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.
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