Friday, December 31, 2004
Surely the last podcast of the year, in which I assert to A Curry (and anyone else who cares) that I am an addict of The Daily Source Code, and only want the program notes to show up in my aggregator after I've listened to the podcast. Maybe as much as 24 hours after. That and some philosophy, as usual, about random things that occur to me while driving on US Highway 45 in Mississippi and Alabama, USA.
A few pics from Alabama and Pensacola.
Before the year is over, a hearty Fuck You to all reporters who recited the list of top podcasters and left out my own humble pioneering podcast. I was podcasting before any of those losers, you loser. Who the fuck do you think taught them 1. How to do it and 2. (more important) That they could do it. You reporters are schmucks. I figure since you never write about me, I could go ahead and piss you off, who cares what you think since you obviously don't care what I think. Fuck you. No smiley.
To keep it all in perspective, one of my childhood heroes, Rod Kanehl, one of the original NY Mets, died on December 14. He was 70. If my uncle were here I'd call him to share this bit of sad news.
Interesting moment in today's Gillmor Gang (not out yet). I said the magic moment in the life of a format is when someone from Microsoft calls you to ask if they're implementing the format right. That's the moment you want to get to. And they don't implement a format for the Kum-Bay-Ya of it. They implement it because it's part of the job.
Today's movie was shot driving across Mobile Bay.
Five years ago today: "That's it for this millennium!"
Kaye Trammel wants to see your RSS.
NetNewsWire supports podcasting.
3:45PM Central: Arrived safely in Destin, FL.
Welcome to the long tail of blogging.
Doc forget about spectrum, that's such a 20th Century concept. In the age of podcasting, spectrum is infinite and costs $35 a year from Network Solutions.
BTW, I'm going to be a guest on The Last Gillmor Gang of 2004, taped later today and broadcast on IT Conversations which uses no FCC-regulated spectrum. I'll probably be in the Florida panhandle by then.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Today's on-the-road podcast, with more wrong things with the iPod, Tony Kahn's query, a tech design problem, and a killer idea for the iPod.
In today's podcast I noted the good and bad of the south. Good: The food is spicy and rich. Bad: And fattening. Neither good or bad: People are s-l-o-w-e-r. At first, to a person from one of the coasts this can be maddening, but you get used to it. (That's based on memory.) Bad: Conventional wisdom has it that east coast drivers are aggressive and west coast drivers are passive. But southern drivers can be mindless, and every so often there's a bubba with a huge fwd pickup who weaves in and out of traffic as if the other cars were slalom poles. Bad: Church groups in hotels. A bus pulls up to a hotel with 25 kids and 2 adults, rents four rooms (always on the floor I'm on) and then uses the hallway as if it were the common area between their rooms. As a bonus they arrive at eleven and don't go to sleep until 2AM.
Driving across the Mississippi River at Vicksburg movie.
Scoble has a good roundup of news on the earthquake and tsunami.
BBC: Podcasts bring DIY radio to the web.
I'm writing this from a restaurant in northeast Louisiana. Just a truck stop. But the food is excellent. Just the right amount of spice. Fresh vegetables, greens, okra, beans. Ice tea. I miss eating in the south. I told the waitress I was driving from Seattle to Miami. She was unimpressed.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Pics: Amarillo to Tyler.
Today's song: "Two degrees in be-bop, a PhD in swing."
Also: "When I get off of this mountain, you know where I want to go?"
Every day I see dozens of billboards for hotels for travelers offering free high-speed Internet. In September, when I was driving east to west, it was often hard to find a hotel with Internet. There's been a big change in the last few months. It won't be much longer before Internet service will be taken for granted, like cable TV, or the little bottles of shampoo. I wonder how long it will be before they stop putting telephones in new hotels. I can't imagine many people use them, given that cell phones are so much cheaper. One other note, when I was driving east in March 2003, my Sprint cell phone was useless. (Also a few months ago, but that was mostly in Canada, a different country, of course.) On this trip, my AT&T phone has had almost complete coverage, including some of the emptiest parts of Arizona and New Mexico. I had an hour on the phone with Adam a couple of days ago, on a stretch of highway where rest areas were over 100 miles apart. Full cell coverage the whole way. Technology is getting a serious upgrade in the US.
Boston Phoenix piece on podcasting.
I had a really nice phone talk today with Tony Kahn of WGBH today, we talked about so many things, including science fiction. He told me about a great book he read many years ago, about a human who visits a neutron star, finds life forms whose lives are vastly accelerated because time on a neutron star flows so much faster. Problem is Tony forgot who wrote the book and what it's title is. I offered to ask Scripting News readers if they knew. If you do, please post a comment here. Thanks!
Microsoft wants you to present at TechEd in Orlando.
5:15PM: Arrived safely in Tyler, TX.
Julie Leung, a Washingtonian: "Christmas does stink. I feel that there are often so many expectations heaped atop this holiday that it is doomed to fail."
Brian Hampson reports that bloggers are not welcome at CES.
It's cool, I'm getting a bunch of email today from Texans. Can't recall that I ever got email from Texans before. Most of it is the usual bluster about how tough they are. I decided to tilt south today to spend more time in Texas, a huge state. I should end my travels today in Paris, or thereabouts. We had family friends in Queens when I was growing up who were from Paris, Texas. They were nice people, btw, as I'm sure most Texans are, even if the myths about Texas aren't so nice and if they think the Alamo moved from San Antonio to lower Manhattan.
Via email from Bill Brandon, a Texan: "There's no pussies left in Texas. We shipped 'em all off to DC." That's a good one. I'm laughing out loud and slappin my knee.
Almost four years ago: "When I started talking with Adam Curry late last year, he wanted me to think about high quality video on the Internet, and I totally didn't want to hear about it. Like a lot of people, I had tried it, and found it unsatisfying and frankly, exhausting."
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Pictures: Flagstaff to Albuquerque to Amarillo.
Dare Obasanjo: "I want less formats not more." Same here.
Just went for a walk in Amarillo. A couple of observations. Everywhere you go there are God Bless America signs. Also, everywhere you go, the town smells of cow manure. Seriously. It really does. Here's what I say. God Bless Amarillo.
Heard an interview on the radio today with a country music star whose name I didn't catch. Here's the deal on Iraq from their point of view. The bastards attacked the US. Let's fuck em. Hard. We're Americans, we don't put up with that kind of shit. Get out of our way mofo, this is Texas. I wish it had been two-way cause I would have said that I was surprised they were so territorial about NYC. I thought you guys hated east coast liberals. Why don't you wait until the attack Texas before getting so damned angry. And by the way, you didn't get Osama, you fucking pussies.
5:30PM Central: Arrived safely in Amarillo, TX.
Zack Rosen's advice for news orgs in the age of citizen journalism.
See also: How to Make Money on the Internet v2.0.
Things are really starting to fall into place. I may understand why people seem to write me out of the stories of mine they rewrite. Mitch Kapor says we're all spending our careers implementing Dave Winer's ideas. That's nice but I always implement my ideas first, and sometimes it takes an amazingly long time for the cloners to clone them, and they usually don't get it right, and that includes Mitch. I kinda wish he'd work with me, rather than keep trying to take over my ideas. But it's nice now that he's giving me credit, he didn't used to. Anyway, talking with Adam yesterday I remarked that people seem to like getting ideas from him, but they don't like getting them from me. Then I talked with Scoble at length, and he said something similar about himself, that he works hard to be liked, and that I don't. The weird thing is that Scoble is just beginning to get the taste of people not liking him, but any good editor will tell you something's wrong if you're a reporter and everyone likes you. And if we're citizen journalists, I guess we have to get used to this. Anyway, it's really hard to get motivated to deliver more innovative shit, knowing that it's going to be just as hard the 53rd time to get people to suspend their disbelief as it was the 1st. It's not surprising that Fortune skipped our contribution. I'm constantly written out of the story of my creative life. Should I continue? Why? This is one of the things I'm thinking about while driving.
Postscript: Uninstalling Replay Radio did the trick. I did a ten minute audio test and it worked. No breaks. If you're interested in escort services in Amarillo, this is a must-listen!
12:15PM: Innovation. I bought a 62-day subscription for wifi at TA truck stops. They have a good connect, and enough stops so I can check my mail at lunchtime, and also get some food and more caffeine. I'm actually getting good at this. Anyway, I'm in Santa Rosa, NM, the eastern side of the state, almost in the Texas panhandle. Rolling desert.
Actually it turns out I do have a few things on my mind.
First, the scale of the human tragedy of the tsunami. An interview on CNN with a young rock climber from Hawaii, vacationing in Thailand, talks about how only a few of her colleagues died. In normal times, the few that died would be the story. Many of the people they interview are shaking and crying, many hours after the tragedy. It's the rare thing, a real story involving human beings.
Second, think about the billions we're spending on Iraq, and for what? The Republicans who defend the war say Iraqis were suffering under Saddam, okay, this is a lot of suffering and unlike the Iraqi suffering, this has a solution, money spent here will rebuild and there won't be "insurgents" to tear down the repairs and kill our people as they try to help.
Third, and I know there's no chance of this making a difference, maybe the Iraqis could put down their guns, stop beheading people, stop blowing things up, elect a damned government, and let us leave so we can have a future and so we can help when other tragedies happen. I'm sorry we invaded, and I'm sorry we re-elected the monster that invaded you. Now we have to go. It's just a feeling I have. The problems of the Iraqis seem so small when compared to the problems of Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia. The problem in Iraq is in their minds. Can't they solve it? We sure can't.
Thanks to Ed Cone for remembering that the app that made the Scoble Revolution possible wasn't developed at Microsoft, and wasn't honored by PC Magazine either. Seems we could learn something about how new software ideas enter the culture, and maybe it won't matter what Fortune or PC Mag thinks. That's what I'm hoping for.
It's amazing to me that the Fortune authors weren't curious to know how this culture entered Microsoft. They only got part of the story. Reading the article you'd think it was Bill Gates's idea. I suppose he gets the credt for letting it happen. But he wasn't the innovator. If I were a reader of their mag I might wonder who was and how it happened.
Monday, December 27, 2004
On this day in 1997, a new format for Scripting News, in XML, the format that would become RSS 0.91. Note the concept of "content flows," this is what made the format different from others that were "site summaries."
Fortune article on business blogging.
Bob Stepno: "Saving journalism may not mean saving newspapers."
New feature: The latest Scripting News in OPML, is updated along with the HTML version.
Adam has ideas about integrating voicemail and podcasting, and I've been having similar ideas about digital cameras and cellphones.
Here's a scenario. I'm hiking on a popular trail outside Sedona, taking pictures, of course. Since this trail is so popular, I pass about a dozen families, couples, solos, families with kids, families with dogs. Okay, as I pass them I can take their picture if they want me to. My camera connects through Bluetooth to their cellphone and transfers the pictures I take. Not sure about all the permissions, it's probably another panel on the Setup screen on my camera.
BTW, Nikon has a much more complex user interface than Apple's and it works a lot better. Same with my Nokia cellphone. All these devices are comparable. And the wifi capabilities these devices are all going to get soon will enable Bluetooth-like features, except without any limit on range. You can synch up with devices anywhere as long as they are accessible over the Internet.
Hey while we're at it I'd like my phone and camera to be bluetoothing the URL of my weblog to anyone nearby who cares.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
What's wrong with the iPod?
Thomas Roessler: "Why don't iPods enable us to share music?"
Steve Gillmor says that the NY Times has changed its archive policy. Apparently all links older than a week are gone, even if they have the magic bits on them. If this is true, it's quite disappointing, now only the BBC maintains an archive of news stories. I've been pointing to Times articles on the assumption that they would keep working over the years. Perhaps this is just a technical glitch. I've sent a note to people at the Times asking for clarification.
NY Times: "Most powerful quake in 40 years."
Zawodny: "I'm always worried when anyone talks of great little companies being bought by a Big Company."
Talking Points Memo: "The president and the White House have now compared their build-up to the Iraq war with their push to phase out Social Security enough times that it seems worth creating a detailed taxonomy of the Bush White House approach."
One of the reasons for staying with Netflix instead of switching to Blockbuster is the new releases feed from Netflix.
Saturday, December 25, 2004
AP: "Dad put the presents on eBay instead of under the tree."
If you have your own great moments in podcasting, prepare a sound clip, upload it, post a description and send me a pointer. Let's get some flow for the really interesting or awkward moments in podcasting in 2004. Here's a brief podcast from the DNC with Rebecca Blood, myself, General John Shallikashvilli and a roaring convention crowd. It was quite a moment. I think god was casting that day too, or maybe it was the spirit of Hubert Humphrey.
Yesterday I listened to the identity discussion on The Gillmor Gang. It was very good, as far as it went, but it couldn't go very far, because identity doesn't go very far. This is one of the big problems that refuses to get solved. Like Jon Udell, I expected us to have a global identity system a long time ago.
Doc Searls, bless his heart, offered RSS and podcasting as examples of technologies that were simple, therefore successful, and suggests that identity, if it were to be approached the same way, might have similar success. Bzzzt. Wrong. RSS was not easy, it was hard, for exactly the same reasons identity is hard. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Two ways to do identity is one too many.
Politics spoiled identity, and would have spoiled RSS had the major players not converged on RSS 2.0. The difference this time was that there was a Switzerland, me, to guide RSS through its gauntlet, and I clearly wasn't in bed with any of the major publishers or vendors. The Harvard connection didn't hurt because it's a highly respected university that hadn't been involved in tech standards. Had identity had that kind of champion-ship it might not be the mess it is today.
Instead, when Microsoft started moving behind the scenes in 1997, it was also busy losing the trust of the tech industry, the government, and probably to some extent, the public, by attacking Netscape and the Web. When we tell the history of this chapter of computing history, the costs of Microsoft's aggression will be seen to be very high, not just for them, but for all of us. Now we're stuck, we don't have a leader to turn to to settle the mess of identity.
Yesterday while driving in Arizona, I tripped across a very short clip of an Adam Curry podcast that I wished every person who was interested in podcasting could hear, yet I am sure that only a very small number have actually heard it.
Adam was doing a podcast while driving in Holland. He's talking about how podcasting today is like college radio, everbody, when a guy pulls up next to him and flashes his iPod. They roll down their windows, have a brief conversation, in Dutch. I won't spoil the fun in case you haven't heard it, it seems that day the good lord was godcasting, and Adam and Raymond were just channeling.
Friday, December 24, 2004
Today's pics: Boulder Dam -- Kingman -- Sedona,
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
5:30PM: Arrived in Sedona.
Today's drive took me through Kingman, Arizona. For some reason Kingman has magic significance for me. In 1967 we took a family trip through the southwest, including a stop in Kingman. Today, driving into the run-down historic section of Kingman I instantly realized what was magic. For a twelve-year-old city kid, a big old-fashioned locomotive with a caboose is pretty magic stuff. My brother and I climbed all over it. My father sent a pic of the two of us, in 1967, posing in front of the train.
A real 21st century train in Kingman on Route 66.
Today's drive: Las Vegas to Sedona.
Thanks Susan, it's an honor to be one of your favorite blogs of 2004.
Bart Simpson: ""This is the time of year when people of all faiths get together to worship Jesus."
Scott Rosenberg of Salon traces an incredible statement crediting Slate with inventing the hyperlink and weblogs. To add a little fuel to the speculation, while Mickey Kaus is a thoughtful and nice person, to be sure, (and Slate's premier blogger) he did ask me if there were blogs before his, because people in his 'sphere often credit him with being first.
Speaking of wrong things, expect a spate of articles about the arrogance of bloggers, now that the PowerLine guy is getting interviewed on radio saying that people who get paid to write aren't so smart.
My buddy and wing-man is in Amsterdam, sucking down content from a big pipe.
Here's a movie I shot while recording yesterday's podcast while the Beatles were singing Revolution.
Personalization is the key to the future of search, according to the BBC. Here's a simple way to do it. Tell Google -- "This is my weblog" or "this weblog reflects my interests." Now when you do a search, they give extra weight to links from that site. I'm not sure if this would be great, but I'd love to give it a try.
Scoble, thousands of independent developers worked for free at the same time this Apple guy worked for free. Some very cool software. That was one of the big problems with being a developer at that time, people thought all the cool software came from Apple. Guess they still do.
After the weblogs.com hosting debacle surfaced yet again by people trying to reignite the flames, I decided to try to discuss it again with David Weinberger, whose comments in the middle of the flamefest are widely cited as evidence of how I didn't do all I should have done to notify people with blogs on weblogs.com. I know David to be a thoughtful, careful and considerate person. And to this day well-intentioned people question my integrity over these events. That's not cool for a person such as myself who values his integrity.
We reviewed the options that people suggested at the time, 1. Send an email, or 2. Post something on Scripting News. Neither would have worked, the mail addresses were four years old and probably didn't work, most of the sites never got past the Hello World stage (so the authors might not remember creating the site, and certainly don't care), and most people with free sites weren't and probably still aren't Scripting News readers, any more than most Blogger users were Evhead readers.
Posting something on Scripting News wouldn't have notified the users, but it sure would have notified the flamers. I think they were saying that they were complaining that they weren't told in advance that it was time to rip me a new one.
Anyway, he posted a correction, so next time this comes up, as it is sure to, the flamers won't be able to use him to support their attacks. Thanks!
"Christmas stinks. I am not one that suffers that holiday depression thing, but the pressure got to me last night and I broke down, cried for about 5 minutes.
"Then I saw your essay this morning, what a relief. You didn't say you hate Christmas but it was a relief to be reminded that someone else out there does not love it. I finished my shopping and it wasn't so bad."
Glad I could help. It's true, I don't hate Christmas as much as I resent having such a large chunk of my life taken for a cause I have no stake in.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Google weblog: "If you impugn the artistic integrity of the guy who draws the Google doodles, you can expect a very direct and very public smackdown."
Major pilot error in today's podcast. I had to hit pause when I accidentally entered the town of Tonopah about 80 miles sooner than I thought. Then when I resumed my travels, I hit Resume, or so I thought. But all you hear is me breathing. No talk, no music. What did you miss? A redneck Bush voter tailgaiting me. A description of the new software I'm going to work on. I guess that'll have to wait. I left my coffee on the roof of the car. Not at all sure how I fucked up so bad! Wow. I need a producer. Seriously. Or a big red button. Yeah. More coffee? That too.
Today's song: "I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari..."
A Google Answer about "wheat, rice and wine." Excellent informative answer, it's not wheat and rice that Lowell George is singing about, it's weed (marijuana) and whites (uppers).
Hey according to Blogcritics, Willin is one of the top all-time road songs.
Publicast sounds really cool.
Scoble asks where you find new podcasts.
John Battelle has an idea for advertising on the Internet. Here's an even more radical idea. Advertiser takes ad and puts it on his or her own website and waits for people to come read it. No one comes? Rewrite the ad. Still no one? Rewrite again. Eventually, if your product is any good, people will come, read it, buy your product, be happy customers, tell their friends, come back for more, etc. Think about how many commercial messages you seek out every day? Now you gotta wonder why advertisers are willing to pay good money to try to force a "message" on people who don't care. John's idea goes part of the way. Let's go all the way.
Pics from Nevada.
Amazingly, no one flamed me for the essay below. While driving today I kind of regretted posting it. I imagined people who would call me a Scrooge. Then I realized how unfair the whole idea of Scrooge is. Suppose you don't like Christmas. Well, now you have a super-negative image of what it means to not like Christmas. Okay, I got over it, but then realize that every Christian also has that super-negative image in their mind. And if that wasn't bad enough there's the image of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in It's A Wonderful Life talking about Mr Potter, who is the 1946 version of Scrooge. Well I've never said Bah Humbug without a big smile on my face and I love a good party, and now that I know you all still like me even if I don't like Christmas, well maybe that opens up the space to actually liking Christmas. Thanks for going with me on this little twisty trip through my mind.
All around the blogosphere are notes that they'll be back in a week or so when the calendar has rolled over. No such luck with Scripting News, where this time of year marks a ramp up of activity.
Sorry I don't do Christmas. There I said it. I don't like the holiday. Materially, I have everything I want. I have done Christian Christmas and Jewish Christmas. I've noticed that people who say they are experiencing the cheer of the holiday are tense, sometimes grouchy, and a lot of them are drunk. I'd be much happier if we could do some spontaneous carol-singing and ho ho ho'ing in January or May or September.
By moving around I've lessened the effect of the holiday on my existence; it used to be, when I was stationery, that a full two months of the year were spent in fake joy-ery. Now I've got it down to just a few days.
I have a programming project to do, and hiking in the canyons of northern Arizona, and great food. I want to lose some weight, get some color in my face, and surprise people who don't expect much innovation in 2005.
And while I don't like Christmas, I do like the secular New Year's. Instead of celebrating the birth of a martyr over 2000 years ago, let's raise a glass in remembrance of 2004, and in expectation of 2005.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Pics from Truckee.
A driving movie featuring a Starbucks double-shot espresso.
Derrick Oien: "MP3.com was always focused on the collection of data from every point we could collect it."
eWeek: "Spam clogs blogs."
AP: "For 29 years the brothers have kept their same-card exchange going."
I heard a rumor that Scoble was becoming an O'Reilly author.
One of the reasons I wanted to be in Washington on Election Day was so I could have a vote that mattered. I voted for the Democratic candidate for governor, who, in the latest count, is ahead by ten votes. If I hadn't voted maybe it would have been nine.
Nicco Mele: My first podcast.
On the road again today. Heading over the Bay Bridge for a breakfast in Berkeley, then over the Sierra to Reno, then south toward Las Vegas. I'll have Inkernet this evening, one way or the other.
I landed in Fernley, Nevada for the night. Good wifi. Believe it or not I got an email from a grouch that says he doesn't want me using the term Inkernet anymore. It takes all kinds to make the world go round.
Brrr. It's kinda cold here. Low tonight 11F!
Four years ago: "I've loved quite a few shicksas."
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Brief list of Scripting News podcasts. I had a bit of time to play today, so I wrote a script that lists the podcasts on Scripting News going back thru 2003. I want to produce an OPML version of this too.
WGBH report on Adam Curry and podcasting.
There's a Technorati user's group meeting tonight.
Washington Post: "The Washington Post Co said today it is buying Slate."
Slate: "Today the Washington Post Co announces that it is buying Slate from Microsoft Corporation."
For your holiday enjoyment: 12 Days of Podcasting.
Wired: "The operators of Suprnova.org apologize to the service's users and quietly pulls the plug. The shutdown follows hot on the heels of Hollywood's legal moves against BitTorrent tracker servers."
Ed Foster: "When Baker walked into that CompUSA almost two years ago, there was basically no way for her to see the Windows XP or Norton AntiVirus EULA before she put her money down."
Speaking of Skype, I wonder if they know how central they've become in the podcasting world? One feature to die for, a way to record a call to an MP3. I'd be happy to meet with people from the company. Are they in Silicon Valley?
Disclaimer: These are my thoughts, not spec text.
This question comes up from time to time, and I've resisted answering it directly, thinking that anyone who really read the spec would come to the conclusion that RSS allows zero or one enclosures per item, and no more. The same is true for all other sub-elements of item, except category, where multiple elements are explicitly allowed. The spec refers to "the enclosure" in the singular. Regardless, some people persist in thinking that you may have more than one enclosure per item.
Okay, let's play it out. So if I have more than one enclosure per item, how do I specify the publication date for each enclosure? How do I specify the title, author, a link to comments, a description perhaps, or a guid? The people who want multiple enclosures suggest schemes that are so complicated that they're reduced to hand-waving before they get to the spec, which I would love to read, if it could be written. Some times some things are just too hard to do. This is one of them.
And there's a reason why it's too hard. Because you're throwing out the value of RSS and then trying to figure out how to bring it back. There's no need for items any more, so you might as well get rid of them. At the top level of channel would be a series of enclosures, and then underneath each enclosure, all the meta-data. Voila, problem solved. Only what have you actually solved? You've just re-created RSS, but instead of calling the main elements "item" we now call them "enclosure".
Sometimes linear thinking leads you to a dead-end, and this is one of those times, imho. You end up in a torus, there's no wall that says "you may go no further" but somehow you keep going in circles, chasing your tail, re-inventing RSS, when there's absolutely no need to.
So people ask how will we fit show notes into RSS? Maybe we won't. When you get into show notes, think outlines, and think about linking MP3s into outline structures. I think this has more potential. I could be wrong of course (not joking).
Monday, December 20, 2004
I've only been in SF for a few hours and I already have an interesting rumor to spread. It turns out the nextgen iPod will hook up to satellite radio, for podcasting-like features, out of the box, from Apple. The rumor has it that this pod will be announced at MacWorld Expo, next month. Maybe it'll be called the xPod?
The official BloggerCon audio streams are available from Stanford. We're going to have to convert these to MP3 of course.
11:53AM: Checking email in Redding Starbucks.
The story of Podcasting in a nutshell: "There's the reason why a radio neophyte like me can bust down walls in radio, and a software dabbler like Adam can get tired of waiting for developers to party with him and go ahead and do his own thing (and invent a new category of software in doing so). That's the story of podcasting."
News.Com: "Downhill Battle, a file-sharing activist group from Worcester, Mass., has launched an Internet campaign to send lumps of coal to the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America."
So much for high-speed Inkernet. I tried downloading today's DSC, no luck. 8K per sec. I'd be here till tomorrow. BTW, curse you Dawn. Not only have you reprogrammed my use of "Internet" but now every time I look at a chair I wonder if it's all assy. Somehow I got through 49+ years without that concept.
Everyone's giving Scoble shit over his latest letter to Bill Gates. I think it was Robert Heinlein who said you should pay attention when everyone is screaming at or about one person. Usually that person has a pretty good idea. Most ordinary people want everything to stay constant. Scoble is a revolutionary. That's why I like him.
Simon Waldman on Jon Udell's latest on RSS.
Reminder: Late last night I posted a podcast, first in a while.
Infoworld: Security hole found in Google desktop search.
Adam continues to explore OPML programming.
Steve Garfield sent a pointer to a Boston Globe article that credits me for writing the first iPodder. I suppose there's a way to twist it up so that's true, but not really. The irony is that Adam, who is 15 percent programmer, and 85 percent podcaster wrote the first iPodder. "Users and developers party together." The press is going for the humdrum hohum story (as usual) when there's something much more exciting actually happening. It's our job to continue to capture this, if not to convey it. We've got the means to tell the real story now, so it doesn't bother me so much that they routinely make up the facts to suit their idea of what should be true.
Which reminds me. Several people sent me the full text of the Time articles about blogging for the Person of the Year issue. The gist of it is, now that bloggers have taken down Dan Rather, they respect bloggers. As Nero Wolfe used to say: Pfui. Would you respect the telephone only when it had been used to take down a reporter? It's just like those silly Wolf Blitzer interviews where he repeatedly asks the same dumb question hoping to get someone to trip up and admit that they changed their mind or that their shit actually smells pretty bad. It's just like the way they deleted Howard Dean's campaign because he got enthusiastic at a campaign rally. Come on you guys are imposters, admit it.
John Robb asks a question that's been on my mind too. At some point Microsoft is going to re-staff the IE team in response to Firefox. When they do it, how will they explain the seven years during which they invested nothing in the user experience of the browser?
Robert Scoble asks Bill Gates if they can do a portable music player that's better than the iPod. Yes, of course they can. The iPod is the best player today, but it's user interface is still totally klunky. It's impossible to use while driving, in fact it's impossible to use while walking. If I want to play something else it's a multi-step error-prone process. There has to be a better way. BTW, Phillip Torrone (Engadget) and I sketched out a design for an iPod, not sure if he's published it yet.
Sunday, December 19, 2004
I'm on the road again and lovin it. Ideas flowing, there's a new Travelin Dave Morning Coffee Notes podcast for your listening pleasure.
8/1/00: "Find me an inspiring musician who loves using and creating for the Internet. That's someone I want to work with. That could be our messiah, the Beatles of the new medium."
Time's person of the year is George W Bush.
Apple's Steve Jobs was chosen a Person Who Mattered.
BBC: Apple sues to stop product leaks.
Adam had a weird OPML dream.
NY Times: "The success of the web browser Firefox has shown that open-source software can move from back-office obscurity to your home, and to your parents', too."
Wired News, 6/23/04: "What was decried as the death of a blog universe when Dave Winer shut down free blog host Weblogs.com turned out to be little more than a four-day server outage surrounded by a heck of a flame war."
A few comments on the times we live in. Kofi Annan is immersed in a scandal about skimming in the Oil For Food program. We learn that this isn't news, the scandal has been brewing for months, if not years. Then we see Annan meeting with Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Before the Oil For Food eruption, Annan was skeptical about our presence in Iraq. How much you want to bet Annan now gets to work on the elections. Is he on board? Let's keep our eyes open.
Next comment. The red states have superior morals to the blue states, or so we hear. They go to church, they're evangelists, born again. Even though there are actually churches in the big cities (like Boston for example) they seem to hold the high ground. They have wholesome lives. Their kids finish school and live in good neighborhoods and have great kids who are evangelists and born again, etc etc. Yeah, except when they murder a stranger to forcefully remove a fetus from her womb while she's dying, and then claim it as her own. She's a good church-going Christian, her neighbors say, how could she do such a thing? Maybe it's time for all of us to relax a bit on who's superior, and realize we're Americans, all of us, and take the good with the not so good, and work together to solve some problems. I could just imagine Jerry Falwell on TV if that horrible thing had happened in Los Angeles or Dallas or St Louis.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
CBC/Radio Canada has 23 new RSS feeds.
New header graphic, mountains in British Columbia.
I just gave $100 to Downhill Battle to send indie CDs to radio stations. These are wonderful idealistic young people doing great work for a good cause. They deserve our support.
On September 5 I wrote: "Sadly, I seem to be running out of continent, again." Well, there's a way to fix that bug -- turn around and go back! Which is what I will start doing tomorrow or Monday morning, depending on how I feel. My cold is fading, praise Murphy, the antibiotics really worked. Dave Jacobs is recovering in SF, so I want to go visit him. We're having a weeklong business planning meeting in Miami on January 3. All this leads to the inevitable conclusion, it's time to hit the road! Yehi. I'm glad to do it. I love the feeling of the road opening up in front of me. My only regret is that I can't drive all the way around the world. Having hit the west coast in September, in December I'm bouncing off, going south, then east, to adventures unknown. Where will I land this time? Well I'd guess New York City, but I'm not totally sure. I want to spend Christmas in Sedona, Arizona. Maybe that's as far as I'm really planning?
BBC Radio gives podcasting a try, with great success.
Speaking of great successes, we're working on rolling up all the great Adam Curry sites into one easy to edit, easy to access weblog. We're most of the way there. People seem to be pretty happy with the performance (that was the idea). Next thing to work on is the design.
Mary H is on a roll, she now says the word Beta when applied to software is so overused and inconsistently used as to be useless. "Blaming users for misunderstanding the definition of beta seems unrealistic," she says.
Mary Hodder on user-developer relations.
Wired News is hiring an editor-in-chief.
Jay Rosen on the blogging of Greensboro, NC.
Here's a little vignette, a cautionary tale, how even the most cautious of Frontier programmers can get caught in a web of entangled names and end up with breakage.
On this day in 2001, a great pic of a dumpster. You can be sure it will show up on Scripting News again. Dumpsters are cool.
Tim Langeman sends a picture of a pristine clean-as-a-whistle dumpster. It's also cool, in a pristine sort of way.
Friday, December 17, 2004
12 new feeds from the US Dept of State.
Sometime in the last few days Yahoo announced that they were working on a new RSS 2.0 namespace that relates, somehow, to their (new?) media search capability. There's a spec and a mail list. I received no advance notice of the work, although it appears that others did. There were some substantial errors in the initial draft that will be corrected soon, according to posts from Yahoo people on the mail list. It's good that they're doing their work in a namespace, as mandated by the RSS 2.0 roadmap. I'm not sure of the purpose, but am watching the mail list. Is it a good idea? No one knows. It doesn't look like the advance from podcasting that they claim it is, but it's really hard to tell.
Sorry I missed this excellent February 12 rant that explains why users don't like being held hostage by tech companies. Read the whole thing. It's eloquent, angry and concise. I think what's changing, slowly, is that the tools now exist for users to express themselves, and they're starting to do that, about us, about how they don't like our attempts to control them.
Five years ago: "Taking it personally would be predictable, but it almost certainly would be a fantasy. I'm sure it has nothing to do with me. The sweating man behind the counter is just having a rough day."
Jason Calcanis is looking for a podcast producer.
A friend of mine, I don't want to say who, is in bypass surgery right now, as I write this. If his experience is anything like mine was, the last few hours were like being on death row, but by now the sedatives have taken over, and he's under, and oblivious to it all. He'll reconnect with reality in a few hours in a strange dark place, and find a tiny ray of thought, an image, then a concept, then hear a voice, it gets louder, eyes flicker, there's another person here. When you wake up you can't speak because there's a tube down your throat, but you can signal with your hands, and they yank the tube out and start feeding you ice cubes and pain killers. After a few hours of this, it's time for breakfast, but get this, you have to get out of bed to eat it, and you do. This is the first step down a long road to recovery. It's risky surgery, but I think my friend will make it. I pray that he makes it. We have so much still to do, together.
Lots of comments in response to Mary Hodder's post about problems with NetNewsWire. Most of them say Mary is wrong. In her defense, she tried to use the software for what it was designed to do. Hard to see how that makes her wrong.
An interesting true story about BloggerCon. With users outnumbering vendors ten to one, I spotted two vendors going off to talk, with each other. It was an incredible environment for learning, vendors learning about the people who use and love their products. But it takes courage to listen, to really listen. When these conferences accomplish something, that's what is accomplished -- listening.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
NASA has a podcast. Bing!
Mary Hodder tells a tale of an app that tossed her data.
NPR: "After a search of his checked bags last year at the San Francisco Airport resulted in misdeameanor drug charges, activist John Perry Barlow has fought in court to have the evidence thrown out, arguing it was seized in an illegal and unnecessary search."
Very quietly all the Berkman bloggers got the ability to do podcasts. There's a new entry box for the URL of an enclosure on the page where you enter/edit an item. If an item has an enclosure, as the server is generating the RSS, it does an HTTP HEAD request to determine the length and content-type, and automatically builds the enclosure. I expect interesting and perhaps great things to come from this because Berkman has lots of radio projects scattered around, and podcasting is designed to bring them together. That was one of the reasons why we had the mini-seminar on podcasting at Berkman a couple of days ago.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has an RSS feed.
Chris Pirillo has moved to Seattle, and says the skies are clear. Hey let's go for some Vietnamese noodles Chris and talk about RSS.
Checking in from Boston's Logan Airport, waiting to return to Seattle. Saw two movies today, Ray and Huckabees. Liked Ray, loved the Bees. I understand that the latter got mixed reviews, makes sense. I really enjoyed it. Now the wifi in Logan takes forever to set up and it's costing me $8 for one hour of access (I could use it for 24 but then I'd have to stay in Boston, at the airport, which is kind of silly).
Thanks to antibiotics and sleep, my voice is making a strong recovery.
Wired reports that Hollywood is going after BitTorrent tracker sites.
I've gotten lots of email on the trusting Google story below, and I'll write more about it in the coming days, I'm sure. Trust and software companies is a big deal, if the companies understood before trust became their major issue they probably would have done things differently. Microsoft, the dominant tech company in Seattle, where I now live (at least for the next few days), deals with this. They would be much further along, imho, had they not been so incredibly aggressive with their competitors, catching small developers and their users in the crossfire. When it came time to promote Passport as a universal identity system for the Internet, there was no trust left, and it flopped. Too bad, because at that time we desperately needed a universal identity system. They needed one too.
Now, Microsoft being Microsoft they didn't give up, and Passport has tens of millions of identities anyway (to use MSN you need one), but every day we all pay for the lack of a standard. For example, a few minutes ago when I bought an hour of Wifi here at Logan I got yet another new identity. That's so ridiculous, such a waste of time, and so dangerous.
Google still largely has the trust needed to make things like bringing academic libraries on the Internet work, and that's a good thing. They might even have enough trust to make a universal identity system work where Microsoft couldn't. But they can't if they aren't serious about trust. All it takes is one major mistake to make it melt down. And once it's gone it doesn't come back.
More mature industries understand this much better than the tech industry. Remember how Johnson & Johnson withdrew Tylenol from the market when their product was being sabotaged. In the end their recall probably didn't save any lives, but there's little doubt that because of the scare, the product would have died. By quickly taking it off the shelves, visibly showing concern for their users, at a huge cost to the company, they earned our trust, and the brand came back big. You never see tech companies with that kind of vision, that kind of understanding of their relationship to the user, or to be plain, that kind of caring for people.
Another thing that undermines trust in Microsoft is the increasing problem of spyware. It seems they don't feel responsible for their users, and in a legal sense, they probably aren't. But letting it fester is kind of like Major League Baseball letting the steroids issue fester. It poisons the environment in which they sell their product. (If you're not a baseball fan, you might want to watch this one. Of all the crises MLB has had to deal with, this is going to be the most devastating.)
Spyware matters to Microsoft much more than they seem to understand because it matters to all their users, every one who uses the Internet. You get the sense that Microsoft wishes we didn't use the Internet, that at some point we'll come to our senses and ask them to design a new safe network. Of course that's my fantasy, I don't really have any idea what they're thinking. That's part of the problem too.
Comments on Scott Rosenberg's piece about Google and the university libraries. (Note: I agree with Scott's conclusions.)
I've finally had a chance to catch up on the coverage, and most analyses omit an important fact. News coverage starts out with one story, but by the third or fourth paragraph zeroes in on the much smaller reality. The libraries are only providing material that is not subject to copyright. Makes sense, because if it has a copyright it isn't theirs to provide. This means that a huge chunk of material is not going online, our recent history, the 20th and 21st centuries.
Another angle, is this really a private deal just for Google? A lot of the coverage implies that it is. I just can't believe that the universities granted Google exclusivity on their collections, even if they are paying for digitizing it. (According to Google it's not exclusive.)
Third, everyone says that Google is trustworthy at least for now. I've heard it said on The Gillmor Gang episode about storing our data on the net. Google is storing our data, and they guess it's all right because they aren't evil. Rosenberg says we trust them with our history, with our eyes open, because the non-evil people running Google today won't be running it tomorrow. This is the big issue raised by every extension of Google's role into our lives, and it's one that has never been adequately addressed, imho.
Okay, first a disclaimer, Google very generously supported my last conference, and they've said privately that they will undo the evil stuff they did in the past, but they haven't done it yet, and they didn't buy my silence, nor should they want to. But Google took some cheap shots at a technology that wasn't doing them any harm, for no apparent reason other than arrogance. This is exactly the kind of stuff you want to watch out for, from high tech giants we want to trust.
Now people will say they don't understand the issues, and of course they knew you wouldn't understand them, and who's to say you will understand the issues in the future. I've had exactly this kind conversation with Scott, never reached resolution. But if trust is an issue, and someone who has your trust says there's an issue, I think you ought to factor that in.
Net-net, Google has become such an important company that their public statement of ethics needs to be more than three cute words, and they need to have a systematic way of handling and responding to challenges. If they won't do this, I don't see how we can keep extending our trust of them.
Another way of looking at it: What if Microsoft were doing what Google is doing? Of course we wouldn't let them do it without a very serious and probably very shrill examination. Well, I'm telling you, Google today is as dangerous as Microsoft, and I wouldn't bet on their trustworthyness, not without a lot more light having been shed on this. The technology industry is built on a foundation of arrogance and disdain for users. Google is too. You may not have seen it yet, but I have.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Bryan Bell on the white-on-orange XML icon. Perfect illustration of the Principle Of Good Enough.
At the movies yesterday, they had ads from television on before the previews. Actual TV ads. And when I went to the bathroom, on the wall above the urinals, ads for Immodium, a diarrhea medicine, asking if the explosions in here are louder than the ones in the auditorium. I kid you not. Then this on Engadget, a portable toilet with its own jet engine. Now I've seen everything, I'm comin to join you Lizbeth.
I'm at Berkman talking about podcasting, and we did a demo, singing Kenny Rogers' famous tune The Gambler.
Public Radio Exchange podcast feed.
BBC: Microsoft takes on desktop search.
Scoble has lots of links about the MSN Toolbar. Sorry I missed all the MS and Google news yesterday. I slept 15 hours, went to coffee with a new friend, went to a movie with an old friend, and slept some more. This is part of the recovery process, I'm getting better. I wasn't sleeping well before, all the coughing kept me up. It's great that the blogosphere has so many facets, so if I can't get you the news on a given day because of illness, there are others to pick up the slack. This morning I feel even better. Giving a seminar shortly at Berkman and then having a lunch at WGBH to talk about podcasting, then another movie. Busy, but fun stuff.
Speaking of fun, I've now participated in three full-out BloggerCon-style unconferences. One of the things that isn't on the FAQ is that it helps to have a song, and every time we've had one, sometimes two. And when we're lucky we have The Accordion Guy, Joey deVilla, to lead us in song. Now I always forget how serious he is about his accordion, but to the rest of us, when the accordion comes out we laugh, because it's time to have fun! So at the end of our discussion on Saturday (pre-arranged) I asked Joey to come to the front of the room and lead us in song. I had no idea what we would sing. The song he chose is still in my head. "You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run. You don't count your money, when you're sittin at the table, there'll be time enough for countin when the dealin's done." Anyway, good work Joe!
Monday, December 13, 2004
I'm doing a fellows breakfast on podcasting at Berkman tomorrow, 10:30AM to noon. Open to all.
I've hacked my Manila to support enclosures, so people can do podcasts with Manila. For people who really know what they're doing, here's the source code for the three parts of manila.root I had to modify. It's probably safer to ask UserLand to incorporate this code, or something equivalent, into their next release than to install it yourself because it might get wiped out in a future update from UserLand (I have updates turned off on my servers). For the user, there's a new field on the page you enter and/or edit an item on, where you enter the URL of the enclosure. It automatically generates the enclosure element in the RSS feed. Nothing more to it.
I can't look at this picture without cracking up in uncontrollable laughter. With my chest cold, it really hurts to laugh so much.
Can you download this file?
Mary Jo speculates on today's announcements from Microsoft.
John Palfrey summarizes the I&S conference, with pointers to blog posts from people participating. One story so far untold, with me (crammed into) the back seat of Betsy Campbell's BMW, with Craig Newmark in the front seat. I say to Craig: "I'll tell some friends I rode in a car with Craig, and they won't believe me." He said something like
Ian Landsman also blogged the trip in Betsy's BMW.
The subject of flames came up at Andrew Orlowski's session at the I&S conference on Saturday. Had Andrew been willing to let me have the floor for a minute or so, here's roughly what I would have said about utopianism and flames, from my point of view.
I used to be the target of virtually incessant flames. There weren't many people leading them, and in the end it apparently depended on one person to keep them going, and now that he has sworn off the Internet, thankfully, while isolated flames still happen occasionally, they don't seem to take root any longer.
It's important to note, however, that the flames were not a lone person's act, it was a mob, people who attacked me apparently only because they saw others doing it. Without the mob, they aren't so brave.
I'll never forget what it felt like to be at the center of so much hate, to have so few stand up for me, I will never forget the people who who turned so ugly as a form of recreation.
The worst were people who used the hate to advance their careers. Now that it has dissipated, it's fascinating to watch them scramble. Not a good thing to stake a career on.
Anyway when people say I'm an Internet idealist or utopian, it's true, because I still think it's a force for good, in balance. That good must be pretty good because the ugly side of the Internet sure is ugly.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Scoble reminds that something new from Microsoft will be announced tomorrow. "Come back on Monday."
Ed Cone: "We shouldn't confuse the power of personal publishing with a get-rich-quick scheme, or forget why we started blogging in the first place. This thing will happen if a few people get paid, or a lot of people, or nobody. That's one measure of its real value. And that's the real local news.Ē
Two Mac developers flirt with shipping an outliner but in the end, just in time to avert disaster, regain their sanity. I'm not so sane. Sometime pretty soon (praise Murphy) we'll ship an open source (GPL) outliner that knows OPML and the Web very well. For Mac and Windows. It won't care about working with Blogger or Movable Type. This is how we escape the APIs quagmire. No working group. Just a bunch of calls. They will work. They won't feel elegant to the architecture astronauts. They will threaten us. We will be scared. We will shiver with fear. We will quake in our boots. But we'll get over it.
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Newsweek: The Alpha Bloggers.
This evening after the party I went out for tea with the Blog Torrent people. I had just met them this morning, and we instantly hit it off. I realized why as we were walking to the coffee place. They're so young, so enthusiastic, idealistic, bright, irreverent, curious, committed, wacky, you can tell they love hanging out with each other, and it's a lot of fun hanging out with them. They're software people who totally care about users, and are doing new things that people can really relate to. This, by the way, is the philosophy so beautifully expressed in Douglas Coupland's masterpiece, Microserfs. The concept of application software as a worthwhile end, the wierdness of nerd culture, the concept of 1.0.
Okay, today was much better than yesterday. The sessions were full, the participants enthusiastic. Seemed like almost everyone was involved, having a good time. The format works.
A few people commented on my characterization of Scott H's presentation yesterday as an "ad." I suppose I should explain. Like Jeff Jarvis, I've been spoiled. I had participated in two unconferences before today, now three. I'm not accustomed to a vendor standing up and talking without challenge, about his own product, in glowing terms of course, for more than the amount of time it takes the discussion leader to ask him to stop. When I see that happen, to me it's an ad. I suppose I could have said nothing, but as the saying goes, you gotta break some eggs to make an omelette.
Party tonight. Party tonight? Party tonight!
A podcast of the discussion I led this morning.
Dowbrigade reports that Bennington College is doing away with public nudity on campus.
There's an IRC channel for this conference. I'm on it.
Dog listening to podcasts.
Today's grid. I'm sitting in Andrew Orlowski's session. He says that we haven't managed to get away from flames in the blogosphere. So I wonder if he thinks we've gotten away from flames from columns in the Register.
I switched over to Rebecca and EthanZ's session on International Blogging. They get the discussion model, and as a result it's moving quickly with lots of good ideas, and bright eyes. When it works, people don't create speeches in their heads waiting for the microphone. A guy had his hand up waving, Ethan asks "is this on topic?" the guy says yes, gets the mike, says what he has to say, and on to the next person. This is the BloggerCon format. In hindsight, Andrew should not have lead off, he should have had a chance to sit in on a session to see how dynamic this format is.
Today's voice demo. Still not healthy, but better.
Newsweek: "Bernard Kerik may have a nanny problem. But is that the only reason heís bowed out of the Homeland Security job?"
Friday, December 10, 2004
EthanZ summarizes Hoder's talk about blogging in Iran.
I talked briefly with Dan Gillmor today about his new citizen journalism "seed" project. I wondered who he was working with. He didn't say. I suppose he could be doing it on his own, but somehow... I don't think so. Then I noticed he was sitting to the right of venture capitalist Joi Ito during the sessions this afternoon and thought Hmmm, I wonder. Sitting to Ito's left was Google VP Andrew McLoughlin. Maybe his money is coming from a big Silicon Valley company? We'll find out pretty soon, says Dan.
This afternoon's first session was another ad! This time for Meetup.Com. I don't even want to know if they're a sponsor. I kept thinking if a reasonable moderator were here we'd ask if Meetup was the only example of this kind of stuff. Robert Putnam had some interesting things to say after the Meetup pitch. He talks about the 20th Century in different terms than I do, but observes the same phenomenon. Before the 20th Century we made our own entertainment, we entertained each other. Creativity was distributed. Along comes TV, radio, phonographs, CDs, mass produced print, and all of a sudden only the very best and most commercial of us are allowed to create. Now we're flipping back, because we can do mass distribution of micro-produced content. To the surprise and perhaps chagrin of the people on the last panel of the morning, this will flip around the equation in both business and politics. Demand will now tell supply what to make, instead of supply convincing demand to buy what they've created. Big big diff.
Ole Eichhorn via email: "You guys already know this, but itís a point worth emphasizing; one of the really cool things about the whole RSS mechanism is how efficient it is. Yesterday my DSL went down and my whole network is on dial back-up for the moment. (Using an Apple Airport Extreme hub as the dial-up gateway, which is slow but way better than nothing, very cool, which is a different story.) Anyway while on dial back-up Iím really appreciating the asynchronous nature of RSS retrieval. And it doubly reinforces how much better it is to get 'entire content' in RSS feeds as opposed to simply teaser text."
Wow, it's been a whole year since I've used the term "wiener boys." Now there's a piece of data your life wouldn't have been complete without.
This whole panel-audience thing is so tired. There are say 200 people in the audience, and five people on the panel. This format focuses all the attention on the five. But the ideas in the room are among all 205 people who are here. Day 2 flips that all around, we hope.
We're an hour into the current panel. The moderator says he's "awed." Sorry to disagree. I'm "bored." Zzzzzz. Now something interesting. Esther asked why there are two cops in the room. Britt shouts out "Bad actors." Then Rebecca tells me there have been death threats against one of the speakers. Who? Hoder.
I'm at the conference now, at 11:08AM. I have wifi access. Right now we're listening to an ad from one of the sponsors. He's telling us over and over in so many ways how successful eBay is. Boring. And kind of humiliating. Now Esther Dyson is speaking. She's on the board of meetup.com and was chairman of ICANN. "One learns more from mistakes." Craig Newmark is the last to speak. Can't wait till he goes. Micah Sifry, Britt Blaser and David Weinberger are in the row in front of me. Rebecca MacKinnon to the left. Keyboards clacking everywhere. Which is funny because the sign on the staircase says there's no wireless Inkernet access. Debora Spar from HBS is speaking. She says the Internet hasn't turned things upside-down in business, so it probably didn't do it in politics either.
I'm not there yet (slept in, I'm a sick boy). Tim Jarrett who is at the conf, reports there is no wifi. Bzzzzt. How did that happen? It seems that Tim's MAC address is okay because he was at the first BloggerCon. I'm hoping mine will be okay because I'm a former officer of the university. First I have to stop off at CVS and get some throat lozenges and oscillococcinum.
Christian Science Monitor: Podcast your world.
Geek News says iPodders aren't smart about using disk space.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Dan Gillmor is leaving the Merc for a citizen journalism venture.
Financial Times report on Yahoo's desktop search tool.
It's a good thing I'm done talking for the night. I have almost no voice left.
Had dinner tonight with Trippi and Zack Rosen. I think we're all becoming friends. Trippi said he wants me to help him get a podcast together. Of course I said yes. We had a very interesting political discussion, not the kind of thing you hear on the cable networks. The goal is to get that onto your iPod in time for your Tuesday walk in the woods. Make sense?
I'm in the Joe Trippi discussion at KSG now. Jay Rosen is speaking. Every time someone says Internet, my mind substitutes Inkernet. Curse you Dawn Miceli!
Looking around the room it's like an all-star squad of east coast Inkernet punditry. Jeff Jarvis, David Weinberger, Chris Lydon, Jay Rosen, Rebecca MacKinnon, John Palfrey, Britt Blaser, etc etc etc. It's nice to be in this nest again. Lots of Berkman faces scattered through the room. I've been gone long enough to miss the place.
I don't usually read the Wall Street Journal, but today I did, on the flight from Seattle to Boston. There was a great op-ed piece written by David Gelertner, a computer science professor, on the IBM sale of their PC product line to the Chinese company. He said something that needed to be said. There's still a lot more work needed to do on PCs. Today's computers work like shit. I'm constantly fighting spyware and can't control what information is on what computer. Sure, we've made a lot of progress, but in some ways we're moving backwards. He said he's sure that these problems will be solved, but now he's pretty sure it won't be by an American company. If not IBM, who will do it?
The Register upgrades its RSS feeds.
Here's the Trade Secrets podcast I promised yesterday where we explain where Adam and I see podcasting going. Since it's a travel day (flying to Boston for the I&S conference) there won't be much to read here, so I'm asking for forty minutes of your time today to listen to this cast. I don't think you'll regret it. We're at a moment when this new activity is starting to make sense in a broader way, and the next set of problems are evident. The problems are industry-size, that is, it will take an industry to solve them. Hope you enjoy the story!
Seattle Times RSS feeds.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Well tonight's West Wing was a tad bit more interesting than recent ones. Alan Alda is kind of interesting. It's still a shadow of it's former self. And in the teaser for next week, they ask "Did we mention the asteroid?" Oh mama. It's really gotten trashy. That's not necessarily bad.
NY Times: Libraries Reach Out, Online.
Weather in Cambridge. Warm, then cooler. Snow next week.
My flight tomorrow gets in at 5:05PM (assuming all goes well) and the opening session of the I&S conference starts at 6PM at the Kennedy School. Seems likely I'll get there in time for part of the discussion.
I just saw an item on CNN that Spokane has wifi covering its downtown.
Jon Stewart was on Larry King tonight. He was awesome. If anyone knows where the BitTorrent is, please send me a link.
CNN: Invasion of the podcasting people?
Waiting for Adam to call, I drifted into the story of Dave Jacobs and his Die-Young Disease and how this week he got his reprieve.
Adam discovered that his phone can record conversations to MP3.
I'm thinking about products these days.
Lance Knobel: "If you were looking for the perfect news story to illustrate the enormous shifts in our world, the purchase of IBM's PC division by Chinese Lenovo is it."
David Berlind at ZDNet wrote a reasonable piece about variability in RSS feeds. In many cases feeds work differently because the content they represent is different. Some feeds have titles, some don't. Some use links for items, others use guids.
I'd like to correct one thing in Berlind's story. He says Scripting News doesn't use titles, but that's not always true. I can use titles, for longer essay-like pieces that actually have them. To illustrate, I gave this item a title, which you'll see in the HTML as the text to the left of the blue arrow, and in the RSS, using the title element.
Thanks to Berlind for not saying that RDF or Atom cures this, because it isn't a disease, and other ways of doing the same thing don't solve many problems.
One more correction (see how in these longer items I can write multiple paragraphs in one item), the aggregator I showed him is part of UserLand's Manila blogging tool, which is one of the most under-appreciated tools out there, and one of the first, as well. It was five years old at the beginning of this month.
Another comment (this post just keeps going!) -- it's really not so difficult to come up with a decent representation for a RSS item, it's more on the order of giving a good haircut than doing abdominal surgery. The amount of technical skill required is probably about the same as that required to be a barber. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this. Our economy is increasingly based on these vexing beasts (computers), it's good if they're easy to use, but not surprising that it requires some education and commitment to be able to create easy to use software.
One more thing. My style of blogging has something to do with the tool I use, which is an outliner. Here's a quick screen shot of this post in the outliner.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
USA Today: "IBM said Tuesday that it would sell its PC business to Lenovo, China's No 1 PC maker, in a $1.75 billion deal."
NY Times: "Under Lenovo's ownership, the IBM personal computer business will continue to be based in the United States and run by its current management team."
Rogers Cadenhead on Bush's ridiculous military jacket.
Edward Dale explains the Slowly Spoken German News RSS Feed.
I had coffee today with a bunch of people from the Seattle Times website. Turns out they have RSS feeds. I'm going to find out where they are and spread the word. They also have content they can turn into a podcast.
It makes me even sicker than I am to think about the lying President we re-elected. In his speech to Marines today at Camp Pendleton he restates the lie that the war in Iraq is part of the "war on terror."
A very short Morning Coffee Notes to illustrate how sick my voice is, and my mind. I suppose I should put some kind of warning on this. Not suitable for minds over a certain age.
According to NPR, a group of game programmers have filed a lawsuit against their employers citing extreme job stress and health problems.
There isn't an original idea in this 800-word piece about blogging in the Harvard Crimson. And to think that trees actually died so they could publish that piece. Oh the humanity!
David Gilbert, a professor at Marymount Manhattan College, writes: "Our Art Mobs team is using mobile text messaging and podcasting to allow people to experience art in a new way. Along with the Department of Art and the mobile arts organization YellowArrow, we are hosting a gallery event on Wednesday, December 8 (tomorrow), here in Manhattan to showcase our technologies."
The geek at Geek News wrote a soliloqy about spyware.
Seven years ago today: "On Canada Appreciation Day we look to the north, and thank the better half of North America for putting up with our self-centered approach for so long. We ask them how we could do better. And we listen! We try to imagine what life would be like without Canada, and be glad that we don't have to find out."
Monday, December 06, 2004
Don't forget there's a party in Cambridge on Saturday.
John Palfrey: "Over 400 people have registered to attend the Internet & Society conference."
"thinkusaalignright"Watching the news tonight, the obvious conclusion: invading Iraq was the most insane thing this country has ever done. Meanwhile the press still call the opposition an "insurgency" but it's looking more like a civil war. The election was our last chance to get out of this with our pride intact. Now we have a failed president, still spinning a disaster, trying to preserve some kind of legacy. Americans are still dying, we're going deeper into debt, and Iraq is sinking further into chaos. We worked against this President's re-election for a reason, and that reason hasn't gone away.
On Thursday, I'll be in Cambridge, where it's snowing.
John Battelle: "Or am I missing something?" Perhaps. Human beings who work for Google decide which sites are included in Google News. It's not the bias of the people who wrote the software that drives GN as much as the bias of the sites they consider important. The search engine doesn't need human help to figure out which sites are authoritative, why does GN? In any case their claim that GN is solely algorithmic is simply not true.
I've written about this countless times in the last couple of years.
Steve Gillmor is opening the Gillmor Gang up to comments before they record their weekly episode. Here's an example, soliciting comments on the 20th anniversary of Iris Associates, the company that created Lotus Notes. If you have something to say about that, post on Steve's weblog.
Mary Jo reports that Jeopardy king Ken Jennings will be a spokesmodel for Microsoft. Now that they're into blogging, maybe Microsoft could have a word with Sony about Kottke. Just a thought.
Adam Curry: "I'm getting happier."
Wired: "Not all web surfers think spyware is a problem."
Jeremy Zawodny, who works at Yahoo, discusses how their centralized directory works.
I've gotten a couple of emails asking what the Inkernet is. It's what Dawn Miceli says at the end of every Dawn & Drew podcast. Kind of dumb, but it's catchy. I caught Adam saying it a couple of days ago. Then I found myself saying it. So what the heck, right? I also got an email from a Republican, a little on the abusive side. To the Republicans, I preach bending over backwards to try to understand why you're so pissed off. But that doesn't mean we turned into a bunch of pussies. We're Gun-totin Liberals!
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Heard on the Inkernet: "The election is over, the talking is done. My side has lost, and your side has won. Now let's all pull together, let bitterness pass. I'll hug your elephant. You kiss my ass."
Chris Pirillo: "You know the idea of syndication is hitting the mainstream when pseudo-geeks can rattle off an acronym without batting an eyelash."
BBC: "Musicians are embracing the internet as a way of reaching new fans and selling more music, a survey has found."
Charlene Li (Forrester Research) reviews MSN Spaces.
Scoble: "Yesterday had a wonderful Channel 9 interview with another Microsoft team too. Oh, this is gonna be a fun one. I can't talk about it, but they are working very hard to make sure that Santa has a little gift for all of you that you'll like. I hope they get it done, I was very suprised at it. Speechless, actually."
This being the audio Christmas, I recorded one of my favorite short stories as a child, The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. It's a story about love and sacrifice, it's a funny story, but a simple one that children can understand. If you have a child nearby, let me tell them a story, along with you.
Adam outlines his bandwidth predicament in Guilford.
Red Herring: "Sony forces one blogger to take down the audio spoiler of this yearís Jeopardy season, while letting The Washington Post and a Georgia television station off the hook."
Heather, in marketing, at Microsoft: "I just feel a little bit like the bumble-bee girl in the video trying to find my bumble-bee peeps."
On this day in 2001, the story of Nurse, the most amazing cat.
Speaking of amazing cats, I spoke with Dave Jacobs yesterday. He had his kidney transplant on Friday. He sounded weak, but there was a quality to his voice, a certain health, that I don't think I had ever heard before. He was up, out of bed already, sitting in a chair. He said he couldn't believe how hard it was to get there. They don't let you lie around after surgery because that's how you get pneumonia. When I had my heart surgery two years ago, they got me out of bed the very next morning to eat my breakfast. No breakfast in bed for this pup. Anyway, I hardly know what to think about Dave. I've known for over ten years that this day was coming. For quite a while it seemed it never would. That's the amazing thing about life, it's a wild ride, you just can't tell what's coming next.
Lisa Rein is getting ready to podcast.
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Hey I just signed up for a free serivce called K7 that gives you a phone number where you can leave me a voicemail, which it sends to me via email. I've wanted this for some time. I just recorded a message myself. You can send me a message by calling 206-338-3143. Nothing to it.
New photos of prisoner abuse in Iraq. "An Associated Press reporter found more than 40 of the pictures among hundreds in an album posted on a commercial photo-sharing Web site."
Five of the photos on the San Diego Union-Tribune website. Check out the comments from readers below each picture.
Scoble's writing a book on blogs, on a blog, with Shel Israel.
EthanZ needs help with a name for the last 4.8 billion people on earth.
The feedmesh group at Yahoo is working on a distributed system for weblog pinging. It wasn't started in a very nice way, but now they seem to have turned the corner. If you're interested in pinging systems like weblogs.com, check it out. At some point we're going to need a distributed system, and this may be a good way to get there. I monitor the list through its RSS feed.
And thanks for all the interest in helping with the weblogs.com rewrite. I got over a hundred emails from qualified developers. That's totally amazing, and totally appreciated. We were able to fix the existing system, so we can now easily handle the flow of pings (there was an unobvious performance bug). If you want to participate, I recommend joining the group, above.
Friday, December 03, 2004
Consider that none of the professional reporters, in hundreds of articles about blogging, predicted the importance of bloggers before they became important. Now that it's happened, they're still writing superior, dismissive pieces about people writing in their pajamas. One wonders when just one of them will write the story the other way. "Pros fearful of a future when they have to compete with amateurs on a level playing field." Except it's not the future anymore.
Must-read insider's story telling how Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone made it on the airwaves in 1965. "... the DJ was very polite when asked if he would kindly play the acetate during a free moment."
Bob Dylan: Like a Rolling Stone.
For the Harvard I&S conference: "Tip O'Neil said all politics is local -- it seems Tom Daschle would agree..."
2600.com is "now making available an RSS feed for our readers' convenience. It contains the headlines for articles posted to our website, and in addition can be used to automate downloading of our radio programs Off the Hook and Off the Wall." Bing!
Bob Wyman of PubSub.com has a test ping server.
Scott Rosenberg's remembrance of the IBM PC.
Newsweek: Tivo for your iPod.
Wired: "Survivalists live off the grid, but Hodder hates being without it -- even for a few minutes. She's more of an interface grrl."
Michael Hall is looking for advice on programming languages.
ESPN: "Bonds wasn't the only player of his time to get much bigger physically during his career."
Photoblogs: Roll Your Own RSS.
Patrick Mann: "I'm a security tester on the IE team."
I was hoping that my partner in podcast, Adam Curry, would be back on the air today, but apparently it's not going to happen any time soon. British Telecom says they have no more ports, that someone has to leave before he can get one, and there's a wait list. Of course we're all really disappointed, not just Adam, he's part of an international community.
Up in the middle of the night coughing like a fool, I was just about to chug some cough syrup, then I heard this on KOMO News. "A medical study shows sugar water works just as well as many common cough syrups when it comes to suppressing nighttime coughing."
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Jim Moore reviews MSN Spaces.
It's worth noting that in the last three weeks we've gotten some remarkable support from Microsoft. First, Halo 2 shipped with RSS 2.0 support. Who thought of RSS for games? It wasn't even on our radar. Then yesterday MSN Spaces, a blogging system, shipped with RSS 2.0 support. And the third bit was pinging weblogs.com. Now I'm sure we'll be able to turn the corner for two reasons. First, we got a huge response from serious developers, and several credible projects started today, in a variety of environments. Since eventually this will have to be a distributed system, like DNS, it's important to have a variety of compatible implementations. Second, Andre and I did a back and forth on this over a few hours. Andre used to be responsible for the kernel at UserLand years ago, and now is back in the loop after the Frontier open source release. He asked me some questions, I sent him the source, we put in some diagnostics, tested a theory and boom, all of a sudden the server is performing beautifully. We still have the scaling issue but we got some breathing room today. Anyway, thanks to Microsoft for trusting us and using our formats and protocols.
eWeek explains Steve Wozniak's new product/company.
Kottke: "My legal difficulties with Sony about the whole Ken Jennings thing have yet to be resolved."
I've been getting lots of mail about the programming project described below. My challenge will be to try to organize the energy to actually create the needed software. People ask if C# or Java would be okay, and the answer is, of course. I basically meant "compiled code" as opposed to interpreted code. Static instead of dynamic. We have to cut to the metal. I also need to write up a spec that explains what the software does. Anyway, let's give it a couple of days to gestate. In the meantime you might start writing code.
Frank Rich: "And so network news still counts. The idea, largely but not exclusively fomented by the right, that TV news might somehow soon be supplanted by blogging as a mass medium may remain a populist fantasy until Americans are able to receive blogs by iPod. (At which point they become talk radio.)"
Dare Obasanjo, who works at Microsoft on the Spaces project, considers blogging APIs. Here's what I would like to see them do. Support the Blogger API with Metaweblog extensions over HTTPS as Dare describes, and then carefully and slowly introduce APIs to cover the other parts of the functionality, with feedback from tools developers as you go. No overarching ocean-boiling, just boring, repetitive, dumb but easy to understand XML-RPC interfaces. You can support SOAP too, but XML-RPC comes first. It's the equivalent of RSS in the APIs space.
BTW, totally by coincidence, today the President of Nigeria is visiting the White House. I saw him speak on CNN. His last name is Obasanjo. Which makes me wonder if Dare is related to the President or if Obasanjo is like Smith or Jones in Nigeria. (Postscript: He is the President's son.)
Which reminds me of another story. In college we had a guest teacher from Germany. After class I asked some questions, and then I asked if he had ever heard of my great-uncle, Arno Schmidt. My experience had been that a lot of people from Germany knew who he was, especially well-educated ones. This guy was German and had a PhD. So I asked. He said Schmidt is a very common name in Germany, like Smith in the US. There you have it.
A speculative piece on synthesizing guids for podcasts.
Adam Curry: "Praying to Murphy in the UK."
BBC: Blog picked as word of the year. Slow news day.
Scoble: "Why isn't MSN Spaces good enough for me?"
NY Times: Web Sites Satisfy Late-Night Campus Snack Attacks.
With Typepad, MSN Spaces and Blogger and a gazillion other blogs pinging weblogs.com, the server, which is written in scripts, has met its match. It's needed a rewrite in C for some time, now it really needs a rewrite.
I've been trying to get help with this privately, I personally don't have the requisite skills to write the code. If this were 1994, and I had Think C (a development environment I was expert in) the project would take a couple of days. Today, in a modern environment with even deeper libraries, it might take even less time.
I'd be happiest if this could be done as an open source project, the lots-of-eyeballs thing is particularly suited to this kind of project. It has to scale well, obviously, from Day One. No time to ramp up.
I have a full modern server to host this application, with no other apps running on the machine. Right now it's running Windows 2000, but we could switch over to any other operating system.
What I don't want: Offers from companies to buy weblogs.com. It's important that this resource stay independent. The only reason companies would want to pay so much for this service is if they planned to take it private.
Anyway, please send me an email if you're a skilled C programmer who would like to work on a such a project to help out the weblogs community.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
You're invited to the Scripting News Christmas party on Saturday December 11, 7PM-9PM, at the Hong Kong restaurant in Cambridge. Berkman Center is hosting the party, it's also on the closing night of their great I&S conference, which I'm participating in. There will be room for about 100 people, and we can do dinner after, probably at the Bombay Club on Harvard Square (where else?). Man it makes me happy to think about coming back to Cambridge in December. If you're going to be there, or just thinking about it, please post a note here.
Today's podcast is pitiful. My poor voice. Laryngitis hits Uncle Bumba. The subject of the cast is "Users and developers party together."
Dare Obasanjo: MSN Spaces Launched. Yet another blogging tool from a $300 billion software behemoth. In all seriousness, it's good to have Microsoft challenge Google in centralized blogging tools. Unlike search, this is an area where Microsoft's version 1 is good enough to win users of Google's offering, and Microsoft products aren't feature-complete until version 3. I have not used the product myself, but I will as soon as I can.
Microsoft's RSS 2.0 support is well thought-out and complete. Here's an example of a feed produced by MSN Spaces.
Post comments or questions here, please.
Scoble has a list of five Microsoft people with MSN blogs.
He has video of the Spaces team talking about the product.
And a video of a product demo.
Okay, another ethical question. I got two emails at exactly the same time, the first came from an individual employee, Mr G, at a company named, for the sake of argument, MacroHard. This email was in response to a question I sent to him earlier today, because I was pretty sure the project he was working on was about to "go live" and I wanted to get briefed on it before-hand. My email didn't say any of this, I just said "How's XXX doing?" where XXX is the name of the project. Now get this: his email had a link to a post on his weblog, where he refers to the project as being live, and points to the draft press release. Okay, sounds like it's ready to go. But the next email says otherwise. Very clearly it says the project is ready to go, but the press release won't run until 9PM Pacific, tonight, and we can't write about it before then. Obviously the individual, Mr G, didn't get this message, or he wouldn't have sent me the URL to the press release without conditions. Bzzzt. I just got a call from the PR guy. The AP broke the embargo, that's why Mr G pulled the trigger. The product is MSN Spaces. See the links above.
James Tobin, a Bush campaign aide was indicted for interfering with Democrat get-out-the-vote efforts in 2002.
Mark Glaser: The Media Company I Want to Work For.
David Brown wrote up our FrontierKernelDev dinner last night in Bellevue.
NPR: "What happens when high-speed Internet users are forced to revert to dial-up?"
NY Times: "Thefacebook.com, a Web site that began 10 months ago with five Harvard students and is now the most popular way to either network or waste time for a million college students at around 300 colleges, from Yale to the University of the Pacific."
Australian IT: "Together they nutted out a way to use RSS to send audio files rather than text."
Okay here's an ethical dilemma. Privately, a blogger says, in a phone coversation "Boy that product sucks. I don't know why anyone would use it. I hate it. Totally." Then a couple of months later the same blogger says, in public "Hey that's great stuff. I use it all the time. It creams the competition." Now it could be nothing more than the blogger changed his mind, but it could also be that the blogger is being less than truthful. What to do? Should I out him? Raise the question? In public -- or privately?
Mary Jo: "Microsoft's MSN division is expected to take the wraps off its MSN Spaces blogging service this week."
Nicco Mele and Mary Hodder will be co-hosts of the discussion I'll lead at the I&S conf. Nicco, who did his first podcast, unknowing, by leaving a voicemail for me, is in Rome this week and posting about it on his blog. Mary is hosting a dinner in Berkeley for Doc Searls on Thursday.
8 years ago: "It was a tingly first-love-like experience."
I honestly really don't know why I blog.
When I started blogging it was mostly to get a bunch of stuff off my plate, ideas I couldn't do anything with, things I wanted even if I couldn't create them myself. I hoped other people would read this stuff and someone would create what I wanted, and therefore increase happiness. Over the years I learned that this very rarely happens. People really want to come up with the ideas, even more than they want to be successful.
Once I started blogging it got addictive. So the most direct answer would be "I blog because I am addicted to blogging."
I also like the idea that I can have a dinner with people I don't know in almost any city in the world.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.