fun."
RSSQuotes "allows you to create and save a list of stocks, then delivers the quotes to your favorite RSS Reader during market hours."
Mark Pilgrim on open source licensing. "A GPL advocate is a BSD advocate who has had their code used against them."
Editorial: It's lame to charge for weblog software based on how many weblogs you make and how many authors there are. A weblog isn't that big a deal. Manila lets you make as many weblogs as you want with as many authors as you want. Today's modern $2K computer can manage thousands of weblogs. Charge a fair price and don't fuss over how many blogs they make or how many people edit them.
eWeek: "The technology at the heart of one of the most popular Web-logging tools is about to go open source."
Rogers Cadenhead: "...an integrated development environment, persistent object database, outliner, dynamic scripting language, Internet client and server, and Web services platform that supports TCP, HTTP, FTP, SMTP, POP3, XML, XML-RPC, SOAP, and RSS."
Brent Simmons: "Before Frontier was Frontier, its name was Cancoon."
XML.Com: "The majority of RDF editors available today continue to confuse the user with predicates, reification, ontology editors, 3-dimensional webs of orbiting triplets, and other low-level data and terms."
ComputerWorld: "Wi-Fi wholesale network operator Cometa Networks Inc. has announced that it's suspending operations, citing a lack of money."
BBC: "The official title of the record was Most Naked People on a Rollercoaster."
Yahoo Maps shows WiFi hotspots now. Quite useful!
BBC: "In a speech to an audience of chief executives, Mr Gates said the regularly updated journals, or blogs, could be a good way for firms to tell customers, staff and partners what they are doing."
In 1990 we were licensing the UserLand IAC Toolkit to other developers. Our first and only licensee was Claris, an Apple subsidiary run by Bill Campbell, Yogen Dalal and John Zeisler. Their products included MacWrite, MacPaint, Hypercard, maybe Filemaker? Not sure. They were a friendly company, nice guys. I'd meet with them from time to time to talk about how apps would work when they could be connected by a scripting system. I was working on such a system, the software that would become Frontier. (When it's open sourced you'll see that the toolkit is still in there.)
Anyway, Apple decided to compete with our scripting system, and began by creating a clone of our interapplication communication toolkit. They were having a big sales meeting in Hawaii to demo the new stuff, but sadly it wasn't ready. So our friends at Claris demo'd our software, and told everyone it was Apple's.
How inconvenient it would be for our competitors to actually have to implement the software they were going to use to compete with us. Heh. Sorry for the sarcasm. That's big Silicon Valley companies for you. A smaller company might have been embarrased that they didn't come up with the idea themselves and had to demo a developer's product and had to lie and say it was theirs, to their own sales people. Maybe they would even be ashamed.
Reminds me of a Michael O'Donoghue song that Doc Searls posted on his blog on 2/12/03 (sung to the tune of I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke).
I'd like to give the world a hug
Also reminds me of the HL Mencken quote. When someone says it's not about the money, it's about the money.
So of course, when they say Don't Be Evil -- they're being evil.
Bill Gates pushes RSS to CEOs of the world's top companies.
Guardian: "There are around 400 Microsoft employees blogging."
Talking Moose: "Lots of people seem to think I'm Scoble."
Jim Roepcke: "I am giddy with excitement..."
Evan Williams: "We're certainly excited about RSS."
Wes Felter: "What a great way to attack RSS and co-opt its publicity..."
Tim Jarrett: "Sounds like a positioning statement to me."
Feedster query for coverage of yesterday's developer meeting at Technorati. There doesn't seem to be one weblog that's gathering all the coverage. Don Park has a picture of JY Stervinou from France who was in SF at the meeting, with Loic, who is Joi's guy in Europe. A lot of geography in that sentence. Christian Crumlish took notes. Wish I could have been there. I'm in NYC meeting with people in the publishing industry tomorrow. Busy busy. Bing bing?
Leadership Council on Civil Rights supports RSS.
Don Park visited with a couple of old buds from the early Mac days -- Mike Boich and Robert Simon. We used to be younger. Hey they look good. Forgive them for becoming venture capitalists.
Four years ago today, a pic of an Amsterdam canal in spring regalia.
Wired: "Rumors that Google is offering users of its Gmail service an unprecedented 1 terabyte of storage space are untrue, the company said Wednesday, blaming a bug in the system for the confusion."
Taegan Goddard reports on a "blog scandal" in DC.
Paolo Valdemarin and the Evectors team have a substantial investment in code that runs in the Frontier environment. I called Paolo from a train in Germany earlier this month and we talked about the release. I can't speak for Paolo of course, but my wish is for humble expectations, a very long-term perspective, a no-rush attitude. We've learned from previous incarnations of the Frontier community, when expectations are too great, when we're too much of a rush, then feelings rule, not intelligence. Paolo and his partners have bet their future on this in the past, with very mixed results. I want to do much better this time around the loop.
One idea I've been toying with is, on release, to make a declaration -- I will not do another release for at least one year. This probably will cause forks to happen right way, thereby removing the power of threats to fork. Go ahead and fork, the sooner the better. Perhaps we'll even manage an OPML directory of each of the forks, and see what their selling propositions will be. Maybe one will do a great job of supporting the Mac platform. Maybe one will integrate with Mozilla. Maybe the OSF will adopt one, maybe Apache, maybe Microsoft or Sun or Google, MIT or Harvard. I've thought of trying to force interop through the license, but I'm not sure if that would work. I'd like to have my apps run in any Frontier-derived environment. The system.environment table can help code configure itself. I guess what I'm saying is that it's important that we work together, but it's also important to recognize that if the power to fork is there, then forks will certainly happen. This is similar to my philosophy of format design. I assume we'll come up with the worst-possible names for elements, and then factor that into my plans.
John Fraser: "What doors will Frontier open?"
An unfair article about Linus Torvalds and his role in developing Linux. You can do a very quick barn raising in software, even of a substantial piece like a Unix clone. But Linux wasn't written by one person in a few months, it's been in development for a decade, by a group of developers.
UserLand: Manila 9.0.1.
Interesting email this morning from "TheoDP," cc'd to Dan Gillmor, Larry Lessig and others, about Amazon's patents. First bit shows that Amazon assigned several of its patents to Deutsche Bank between 1995 and 1997, all before they were issued, as part of a $75 million credit agreement in December 1997. Bezos wrote, in 2000: "Despite the call from many thoughtful folks for us to give up our patents unilaterally, I don't believe it would be right for us to do so." He omitted a crucial piece of data -- they weren't his to give up.
RSS-User: "LinkTV, a channel on DISH and DirecTV satellite networks, makes its show Mosaic available daily via RSS."
NY Times: "Wi-Pics, from Dice America, is an external Wi-Fi transmitter and storage device about the size of a portable CD player."
News.Com: "It's easy to make money giving away software -- just don't give away too much of it."
The first Shrek was, in Microserf terminology, Totally 1.0. The sequel, which opened today, is a continuation of the first. The new characters are pretty flat, except Pinocchio, who's a bit of a pervert, amazingly (but not so much that a 6-year-old would notice). It's a thoroughly likeable movie, we'll buy the DVD to study the cool techniques, esp the introduction of the Fairy Godmother. It has the charm of the first, but sadly, not the magic.
NY Times: "Google, the Web search engine, is preparing to introduce a powerful file and text software search tool for locating information stored on personal computers."
4/13/02: "When Google arrives on the desktop, it will have the same SOAP interface that the global Google has."
Google takes a stand on spyware.
Rich Salz: "The next thing I remember is being on a hospital gurney being asked if I knew where I was."
A possibly interesting twist on the Is It Journalism? perma-debate. Okay, let's not worry for a minute if blogging is journalism or not. How about keeping a list of pubs that claim to be journalism that run stories that are clearly not journalism. Factual errors that are never corrected. Conflicts of interest that are not disclosed. We've learned that the pros simply won't investigate themselves, which itself is a breach of journalistic ethics, as far as I'm concerned. So what's to stop us from doing it for them?
Five years from now, or sooner, you'll be able to enter something like this in a publicly accessible profile. "I have three months free and $X burning a hole in my pocket. I'd like to have an inspiring experience, in a place I've never been before, but I'd also like to have meals provided (healthy please) and I require a high-speed Internet connection. I like to swim, hike, and have long discussions about the future of writing, journalism, politics, networks, humans. Massages a plus. No smoking." You'd leave this hanging around, with links to places you've been and what you thought of them. Within 24 hours the offers would start coming in. They'd be pitches of course. Custom-designed for your needs. Perhaps some reconfiguring of an existing resort would be needed, that would be factored into the offer. I think they had something like this service in a Heinlein book.
Ananova: "A German couple who went to a fertility clinic after eight years of marriage have found out why they are still childless -- they weren't having sex."
I read somewhere that I spent $150 on a cab in Geneva (not true) and that I'm no longer a fellow at Harvard Law School (also not true, I'm here through June). Let's face it, the information you get on blogs is not 100 percent accurate.
Time's new RSS feeds, each a beautiful demo of how incredibly simple syndication can be, includes a list of selected covers from the archive. Here's one that caught my eye, movie star Marilyn Monroe in 1956.
A post on Scripting News led to virtual fork throwing at the Leung house.
Higher gas prices are the best thing for the country. The prices go up one way or the other. One way they go up is the price of young Americans fighting a crazy war in a far-away country, too many dying. That's a heavy price. Another price is the almost $200 billion we've spent, so far, to send them there. Who was it who said "a billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."
Another price is the tubing stock market, falling precipitously at a time when the economy is rebounding. That may be felt in a shallow recovery, lost jobs, higher deficits.
Another price, one we hope to pay, is that the Yale-educated Good Old Boy, George W Bush, loses his bid for re-election and we have to apologize to the world for electing him in 2000. His presidency will haunt US foreign policy for generations to come. (I'd probably vote for John McCain, if the Republicans have the guts to tell Bush to step aside.)
Today's higher gas prices are just the beginning of a reduced standard of living for the American people. We've had a great ride and we've become fat and child-like. Consider this a possible way of pre-empting all the crap that's waiting for us. They call it "reducing our dependence on foreign oil," something we desperately need to do.
We're still an oil producing country, btw.
Time Magazine has RSS. We have Bing!
After listening to John McCain on NPR's The Connection this morning, and then listening to a repeat this evening, the obvious thing for the Republicans is to privately ask Bush not to run for re-election and quickly get a McCain candidacy together. This is the best remedy for the United States, if not for the Republican Party.
Two years ago: Ideas for standards work.
A window into W3C politics, as they discuss RSS & Atom. Not a word about: 1. users, 2. publishers, 3. bloggers, 4. developers. Mostly they're worried about: 1. Tim Berners-Lee, 2. BigCo's. 3. IETF, 4. Patents.
Tim Jarrett: "RSS isnít owned by a big company. To the extent that it has owners, they are all the content authors, aggregator developers, and readers who have invested time and energy in making it work for them."
The RSS advisory board has "a very conservative mission, to answer questions about RSS, to help people use it, to promote its use."
UPI: "The scandal continues to metastasize."
The Atlantic: "If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken."
Citizen Action of New York: "In only 17 key 'battleground' states, voters will decide who wins the Presidency. What can the rest of us do?"
Frank Zappa: "Yes indeed. Here we are."
Vincent Flanders: "If I'm paying $700 for a software package, it better install like Photoshop and be as easy to use as Radio Userland or it has to kiss me where I can't. And send me flowers the next day." Hehee.
One year ago: "The Times can't be a factor in Google searches for the simple reason that the Times archive is not accessible to Google."
David Brown: "Imagine a language where persistence is assumed, and if you want something to be transient, you have to do something different."
I find it amazing that so many people with Frontier experience are still on the Web, and then boom, yesterday's announcement, and they're chattin it up wonderng what it means. Me too.
It's good to see all the old faces, and it's good to see that the years haven't dampened their enthusiasm. Yeah, we're a little worse for the wear, it's cool that the code ages more gracefully than we do.
David Gewirtz says he can't wait to see how some of the features he's been using for years were implemented. That's the spirit I love. David I think you'll like it. There's an architecture in there.
I've found that a good script writer can become a good kernel developer, it takes a few months, maybe more; with Brent and Andre being the two great examples. And Tim Paustian too. I don't think any of them had experience with C-level programming, but at some level working on the kernel is like working in the environment it defines. It's a little more difficult, but the code runs a lot faster. In the age of multi-gigahertz CPUs and gigabyte memories, the possibilities are awesome.
BTW, people who say that it's too late can't know that. And the expectations are low. All I want it to see the technology preserved. If one young programmer in Podunk learns something from it, the way I learned from reading the Unix kernel in the late 70s, then I'm happy. If it exists on a hard drive somewhere in the year 2040, that'll exceed my expectations wildly. If a bug gets fixed or a new technique is learned from reading the code, that would be fantastic. We're not finished giving, yet.
David Weinberger covers last night's same-sex-marriage party in Cambridge. "We're giving them the street."
Brent Simmons: "What I love about the kernel is the way it is written in C but is nevertheless object-oriented."
The Nation: "Powell acknowledged that he and the Bush administration misled the nation about the WMD threat posed by Iraq before the war."
FAQs about the Frontier open source release.
Reuters: "A suicide car bomb killed the head of Iraq's Governing Council Monday, dealing a major blow to the US coalition battling a Shi'ite insurgency and a growing prisoner abuse scandal."
A mathematical proof that girls are evil.
Andy Kaufman: "Sorry about faking my death."
Yesterday's Meet The Press was pretty fantastic. US Secretary of State Colin Powell was answering Tim Russert's questions, when the camera moved off Powell. We could hear a conversation with a press aide. He eventually told her to get out of the way and answered Russert's question about his pre-war appearance before the United Nations. Lisa Rein has the video. Thanks to Boing Boing for the pointer. NY Times story.
Colin Faulkingham thinks Frontier makes sense on the desktop, perhaps embedded in a Web browser. I think there are a lot of possibilities there. We did it the other way, embedding the MSIE browser control in Radio, but we never did much with it. I think there's a huge possibility. One feature I didn't mention in the piece below is Frontier's outliner. It's a great way to author content. Needs a few glitch-removals to really sing.
Phillip Pearson: "A worthy addition to the community.."
Duncan Smeed: "Today is an historic day..."
Boston Globe: "Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to permit gays and lesbians to wed just after midnight today."
NY Times article on the historic Brown decision that declared "separate but equal" unconstitutional. The decision was handed down fifty years ago today by the US Supreme Court.
Marc Canter regrets that the company he founded, Macromedia, left the service business.
Ted Leung is a thoughtful and not flamboyant blogger. He uses his weblog well to think out loud, and by seeing the map of his thought processes, I learn more than just about his conclusions, I also learn how he got there. This was a point that Larry Lessig made on Saturday in the great free-wheeling discussion we had at the end of the iLaw conference. He said even if no one reads your blog, you get something out of writing publicly that you can't get otherwise. Writing makes you smarter, I said, when other people expressed disbelief. But I read Ted, every time he updates, because he's a smart guy who get smarter, and helps me do that too. He makes me say Bing a lot. And then Bing Bing. And even occasionally a Bing Bing Bing.
Anyway, I can see this is going to be a rambler, because Ted's piece is the fulcrum I'm going to use to announce something important, because I want you to think about this announcement in the context of his current piece, because it exactly reflects my thinking.
As you may know, I have left UserLand. It's been almost two years, and while in some ways I wish I were there to drive the products and compete with the great companies in the blogging space, I know that I can't do it. I don't think a lot of people know that I left for health reasons, but I did.
Anyway, these days UserLand is largely a company that markets and develops Manila and Radio. My concern was when will UserLand get around to enhancing and improving the "kernel" -- the large base of C code that runs Manila and Radio -- the scripting language, object database, verb set, server, multi-threaded runtime, content management framework. It's been several years since there was a meaningful update of that code.
Products that Manila and Radio compete with don't have their own kernels, they build off development environments created by others. For example, Movable Type is written in Perl. WordPress is PHP. Blogger is Java. UserLand's products are different because they build on a private platform. For a long time we saw this as an advantage, the UserLand runtime is very rich and powerful, and offered performance benefits. When a new layer came on, for example the CMS, when it got stable and mature, we'd "kernelize" it, so it would be super-fast. But experience in the market said that, to succeed, UserLand didn't need to own its kernel. In fact, that it was the only developer using this kernel may well have been a liability for UserLand.
Here's another angle. In 1987 we sold Living Videotext to Symantec, and along with it, sold them our products, ThinkTank, Ready and MORE. I appreciate what Symantec did for us, I'm still living off the money I made in the public stock offering, but the products died inside Symantec. I'm not blaming them for that, because it's very likely they would have died inside Living Videotext had we not been acquired. But some good products disappeared. To this day people ask me what became of MORE, and tell me how advanced it was, and how nothing has replaced it. It's a sad story, and a shame, that the art of outlining took such a hit. I swore this would never happen again. There are a lot of good ideas in that base of software that you won't find elsewhere. If it disappeared it would be a loss like the MORE loss.
To fans of UserLand Software it must seem inevitable that the kernel will go this way, it sure did to me. But I am on the board of directors of the company, and I persuaded my fellow board members that it would be in the company's interest to let the kernel develop separately from the products that build on it. And that's what I want to announce today. At some point in the next few months, there will be an open source release of the Frontier kernel. Not sure what license it'll use. There won't be any grand expectations of what kind of community will develop. Even if no bugs get fixed, if no features get added, if no new OSes are supported, it will be worth it, because its future will be assured. That's the point Ted makes, and that's my reasoning behind this.
We decided this quite some time ago, but waited for the right moment to start discussing it publicly. It seems now is the right time, or as good a time as any.
Technorati cosmos for this post.
How to ping the Audio weblogs community.
We've had a gentle preview of the heat of summer the last couple of weeks. First it gets really hot and humid, so you sweat like a pig with the slightest exertion. Then it cools down so you need to wear a sweater when you go out. The heat wave makes you appreciate the coolness of air conditioning, and then nature gives you all the free air conditioning you could want everywhere you go. This is a pattern that works all summer in Calif, but not in Boston. Soon it will get hot, and stay hot, without relief, day after miserable day. Until it's winter and then you do it all over again, Murphy-willing.
I'll probably get some nasty mail about this, but iLaw should be renamed The Smart Babe Conference. The number of a drop-dead beautiful women was just amazing. And they're so smart! This is the conference I've been searching for all my life, the antidote to geek fests, which are fun too, in a completely non-babe way. Anyway, thanks for all the babes!
Jeff Jarvis: "You can't be a software company and a service company under one roof, for you will inevitably end up competing with your customers."
Adam Curry: "I've been tinkering today with RSS and BitTorrent."
Daring Fireball: "Everyone loves bug fixes. Everyone loves performance improvements. But what people will pay for are features."
Webmonkey, last year: "RSS gained traction among small developers years ago, because it's easy to code and simple to share. Today, RSS is gaining momentum with big commercial sites because the technology draws in a smart and growing audience."
Reuters: "Same-sex couples will legally exchange vows on Monday when Massachusetts becomes the first U.S. state to allow gay marriage."
John Robb: "I wish there was a mechanism in weblogging that allowed more collaborative editing."
BBC: "US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been accused of personally authorising a secret programme that encouraged abuse of Iraqi prisoners. An article in The New Yorker magazine says Mr Rumsfeld extended a programme already in use in Afghanistan. The operation encouraged coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners to gain intelligence, it says."
New Yorker: "The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation."
Which actors play which profs in iLaw, The Movie.
We're having a special Thursday night meeting at Berkman tonight at 6PM, in the conference room at Baker House for people at the iLaw conference who are interested in weblogs. Rebecca and myself have been getting a lot of questions about blogs, how do you set one up, what if people say things that their school or business doesn't approve of. We thought it would be a good idea to have a special meeting just for this group. As usual, we'll go out to dinner after a 1.5 hour discussion. If you're in the Cambridge area this evening and want to meet some new people, please come.
A Bloggerside Chat with Feedsterís Devine Feedmaster, Betsy Devine.
Brad Choate on the new Movable Type pricing.
Had an idea this morning after a discussion last night on blogging at a Food For Thought dinner, and relates to a discussion led by Jeff Jarvis at BloggerCon II. Now's the time for the users of blogging software to form a union. Get serious, and start working with vendors to get what you want. In doing so, you will set an example for all other trades. This is the future of commerce. Users communicating with users, powerfully, and vendors listening carefully.
Wired: "Rather than modify the current, failing copyright system to save the entertainment industry, one legal scholar is proposing radical plans for a system that he claims will pay artists fairly and bring more digital media to the people who crave it."
Scoble: "He tells how he developed Turbo Pascal for the Macintosh on a Sun Microsystems box. Among other historical trivia."
MetaWeblog API: "Rather than invent a new vocabulary for the metadata of a weblog post, we use the vocabulary for an item in RSS 2.0. So you can refer to a post's title, link and description; or its author, comments, enclosure, guid, etc using the already-familiar names given to those elements in RSS 2.0." Google doesn't know about this? Hmmm.
RSS has a publish-subscribe protocol.
Gazeta.pl: "Co to jest RSS?"
Oliver Stor compiled a list of German news media with RSS support.
Nozell on Moyers on Fresh Air on blogs.
BBC: "Mirror editor Piers Morgan is sacked as the newspaper concedes photos of soldiers abusing an Iraqi were fake."
Frederick Zimmerman: "Google recommends the AmphetaDesk feed reader but AmphetaDesk doesn't support Atom!"
7/17/03: "Is the advisory board a standards body?" No.
AP: "A new Web browser from Opera Software this week is the first major browser to incorporate an emerging technology that automatically delivers new blog entries and news articles."
Todd Cochrane: "I have been thinking over the past 24 hours what it must be like to be in Six Apart's office today. As I pondered that I thought back over the past 2 years."
Dean Peters: "Movable Type is worth paying for; the question is, how much for which features?"
Kottke: "The one thing I do think 6A got wrong is the pricing structure for personal users."
Slashdot thread on Movable Type's pricing.
Yesterday I heard about a user sending flowers to a developer asking that the developer do something good for the Internet. I don't want to say who sent, who received, and what it was about, because that would spoil the gesture.
Day 2 at iLaw. John Palfrey is taking notes on Charlie Nesson's talk. If this were a discussion, at some point I would raise the question whether it's our job, or even in our interest, to protect the interests of the centralized entertainment industry. Of course I don't think we should. I think we're living in transformational times, when the value of centralization is declining, the monoculture, and do-it-yourself, the way we used to entertain and inform each other, is on the rise.
Luke Hutteman: "Atom is not replacing RSS any time soon (if ever) so itís just one more format to handle. This means that from an aggregator-writer perspective, Atom just adds extra work for fairly little benefit."
It's not really a conference, they're classes, taught mostly by people I know, who I've never seen teach. And they're good.
It's the opposite of my ideal for a conference, a teacher is like a super-speaker, but they do it so well, it's a pleasure to participate. It's been 27 years since I was in a classroom as a student. I forgot how good it can be.
Lessig, Zittrain, Fisher, Benkler. Great stuff. Glad I went. This morning it's Fisher and Nesson, then Lessig, Benkler and Nesson again.
Palfrey says this is an essential Berkman experience. Hey, it's a side of Berkman I had yet to experience, and it's really coool.
Yesterday at the iLaw conference,nice people, friendly group, a small community of smart, earnest, do-gooding people. I wish I could have gone to the reception but we had the regular Thursday meeting, which was quite good last night. Lots to talk about! Yesterday was probably the biggest news day for news about the blogging world. Let's recap what happened.
1. Google announced that they were doing mail lists in competition with Yahoo. I'm sure the service will be good, but it comes with a gotcha. No RSS, only Atom. So Google continues to try to force the issue. Everyone I've talked with can't figure it out, why do they care? And people are starting to get angry about it. I find my own anger receding. I'm starting to accept Atom on Google's terms. But I remember that it's a bad turn. It will lead to more fragmentation, not less, and it will be harder and harder for independent developers to play in the aggregator space. I've been pushing for coalescing, not splitting apart. The big companies, if they act like their arrogant selves, will push the other way. One wonders if for once, the users will see that their interests are aligned with the indies.
2. Six Apart announced new pricing for Movable Type and hell breaks loose. The users are acting as children, saying somehow they didn't know that eventually Six Apart would charge for their software. I knew they were going to charge, why didn't you? I can say this because I'm not a customer (I do use their software, but I didn't pay for it) and I'm not them. But I've been where they are and it sucks. No one's perfect. If you use their software, you owe them some money. If you don't like the price, don't use it. Amazingly they're not asking for money if you use the new software in a limited form, or continue to use the old software. Users who can't get behind that are people we don't need to work with. Everything costs money. When you drive to the gas station, try whining at the attendant, and see how much gas you get. Do it enough and they'll call the cops.
3. This isn't really big news but what the heck. I got a very nice greeting yesterday from Lessig, who, while speaking was surprised to see me in the last row typing away into my blog. He said Dave! Are you blogging this? I said of course I am. And then he proceded to fall down. I said Larry don't hurt yourself. It was memorable. Lessig is a good guy. I gotta talk with him about what's going on with Movable Type. How can we help reset users' expectations so they understand that if they want good software, it might cost money? I wonder if Larry agrees.
4. The W3C said they wanted Atom. On the way to lunch I said to one of my colleagues that might be good news. Then I looked over and said I'm being cynical. She knew. The W3C has been the roachtrap of standards. Ideas go in and don't come out. I turned over one of my creations to the W3C, and it died there, a long painful death, where it turned into a political football for dozens of tech companies. It might be better today because the tech world has shrunk, but hell, we don't need the tech companies, or the W3C. The former are bad actors, the latter is their consortium. The syndication world is growing fast, but not thriving. Our challenges are economic, not technologic. I'd be more impressed if MasterCard got excited about RSS than the W3C getting excited about Atom. Scoble nailed it. Like all other domains, the standards bodies compete with other standards bodies. The IETF is interested, so of course the W3C is.
5. Rogers leaked that he's on the newly configured RSS Advisory Board. I didn't want to announce this right away, but it kind of got lost in all the other stuff. Count my blessings. Anyway, the other new members are Andrew Grumet, Adam Curry, and of course myself. Yesterday, we made an offer to one other person who hasn't responded yet. Brent Simmons and Jon Udell are not on the new board, their choice, not mine. It was a pleasure working with them. We'll aim for getting the site updated by next week.
So... The title of this section is the title of a great Joni Mitchell song. Software people are the "one man band by the quick lunch stand." Now Ben and Mena have lots of mouths to feed. This is good for users. It means they can can do more than two things at once. But it means they have to have money flow.
A guy asked me yesterday what happened to Channel Z, which I used to talk about on Scripting News. I said it's just for me, I'm not going to give it away. Before people even saw it, or used it, they were complaining, calling me names. Then I remembered, it's no fun to be generous. Who would want to be a software developer in 2004. I'm much happier if I forget about pleasing users and just please myself, until they get their act together and start being responsible.
Yesterday we saw people complain about spending $60 for a big useful piece of software like Movable Type. I paid $60 for a cab ride in Geneva. A good dinner is $100. A hotel room $150. You want the software, find a way to help companies like Six Apart instead of making them miserable. You've now got the tools to communicate. Use them well. Use them better.
Julie Leung: 13 reasons why Cluetrain made me cry.
I didn't know that Google removed sites in response to DMCA requests. This came up in Jon Zittrain's talk this afternoon. I was surprised. Here's an example search. Scroll to the bottom of the page. "In response to a complaint we received under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint for these removed results."
Kathleen Otter: "I am looking into how to combine the new Imix publishing service on ITunes (which allows you to take a playlist in your ITunes and publish it in the ITunes music store) with RSS feeds."
The W3C wants Atom. I'm linking to this because an informed person would want to be aware of this. I don't know what to make of it. Disclaimer: I am a former member of the W3C advisory board.
Danny Ayers: "I wholeheartedly support Atom becoming a W3C-based specification."
Mark Nottingham has reservations.
Scoble: "How should Microsoft react to this?"
Choice in software is what matters, not choice in formats.
Clamhead: "To request a song for the Dr. Demento Show.."
Tim Appnel: "Rumor around the MT community is that Six Apart was collecting less then 50 cents for each copy of MT downloaded. That is absurd for a piece of commercial software!"
Forever Geek: "And now we have MT 3.0 and the new licensing scheme. There is one free version with one author and a cap of three weblogs."
Micah Sifry: Thomas Friedman Bombs, Again.
7/17/03: "When the RSS spec was published by UserLand, the responsibility for answering questions about the document fell to UserLand. Over time as RSS became more popular this became awkward. Since UserLand is also a vendor of tools that build on RSS, was UserLand speaking as guardian of RSS or as a competitor? This concern was raised by vendors in the RSS application space in the last few months; we addressed the concern by setting up an advisory board to support and advocate for RSS."
Frank Field blogs the Lessig-Zittrain talk.
Katie Hafner's do-it-yourself home theater.
Guardian interview with Google's Evan Williams.
Prattboy is still waiting for his flood of spam.
Project Gutenberg has an RSS feed.
Rogers Cadenhead: "I never get a chance to scoop Scripting News, so I'm going to jump the gun with this announcement."
Wired: Microsoft to Battle Spyware.
Are there reports from yesterday's blogger dinner in London? Please send pointers.
Bernhard Seefeld carefully explained (in Nov 2003) how Google could unilaterally end weblog comment spam. A similar technique would kill referer spam too.
Yesterday: "Bush gets a one-way ticket to Falluja, so he can personally clean up the mess he created. He can take his great Defense Secretary with him. "
Today: "Embattled US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld has arrived in Baghdad on a surprise visit."
"It's even worse than it appears."
The new Mail To The Future is ready to try out. It's remarkably like the app that was first deployed in early 1999, before easy blogging tools, when XML-RPC was still very new. It was a milestone, and today it's a vault for memory and visions of the future, with messages scheduled for delivery through 2030. It's important that the app be handled with care, over the years. UserLand is focused (correctly) on Manila and Radio, so I offered to host MTTF on the Scripting News server. If you have questions or comments, please post them here. If you can add to the history of MTTF, post comments here.
News.Com: "Search engine giant Google plans for the first time to sell ads that include images, a surprise reversal for a company that has won regard for its pioneering use of text-only marketing pitches."
The Internet Law conference starts tomorrow here in Cambridge. I'm going to
Jeffrey Sachs an economist at Columbia University is the guest on NPR's On Point this evening. He says what I've been trying to say, it's time to cut our losses in Iraq. We made a mistake. I don't see any way that staying there can have a better outcome than leaving now.
A conference tonight at Fenwick & West in Mtn View about blogging. "How will blogging change the way we do business?"
Archive.Org has an RSS feed.
Reuters: "The Americans killed hundreds in Falluja in retaliation for the mutilation of the four Americans and now those people are killing an American in retaliation for the torture of prisoners," said Arkan Mohammad, a cleric at Baghdad University.
I basically agree with the title of this site. This is, probably, by the way, why I won't spend a major amount of time in Europe this summer. We've got an election here in the fall that's very important. I will probably relocate to one of the swing states, so my vote will matter. And my travelling this summer should be in the US, where I can help in any way I can to be sure that Bush gets a one-way ticket to Falluja, so he can personally clean up the mess he created. He can take his great Defense Secretary with him.
NY Times: "President Bush and Senator John Kerry are pouring resources into more than 20 states in a struggle to master one of the most complex electoral playing fields in nearly 20 years."
Mary Jo Foley: Trouble in TabletLand?
Wired: "It's probably a bit much to say Jobs is saving the music industry, but he's showing them the way into the digital age. They have been stumbling around drunk in the dark."
XML-RPC interface for Mail To The Future.
Peter Ford: "It is great to see the revival of Mail to the Future."
AP: "The number of adult smokers in New York City dropped by more than 100,000 in a year."
Matthew Mullenweg wrote an importer for WordPress that reads a folder of RSS files to populate a weblog. I have such a folder for my Handsome Radio Blog, and Matthew tested his importer with these files. Hey, it worked. This is what interop is about, making it easier for users to move content between the various systems.
TPM: "Lady Liberty gets left with fifty bucks, a sneer, a black eye, and the room to herself for the couple hours left before check out."
5/12/97: "A friend asks if galaxies can love each other."
Reuters: "Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq beheaded an American civilian and vowed more killings in revenge for the 'Satanic degradation' of Iraqi prisoners, an Islamist Web site said Tuesday."
News.Com report on Reuters' support of RSS. I like this report because it focuses on what people are doing with RSS, not the brain-dead simple technology behind it. I also liked that they called out Google for being incompatible. More coverage like this and they'll have to join the rest of the technology and publishing industries and get behind RSS. It's the totally not-evil thing to do.
Kevin Werbach: "And frankly, the attendees are just as impressive." I'll probably never get invited to Supernova, but Kevin I wholly agree, so why not have a page that lists all the participants. We have such an app running, created for BloggerCon, if you want to use it, just say the word, it would take a couple of hours to set it up for your conference. This way people can salivate about all the super-smart people who will be there.
Bloglines adds enclosure support. I've attached a small enclosure to this item. Does it copy the enclosure to their server, or point to the original? Matt McClellan reports: "Looks like Bloglines points to the original."
The Connection: The Anti-Blog. "Bad prose out there."
George Packer: The Revolution Will Not Be Blogged.
News.Com: "Sony on Monday revamped and expanded the scope of its Vaio computer line. Additions to the line include a new portable hard drive-based music player, a diminutive Windows XP PC and new PCs with enhanced AV functions. Also, the company revealed the development of a hard-disk recorder with more than a terabyte of storage capacity."
Gizmodo report on the Vaio Pocket, pictured above.
Register: Sony unveils colour iPod killer.
Hans Kullin has a list of Swedish sites with RSS feeds.
Betsy Devine did an experiment to see if Gmail only looks at the first paragraph in an email to figure out what ads to display. It appears her theory is correct. She writes about flowers, and the ads are about flowers. At first I couldn't figure out what she was talking about.
Halley's Comment, a Blogger site, now has comments.
Scott Rosenberg: "Bush and his men keep parroting the line about torture chambers even as the scandal of American-sponsored torture in Saddam's notorious old prison was grabbing headlines worldwide."
NPR's Juan Williams interviews US Secretary of State Colin Powell about the prisoner abuse scandal. "This is not over yet."
Nicholas Carr: "In public, industry CEOs may continue to exercise their Peter Pan complexes, pretending that the IT business will never grow up. But behind the scenes they're dismantling Neverland piece by piece."
Phil Ringnalda: "It's time for the users of syndicated XML feeds to stand up and be heard."
Audioblog.com is "the powerful and easy-to-use audio publishing service that puts your voice in your weblog or online journal."
Docs for the XML-RPC interface for MailToTheFuture.Com, 2/99.
Three years ago today, Frontier for Mac OS X shipped.
Jon Udell article about Mail To The Future, August 1999. I'm working on transitioning this app to the Scripting News servers. It's not part of UserLand's future, so I'm going to run it here. Getting pretty close to flipping the switch. Working on the XML-RPC interface now.
"thinkusaalignright"Reuters: "The independent Army Times newspaper, read widely in the US military, on Monday suggested Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top Pentagon civilian and military leaders should be removed over the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal."
A simple thing you can do to irritate Reps and reassure Dems.
Blogenstein "uses OPML files to keep track of weblog popularity."
John Robb weighs in on Google's missing support for RSS. I'd add what I said to David Krane, it's a strategic issue, not an engineering issue, which is the party line from Google.
Finally a clue to what Google means when they say that omitting RSS support is an engineering issue. They told San Jose Mercury News editor Dan Gillmor that they couldn't afford the server resources to maintain two feeds for each user. Dan wonders if this is true, and so do I.
BBC: "One of the leading names in blogging is overhauling its service in an attempt to catch up with the competition."
I have been emailing with David Krane, a PR person at Google, who works alongside Cindy McCaffery. That's good. He had emailed me an invite to use Gmail in the first wave of invites, but my very crude spam system coughed it up, and then hurled his follow-up email. Once I knew it was there and got back from Europe I tried to use it, only to find out that the invite had expired. Over the weekend David very kindly set me up with a new one, and now I have an empty Gmail account, dave.winer. Obviously it's not going to be much use until it starts getting some email, so send me a message if you feel so inclined.
As noted yesterday, it was disappointing that the new Blogger interface, which looks quite nice, doesn't support RSS 2.0. I'm far from the only one who's commenting. It would be so easy to do, so not evil, so grown-up, so much appreciated if they would just do it. Pretty soon RSS is going to be known as the format of the BigPubs, which is totally ironic because I'm one of the original bloggers. Come on guys, what if I say please? Please, I'm down on bended knees.
Another note, I now have four different logins at Google: Orkut, AdSense, Blogger and Gmail. Each with a different username and password. Now here's an area where Google could be a leader, provide an alternative to Passport, something we really need, a Google-size problem.
Both user interfaces, Gmail and the new Blogger are very slick, but Gmail is the more sophisticated. Those guys should get busy with blogging, if they're not already working on a blogging interface. And don't be surprised when Google announces a centralized aggregator a la Bloglines (hopefully not with a three-pane interface). That will be Microsoft's cue to
Biz Stone: The Great Blogger Relaunch.
Phil Ringnalda: "Wow. Blogger just got a serious, serious makeover."
CSM: "If kid's diary is online, should mom peek?"
Reuters: "Former First Lady Nancy Reagan made an impassioned call for taking controversial stem cell research out of the political arena, saying it could help cure illnesses like Alzheimer's which so sorely afflicts her husband."
Mitch Kapor: "They picked the wrong person to do this to."
Glenn Fleishman: "This post will be a top match for Soviet Union in a few days."
This is Doc Searls' first Mother's Day without a mother. I was wondering if someone could write about that. Luckily I have a mother. Called her today to wish her a happy day. We talked about what we're going to do to get rid of the Republicans come November.
Mike Rodriquez: "This is a different holiday now that both our moms are gone."
Seth Dillingham: "Think about those mothers who have lost their children since the last Mother's Day."
One of the things that came out of our meeting with Adam this month in Amsterdam is a brain-dead simple geekish aggregator that only does enclosures, and works without much of a user interface. Marcus Mauller is already working on the code, and I hope Andrew Grumet will get into the loop on it. The idea is to get a basic bootstrap going to figure out how the ideal enclosure aggregator should work. This is the seed that starts up the Personal TV Networks tree.
Five years ago today: "RSS is an XML-based format that represents what we in the Frontier community call a 'weblog.'"
Chris Heilman: "Rumsfeld is even less elected than is his boss."
Jessica Baumgart: "While I was reflecting on my life for the last year as I've been blogging, I realized I've met a lot of really cool people through the activity and a related support group for bloggers."
NY Times profile of Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.Com.
I'm doing a video chat with Adam Curry in Belgium. He's on a Mac using iChat, I'm on Windows XP using AIM. It's three-quarters working, but the last quarter is very vexing. Can you help with the remaining connection?
Dan Gillmor: "We are risking the part of being American that is so attractive here and around the world: the sense that we paid attention to human rights and meant it."
Joi Ito: "I think software patents are a bad American idea."
I was pretty sure Marc Canter would understand yesterday's post about sponsors, speakers, panels and audiences. And he explains, eloquently and diplomatically, why he agrees. "There's no way I'm getting on a plane to listen to Clay again unless we can discuss in public his issues." Exactly. You assemble this fantastic group of really smart people, and tell them they can't discuss. What a waste. Much better to put the minds to use. And all because a few lazy people don't want to be challenged. I hope the promoters of Supernova and Web 2.0 use the ideas outlined in the Howto for BloggerCon II. Ask people who were there, it really works, you just have to believe that you've got the smartest and best people coming to your conference, and then recruit reporters and professors to lead discussions. More here.
Yesterday's top item: Reuters RSS Feeds. Worth repeating.
Via Elmer Masters via LawLibTech comes news that Westlaw now supports RSS. It's behind a user login, so we have to go by what they're saying (so far apparently no press release). An example of one of the feeds. They're using RSS 0.92, perfectly appropriate for the application. Bravo! Two big publishers come online in two days. Bing-bing!
'Help -- my iPod won't play!
Sailboat at sunset, Lake Geneva, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Statue of Beethoven with a pigeon on his head, Bonn, Germany.
I listened to Rumsfeld's testimony before Congress today. He apologized, but only to the families of the people who were abused by American troops. I think he needs to apologize more broadly, to all Arabs, everywhere. And after he does that, he needs to do a mega-apology to the American people, who made the huge mistake of trusting him. He puts himself on our side, saying that the behavior of the military doesn't represent American values. He's hardly an authority on that, he's a public servant who is failing to serve the public. They're still trying to serve the Iraqi people, but their jobs require that they serve the American people. I've yet to hear why it's in our interest that we be in Iraq, borrowing more money that we can't repay, and helping Al Qaeda with their recruiting campaign. There is a massive insubordination here. We're the ones who pay their salaries, and vote for their re-election. They're still dancing, not getting how deep this incident cuts. Why would anyone vote for them? (And this is Bush's problem, not Rumsfeld's.)
Wall St Journal via Scott Rosenberg: "Mr Frist at one point said he'd like to sit down with Mr Bush and ask which two or three people in the administration could tell him what's really going on with Iraq, according to one person in the room. 'I don't think he knows who could do that,' replied Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard Lugar.'"
Lance: "Maybe Dave should spend his summer in Poland?" !
What does it mean when they say a cellphone comes with WiFi? Is it a VOIP phone? Or does it appear on the network as a shared hard disk so you can edit your address book on a PC? They never seem to say what features are made possible by WiFi support.
An O'Reilly report on news standards says RSS is here to stay.
Adam: "I don't feel bad that I bittorrented the sucker this morning."
Execs from high tech companies pay sponsorship fees, not disclosed, and guarantee that the content is paid advertising and that nothing real is said on stage. If you don't pay the sponsorship fee, you don't get a speaking slot. If you offend a sponsor, you don't get invited back.
These conferences are all spin, and empty bluster.
The organization of the conferences, with speakers and panels, guarantees that the audience falls asleep or is frustrated, waiting to make their point until they get to ask questions at the end of the session. Questions. What a silly concept. Look in the room. It's pretty likely the people who know the most are in the "audience."
By the end of the day people are in the hallway or outside, talking to each other, and when that gets boring, talking on cell phones.
Now that they have WiFi, at least there's an outlet for the audience's ideas, their blogs.
But as we learned at BloggerCon II, it's totally possible to do a conference without sponsors, without speakers, panels, without an audience. In this model, the rooms are full to capacity and even though there's WiFi, there was hardly any time to post to blogs. You can steal the design for this conference. And if you do, sign me up, I want to be there.
If you really want to get the most out of people's time, switch models. You don't need the money from the sponsors, and you don't need speakers, and you surely don't need an audience.
Awesome: Reuters RSS Feeds. Bing!
With the stock and bond markets tubing and with Greenspan warning about the havoc Bush's deficits are having on the economy, it's a wonder Republicans would vote for him. He's President of Iraq. Forget about one-way air fare to Crawford, send the bum to Baghdad.
In the midst of all the bad economic and war news comes notice of an invitation-only tech conference in October. $2390 for three days. Ay carumba. Must be for venture capitalists. Geez Louise.
Salon: "One caller likened the stacking up of naked Iraqi prisoners to a college fraternity prank -- Limbaugh was eager to go along, calling the behavior nothing more than 'a good time' and healthy 'emotional release.'"
NY Times: "The head of the Federal Reserve voiced a note of concern today about the effects of America's soaring national budget deficit on the country's long-term economic stability."
Andrew: "I'm updating myWeblogOutliner today, adding metaWeblog API based category support."
Raffi Krikorian hacked his Google ads so that they appear in his RSS feed. Unfortunately Google doesn't like this practice.
TPM is covering the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal.
NY Times: "Probably no more than 500,000 people are using IRC worldwide at any time, and many of them are engaged in legitimate activities, network administrators say."
We're transferring several domains to my Scripting servers in Mass, and in doing so, need to find a registration service that may or may not exist.
BBC: "Wireless net access is quickly becoming the rule, not exception, in the Estonian capital."
Two years ago: "If I ever said that the amateurs would certainly wipe out the professionals, let me now retract that statement."
Six years ago: "That had nothing to do with Bill Gates."
A little over a year ago Diego Doval did an excellent survey of blogging APIs. Although there's been a lot of flames under the bridge since, nothing really has changed in the last year.
NY Times: "The City University of New York is preparing to open a graduate school of journalism in the summer of 2005 with an emphasis on urban affairs."
This op-ed piece in the Christian Science Monitor sums up my concerns about US foreign policy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I've started looking at the suggestions for vacation rentals in Europe. I'm pretty serious about spending July and August in Europe. I'd really like a place in the country. Sounds like Scandanavia is a good bet, because Internet access is important, and swimming and not being too hot is also important. Here's a site that Guan Yang from Copenhagen recommended for housing in Denmark. Looks very interesting. Other possibilities include Switzerland, and Germany.
When I arrived in Zurich on April 28 I had to hunt around for an Internet cafe. Found one, got a Coke Lite and a land-line, and started writing. After one of my revisions I noticed there's a comment. "That's fast," I said to myself. It's from Gregor Rothfuss. "Wanna have a beer? I live 10min away." Five minutes later Benjamin Vogt, an evangelist at Microsoft, posted "5min away, let me know if you are hooking up." A few minutes later they were both at the cafe, and we went to the old town in Zurich and had a bratwurst dinner and beer, and talked about all kinds of stuff including how amazing it was that we got together this way. Another killer app for weblogs.
Ed Cone: "Howard Coble has a new website."
Jon Udell: "If we really want transparent data flow, letís keep it simple."
What is this??
NY Times: "What would happen if people across the country were really engaged and informed and had a chance to think about the issues?"
Andrew switched to T-Mobile, so he's already Europe-friendly.
Wired: "A Cold War emergency bunker nestled in the side of a mountain will soon house one of the largest movie and music collections in the world."
Back in Boston, where it's totally spring, sunny, not too cold, not too hot, everything in bloom, birds chirping. A normal long flight, the plane was packed, the movie was good. Glad to be back in the good old U-S-of-A. The reverse jet lag (the easier kind, if I remember correctly) is setting in. To me it feels like midnight, but it's really 6PM.
Webjay is "a tool that helps you listen to and publish web playlists."
Interesting people will be at Supernova, June 24-25, Santa Clara, CA.
Rogers Cadenhead: "I'm working on an RSS 2.0 template that I would like Six Apart to adopt in its software."
Invisible Adjunct: "Six more weeks of teaching, and I head for the nearest exit."
Roughly seven years ago: "I think each of us has a kernel, under all the layers of experience and pain, that's ageless and perfect. Some people call this a heart, the organ that pumps blood thru our bodies. Others call it a spirit, the essence of the person. Whatever you call it, it's there, and you can easily find it."
Many years ago at a workshop I asked the teacher if goose bumps are love or fear. He didn't answer. Now I think I know. I get goose bumps when my point is touched. Don't know what that means? Read the story.
On my last night in Amsterdam for this trip, I had dinner with Adam Curry at a meat house that reminded me of a bar in Mazomanie, WI, many many years ago. We had meat and beer. So did everyone else.
It's really interesting walking around Amsterdam with Adam, who is a very famous person here. People stare at him. Ask for his autograph. I get some of the reflected glory, who is that guy with the rock star? It's a pretty unusual thing for me.
Anyway, we talked about next things to do. It was good to get some one-on-one time with Adam this trip. Now it's off the Schipol, the Amsterdam airport, to go back to Boston, and whatever adventures await me there.
Independent: "The BBC will launch a pilot project that could lead to all television programmes being made available on the internet."
Lots of good places to vacation for 60-90 days this summer, in Europe, places suitable for thinking, writing, swimming, planning, programming
News.Com: "The European Commission has warned organizations that collect royalties on behalf of musicians that they may be breaking competition rules by extending their national monopolies onto the Internet."
A new feed with items about the Google IPO.
Wow, this is cool. The next release of Microsoft's OneNote will import OPML outlines. Very good. Of course it should export them too. The old Microsoft would never have done this, in fact there's an old Microsoft guy running around the syndication community, he's one of the biggest advocates of reinventing everything just for the sake of revinvention. It takes a lot for a big company like Microsoft to adopt a format developed outside, esp one not developed at another BigCo. Thanks for setting a great example. Google, please pay attention to this. You lose nothing by keeping the number of formats small, by building on other people's work instead of undermining it, by not being evil. You already knew that, at the top, but perhaps some of the new guys don't understand what it means. It's in the company prospectus. So I hope you won't mind if we hold you to a higher standard. I assume that's why it's there.
CNET has the Google prospectus in PDF format.
Russell Beattie: "Google changed their contract to include a gag clause preventing anyone who uses Adsense to talk about it publicly."
NY Times: "Four years after the stock market plunged under the weight of lifeless dot-com stocks and other technology losers, Mr Doerr is as upbeat about the potential of Internet start-ups as ever -- and now his faith will be rewarded with billions from Google, the Web search company, when it goes public."
Harold Gilchrist says it's time for audio blogs to have their own weblogs.com. We can do it if there's enough interest -- weblogs.com has the ability to spawn new communities. So if there are enough audio blogs or tools to start one, let's do it. Probably the best way to find out is to create a post and ask people with audio blogs to comment.
Latest book read: Life of Pi, working on Reefer Madness. Highly recommend Pi, it's a sweet story, written with the innocence of an Indian teenager growing up in a zoo. Part Hemingway, part Anne Tyler, it's a moody adventure story that takes place at sea. I've never read anything like it. Reefer Madness starts predictably then goes deeper into the crazy things we do to destroy the lives of people who farm, sell and use marijuana.
Andrew Grumet: "Why isn't there better support for syndicating mp3 playlists? Why don't we have better support for sharing category trees across blog systems?"
Where would be a good place to vacation for 60-90 days this summer, in Europe, a place suitable for thinking, writing, swimming, planning, programming.
I've been thinking about where to spend this summer. A lot. A few days ago I realized I wanted to spend it at my grandmother's house at Rockaway Beach in NY. But she's been dead for 26 years. A weird thing happened. I'm in the part of Germany she came from. Checked into my hotel room in Bonn today. It smells like her house. Unmistakeable. Smells stay with you forever. I miss her. She was a devilish person. I'd like to spend a summer at her house. Can't do it. Moral of the story -- enjoy the people you love when you have the time.
Scoble: "Most white Americans wouldn't go in, though. The signs didn't have any English on them." Heh. All the restaurants I've been going to don't have any English. Tonight I went to eat Turkish food in Bonn. The menu was in Turkish with German sub-titles. Luckily, I had Andrea and Andre to make sense of it for me. Andre is the Spicy Noodles guy, and Andrea is the grandmother of German blogging.
Jay Rosen: "Of course Ted Koppel was making a political statement."
Mitch Kapor: "Google wants to have its cake and eat it too."
Tim Bray: "I love the smell of flaming in the morning."
Britt Blaser: "Hooray! Hooray!"
On the train yesterday I had a lot of time to think about all kinds of things. It was May Day, so everywhere the train went, there were families having picnics and riding bikes and walking. From my vantage point it seemed these people sure know how to live. No air pollution, lots of green, all the trees in bloom. Inexplicably they have graffitti, just like we do in the states. Is Switzerland and southern Germany really heaven? From the train it, in May, on a national holiday, it sure looks like heaven.
NY Times: "I would boycott Google if I could," said Mr Cadenhead, of St Augustine, Fla, who said he spends hours a day on the site. "But I can't. It's like boycotting gas."
Via Seb: "Crazy old men are essential to society."
Andrew wants to buy a cell phone that works in the US and Europe.
NY Times: "Unlike conventional advertising, to which vast creative effort is devoted, a search engine like Google already has access to users looking for something in particular."
This NY Times article is a milestone; it describes the basic difference between the economy of publishing versus the economy of eyeballs. On the Internet, over time, the role of "audience" goes away, being replaced by a network of people with information that other people use, and products people want, that other people can buy. On the eBay of tomorrow, the vendor of the product you buy may never have even seen the product, maybe never have seen a prototype, all they knew as that a need wasn't being met, and they took a chance on the idea. Manufacturing will be done where it's most efficient. Things that used to require experts, like advertising, travel agencies, realtors, will decline.
One of the cool things about the Google prospectus, which I've only read second-hand, is that they stick by the principles of the Web, which say you give up control and provide a service people want. But I wonder if they've grown so big that Sergey and Larry don't know what their company is doing. If that hasn't happened yet, it will happen soon, IPO or not. As good as Google is, as much as they are Of The Internet, as they grow, they aggregate functionality that's probably better off being distributed. It'll become tempting if it hasn't already to make money at the expense of the commons. Already Google is acting like big chunks of the commons are private property.
I got an email from a friend asking if "RSS" is really the best name for the activity of creating and reading XML-based news feeds. I think it is, because if there was only going to be one name for the activity, RSS would have to be it. I can prove it. Suppose you call it XYZ and convince some people to call it that. Then some people will call it RSS and other people will call it XYZ. Unless you can convince everyone to change, which is a very hard thing to do, you're going to have two names for one thing, which is more than twice as confusing as one name.
An example. I use a GSM phone in Europe. I even met the people who designed it. I have absolutely no idea what it stands for and I don't need or want to know.
Another example. In Germany the high speed trains are called ICE. When I got on my first train, the American than I am, I called it an ice-train. The conductor explained that it's an acronym. I-C-E. What does it stand for? Inter City Express. This in a country where the first and only language is German. An English acronym is the name of their high speed rail system, one that they are justifiably proud of.
All around us are things which have incomprehensible names. Eventually that fades into the background and they become new words in our common vocabulary, familiar and happy. Like TV. What is that short for? Tele Vision. What the hell does that mean?
One more. Read the title of this section. Okay. Now think about that for a minute. It's a fairly universal cross-language word for "got it." We all say okay all the time. It's an acronym, right? What is it an acronym for? I bet you'll be surprised.
I decided I don't have enough time to do justice to the south of France, so I'm going to slowly return to Amsterdam, via Cologne, where Andre and Andrea of Spicy Noodles fame reside. Andre used to work at UserLand and is one of my favorite people in the world. Very smart, great programmer, and he laughs at my chokes. Er jokes.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.