Monday, January 31, 2005
1967: "United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting."
The full article in PDF form.
Good/bad news -- this weblog crossed a bandwidth threshold in the last few weeks, it's now serving more than 10 megabits per second, which happened to be the limit of the server it's running on. Access gets flaky as it bounces off the limit, and for the last couple of hours its been pegged at the limit, making it largely inaccessible. I just upgraded the server, if you can read this it means we're back on the air. Later tonight I'm going to move things around again to make better usage of the servers, so there's sure to be another outage or two. Dig we must!
Wellesley College breaks ground, offering free blogs to all alumni. Harvard did this first, but doesn't make such a big deal about it.
TiVO releases a developer kit. Too late?
New header graphic.
Scoble's FAQ on rel="nofollow".
Dan Bricklin understands the role guilt plays in software. "Instead of making you feel bad for 'only' doing 99%, a well designed system makes you feel good for doing 1%."
MSN product manager: "If I want to meet with a products manager for Windows there needs to be three lawyers in the room."
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Henning: "Think twice about handing over your feed's URL to a service you don't have any control over."
Ottawa Citizen: "Without visiting all 37 million sites coughed up by Internet search engines, it is safe to assume that most blogs are not worth the cyberspace they occupy. The bulk are boring or offensive self-indulgences produced by those with axes to grind, prejudice to spew, porn to peddle or without the ability to get past the gatekeepers at newspapers, magazines, book publishers and edited online publications." Brrr.
Rogers Cadenhead adds podcast support to his pinger.
Michael Gartenberg writes a very rewarding post, even if he doesn't have an award to confer. Thanks. I remember our meeting too, I love a respectful discussion between people who disagree. Michael and I have very different politics, so what, at a deeper level there's a common belief that an opinion, well-stated, has value of its own.
One year ago, Diane Sawyer of ABC News, confessed that they had covered the Dean Scream wrongly. "We collected some other tapes from Dean's speech including one from a documentary filmmaker, tapes that do carry the sound of the crowd, not just the microphone he held on stage. We also asked the reporters who were there to help us replicate what they experienced in the room."
From their slide presentation: "He was shouting over the roaring crowd."
Watching the "coverage" of the Iraqi election a doubt crept into my mind. I wonder if these elections are of any consequence to people in Iraq. The reporters are mostly reporting from windows. When the anchorperson in the US asks for the mood in the capital, how do they know? Then I imagine the tables turned, Iraqi television stars on balconies in Washington. What's the mood in New York, Boston, Miami, Little Rock -- in San Francisco? How do the Americans feel about going to the mosque and praying on this high holy day? We're expecting a large turnout, why are so few coming to give thanks to Allah? Why do they keep asking us to leave America?
Reuters: "The US government, 40 states and territories, and outside groups from the National Football League to the Christian Coalition of America asked the Supreme Court on Monday to hold services like Grokster and Morpheus accountable for the millions of copyrighted files traded over their networks."
As bad as the weather was my first week in Boston, it's been absolutely beautiful (so far, knock wood, praise Murphy) in the second. Bright and sunny, in the 30s, you can walk outside without a hat. Not all the sidewalks are clear yet, the snow is still mostly white. Pretty nice compared to the blizzard and the frigid sub-zero temps we were having.
Saturday, January 29, 2005
Charlie Nesson asks about listening to podcasts in a car.
David Jacobs: "The accelerating momentum towards overturning the death penalty should be a huge story."
Fascinating audio report by a CNN reporter turned blogger.
I turned off the aggregator for the BloJouCre conference.
John Robb: "If we want to prevent the big vendors from using automated RSS subscription buttons as a customer acquisition vehicle, then we need a central repository."
Ed Cone: "Is Greensboro's blog revolution over-hyped?"
Seven years ago, a story about capital punishment.
Something I like, when a big company, who I want to support RSS, sends me questions regularly about RSS that not only tell me they understand it, but that they're pushing the limits, doing something cool, that maybe no one has done before.
Speaking of which, it's time once again to check my investment in Google board member, and Silicon Valley VC extrordinaire, John Doerr. Hey, we're doing pretty well, I have the number 3 hit. That could have been a "funding event" during the bubble!
AKMA writes about Technorati's tags.
I've seen the same thing. I have a very easy category routing system built-in to my blogging software. To route an item to a category, I just right-click and choose a category from a hierarchy of menus. I can't imagine that it could be easier. Yet I don't do it.
It's also very easy to add a new category, or to even reorganize my whole taxonomy. Never do those things either.
I have a theory that it's like desktop calendar software, which people were very excited about in 1985 or so (they called them Personal Information Managers or PIMs). Seemed like every new Mac software product had a calendar in it. John Sculley and Mitch Kapor were singing their praises. Users got all excited about them too, and set them up imagining how great it was going to be to finally have an orderly life. They happily entered appointments, until they spaced out or got lazy and didn't enter one. All it takes is one for the excitement to turn to guilt. You don't even want to look at the thing because you screwed up. Quickly you never use it. I've seen this happen both in my own work, and in others.
The category stuff works the same way. At first I delighted in the ease of routing stuff to categories. Eventually I would only route to one or two categories, and then I stopped altogether. Not because it wasn't easy enough, but because the guilt had taken over.
NY Times: "If every parent in the world has a blog, then maybe it really will be about the child rather than the parent," Ms Waldman said. "Because at that point the child is the only one who's going to read it."
BigPub fallacy #1 about blogs -- the main thing about a blog is how many people read it.
Friday, January 28, 2005
John Robb on the solution to The Yahoo Problem.
Phil Windley weighs in as well.
Dan Bricklin: "Within a few months, hopefully, I'll have 15Mb down/2Mb up for about $45/month."
Lance Knobel on Davos and its counterpart, un-Davos.
Scott Rosenberg: "But the ecosystem is flourishing now!"
HG Frankfurt: On Bullshit.
Jay McCarthy liked my line about not naming reporters until they start naming the bloggers they write about. Of course it was just a joke. It would be disrespectful to generalize about all reporters based on the work of just one or two.
The mail list for the BloJouCreCon continues to be active, as the reporters file their stories about the conference, many of them have the kinds of gross inaccuracies that bloggers have been talking about, and it's made for a fascinating discussion.
The reporters' defenses go up. One says: "I'm sure you wouldn't be accusing me of cherrypicking if I had slathered a conference moment in praise." Good show, in that one sentence he attacked the integrity of every person on the mail list. In fact, I have questioned reporters about articles that were generally positive. In that case, the response is "Boy this guy is something, we praise him and he wants more." In either case, he assumes that all we want is "good" press, we don't care about the facts.
Just because we come from a young medium, doesn't mean we're young. There are certain things you learn in life, and one of them is to accept criticism, and maybe learn from it. If you deflect all criticism, it's hard to know how your work is received by others.
Anyway here's an important idea you may not have heard before: The pros defend their own integrity, but by misrepresenting what we say, changing the order of things, they can make us appear to be something that we're not. Happens so often it can't be an accident. But it's not just their integrity that counts, ours counts too. The reporters only stand up for their own integrity, while assaulting ours. Well, maybe what's happening, maybe what bloggers are saying to the pros is that we got tired of that system.
Last night C-SPAN broadcast the WEF session with Clinton, Gates, Blair, Bono, Obasanjo, Mbeki, and I gotta say if I had been there I would have been bored out of my mind. I've been spoiled by un-conferences. I wouldn't have liked that I had to listen to all that boring BS before the "audience" got a chance to speak, and guess what -- they think they're on a panel too, and they give speeches as if they were. It's the preening of the idiocy, soundbites on stage. Makes for really shitty conference-going. 2000 was a very long time ago.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Fortune: "In the '80s ponytailed heartthrob Adam Curry broke ground as one of MTV's first veejays. Two decades later Curry, 40, has popped up at the intersection of blogs and radio."
Full MP3 of yesterday's interview at WGBH with Tony Kahn. Sorry the ID3 information hasn't been entered, there's a problem with iTunes, and I'm doing this from a Starbuck's. It's reasonably good stuff, probably not that new for Scripting News readers, but the quality is unprecedented. It was done in a sound studio at the radio station.
The day after the blizzard, I had lunch with Betsy Devine at Legal Seafood in Cambridge, by the Charles Hotel. We took pictures and movies. Here's Betsy dancing for the folks. And a movie of me saying funny haha.
During the Blizzard of 05 local news programs did what CNN and others did in the hurricanes last year, they sent reporters outside in the elements, telling people what it felt like to be exposed, in fear for their lives.
Rock stars on stage at Davos.
News.Com: "Norwegians might want to use a reality check before trusting directions from Microsoft's online MapPoint service."
BBC: "Voting is under way for the annual Bloggies which recognise the best blogs."
I see Derek Powazek is complaining again. Oy. You'd think for once he'd be happy, he got nominated for something really nice. I'd give my right nut to get nominated for Lifetime Achievement in weblogs. (Not really, but you get the idea.)
Anyway, I'd love to see the pointer to where I supposedly said he was brain-dead. If I said it, I apologize, that would be a really mean thing to say, and obviously not true. On the other hand, I probably said his design was brain-dead, which is an opinion, a way of saying it could stand a lot of improvement. I've done tons of brain-dead design myself, and lived to tell the story. And here are all the citations for Powazek on this blog. You can see there's a good mix of praise and criticism.
Hey man it's the 21st century. You're a star! Enjoy.
Remember when you were a kid and your mom used to say dorky things about how it didn't matter if other people liked you, because she liked you. You'd say "Oh mommmm, I know that."
Anyway, I don't get awards, but I wish I did. Given a chance I would certainly nominate this site for best technology in a weblog, if only for the cool Google-powered search, illustrated above in the post about Powazek. Did you know it uses the Google API in conjunction with the local content database to only give you the bits you're looking for. It's a big thing, and as far as I know, of all the millions of weblogs they're tracking at Technorati (thanks to weblogs.com, by the way), this is the only one that has such a cool search command.
Let's see, in addition to Best Technology in a Weblog, I would also give this site an award for Best Weblog, hands-down, and certainly put it in contention for Best Tech Weblog, and Best New Meme (podcasting).
The funny thing is, if you live long enough the dorky things that Mom used to say start meaning more.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
AP: "The managing editor of The New York Times threw down the gauntlet as she stared across a big O-shaped table at the prophets of blogging."
TechTV has a podcast.
Jack Shafer: "I'll send a US dollar to the first [blogger] who writes 'Shafer doesn't get it.'"
News.Com: Google blogger reappears, redacted.
Two years ago: "One of the sweetest things about life is that you can always learn, right up to the moment you die. And that's part of what's most enjoyable about being human. For some reason, if we can find the pure learning, it's a joyful thing, whether or not we ever get to use what we learn."
Steve Martin's letter to Johnny Carson.
Jay Rosen gathers insight from Big Wigs.
Lots of pointless comments in response to Sunday's editorial.
Arrrgh it's snowing again. The first time it was kind of fun. I had to cancel all my plans for doing stuff in Boston, but what the hell, it's been a year since I got snowed-in. Snow is nice to look at. Then two days later the streets are almost passable, even though it's hard to find a good place to walk, or park, okay, that's just how it goes. But now, after all that, it's snowing again, coming down hard, accumulating in serious amounts. I'm about to give up, but that's not so easy. Where do I go? Wahhhhh.
From the who-do-you-have-to-blow-to-get-some-respect department. According to a USA Today columnist, blogs are great, he loves blogs, but too bad they were invented in the 1700s by Thomas Paine or possibly even earlier. Couldn't we have paused, for a moment, between blogs-are-CB-radio or bloggers-have-no-ethics and who-cares-they're-not-new-anyway?
Mark Jen: "hi, my name is mark jen. i used to work for microsoft, and now i work for google. this is a blog of my personal experience as a new google employee." His site is now blank. Philipp Lenssen explains.
John Robb points out a fallacy that the press promotes.
When I first heard the accolades for Techorati's Tags, I immediately thought of ENT. I'm glad Paolo is rising to the competition. We should remember who the innovators are.
Nick Ciarelli: "Large publications and major newspapers frequently publish news scoops about Apple, but Apple has never sued any of them, and is instead attempting to silence a small online publication."
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Lance Knobel on blogging at Davos. I think we both knew, five years ago, there would come a day when the WEF would at least semi-embrace blogging. That's what their weblog is, I am told, only half an embrace. They're concerned with what a free blogger might say. Luckily when Lance and I did our blogging at Davos in Y2K, we were flying under the radar, and got some good stuff that might not pass the censors this year.
Accordion Guy: "Far be it for me to flog a dead meme." LOL!
KSG article on last week's conference.
Another reason to think twice before centralizing RSS.
Last year on this day: "You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant. You can get anything you want. At Alice's Restaurant. Walk right in it's around the back, just a half a mile from the railroad track. And you can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant."
Talking with Rogers Cadenhead last night, he told me that the SEO community is abuzz over the rel="nofollow" attribute. It's going to make a bunch of people some money, it turns out, due to a quirk in how Google page-rank works. Here's the deal. If a page on my site has 100 pointers, every pointer gives a certain amount of juice to the things it points at. However if the same page has only 3 pointers, then each pointer gives considerably more. Same if I change all but 3 of the 100 pointers to rel="nofollow" (or so the SEOers assume). Naturally they will change every pointer but the ones that point to their own pages to rel="nofollow". Certainly an unintended consequence, if that's actually the way the SEs work.
Tim Jarrett on driving the snow-clogged streets of Boston.
Jon Udell: "One of the ironies of desktop search may prove to be that, by the time it went mainstream, the personal hard drive was about to become an endangered species."
BBC: Google launches TV search service.
Dawn & Drew left a voicemail. Looks like I'll have to head west soon!
You too can leave me a message, or a song, at 206-338-3143.
Rick Heller documents an apparent new low in blogosphere politics.
Washington Post piece on Google's Tahoe ski trip.
Microsoft has some cheesy little Subscribe To Me Here buttons. Welcome to the RSS Wars ladies and gentlemen. No doubt Google is next. Users, you'll have to be satisfied with what the Big Three give you (considerably less than you were getting just two years ago). Developers, welcome to 3rd Party Land. Here's your trunk. Enjoy the ride.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Tonight's movie: Sideways. Loved it.
Accordion Guy: "I'm stickin' it to The Man!"
Tim Jarrett: "According to MSNBC, today, January 24, is 'statistically' the most depressing day of the year."
It's a really gorgeous day in Cambridge. Just took my morning walk, it was a little treacherous in spots where the snow digging hasn't been done yet, but it's bright and sunny, and after five minutes of walking it's warm and almost everyone is happy (at the center of Harvard Sq there was a homeless lady screaming at everything and everyone). At the end of my walk I stopped in at Finagle Bagel for some breakfast. Now I have a warm feeling from toasty greasy bagely food mixed with endorphins, and the optimism that comes from the day after being shut in for two days (albeit in a luxury hotel with great room service and two excellent football games, who am I to complain). This afternoon I move out to suburbia, just outside Route 128, and a whole other point of view.
Today in Seattle a business blogging conference, keynoted by 40-something Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble. It makes me so proud to see him spin like the best, I knew him when he was knee-high to a grasshopper. It's gotta be a good show with Scoble leading off. Looking forward to lots of blog posts and pics from the show.
David Berlind: Is Big Media getting the picture?
In December 2001, I posted a heads-up about a new version of OPML that would be documented soon, Murphy-willing. Well, here it is, January 2005, and it's fair to say that Murphy got involved. First, I got flamed for the heads-up, then I procrastinated, then our needs changed, then my health took a big fall and I left UserLand. I explain this in more detail on the heads-up page. Basically if you see an OPML 1.1 file, you should treat it like an OPML 1.0 file. Not much more to say at this point. Will there be an OPML 1.2? I have no plans at this time. I do plan to write some docs, and ship some new software that builds on OPML.
One of the most personal things you can say to someone is that they are taking something personally. Recently, someone said this to me. Inside my mind and emotions go into a swirl, what did I say, am I taking this personally (yes, of course, now that it's been made so personal) etc. There's no possible response other than silence (what are you going to say, no I'm not taking this personally, the asshole has no idea how you are taking it, no point arguing it with him). More thought. It's a Republican tactic! Remember how just before the DNC they said the Democrats are so negative, they made that the issue, and as a result the Dems didn't say very much that was negative (except Al Sharpton, bless him, who's not so dumb as to take the bait). Then the Republicans had the most negative convention and campaign in memory, they even dragged out Zell Miller to blast the Dems for having the gall to run against his beloved President. I bet they were howling over that at RNC headquarters. Anyway, the guy who played this little trick is a Democrat, and if he does it again, I'm going to out him.
A new BBC Radio podcast.
GM's not-so-hidden secret message: "This is the last time you will ever have to feel alone on our nation's roadways."
They got the answer by peeking into the Flash movie on the site, I guess the equiv of View Source on Flash. It wasn't solved by the blogosphere, as far as I know, and it wasn't solved by playing the game.
Now an editorial response. I think want to be alone on the nation's roadways. I think that's what I like about driving in the most remote parts of the country. I'll have to think about this next time I'm wandering, and that sure isn't today. I could have gotten snowed in anywhere, I suppose. (Maybe not Florida.)
Today I will venture out, like a lot of other people in the eastern and midwestern US. It's fair to say this storm has shaken me in some way.
Jay Rosen asked what we changed our minds about at the Blojoucrecon (this name is growing on me). I wrote a long essay, again, but wanted to make it about one thing that people might remember, and decided on this.
I learned that the op-ed page of the NY Times may someday have room for bloggers. For some reason, of all the things I heard, this gave me the most hope. It's been impossible to crack the hard shell of the Times on the editorial side (we've had considerable success with RSS, and their archive policy).
As Ed Cone points out, they still take cheap shots. This has been going on forever, with a few exceptions, here and there, and indicates fear, not reason.
How interesting that today William Safire, a Republican columnist for the Times, is retiring. It was a good move when they brought him on in 1973 to diversify the editorial face of the paper. Now if the Times could accept a Republican in 1973, it could certainly accept a blogger in 2005. Someone who operates a blog now, and has for some time, and (key point) continues to blog on his or her own terms while writing regularly for the Times. This would be a big door-opener between the cultures, and would accrue enormously to the benefit of the Times, and probably to the blogosphere (maybe not). But I would support it, assuming they chose a blogger with integrity, inteligence, an idealist who never moves inside the Beltway, whose feet stay firmly planted with the people.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Editorial about new syndication formats called RSS.
If I had one thing to put on the agenda of news professionals...
BBC: "US TV star Johnny Carson has died at the age of 79, after losing a battle with the respiratory disease emphysema."
5PM snow movie: The snow has stopped, the wind is still blowing it around, and the shoveling crew in the earlier movie has been replaced with a mechanical snow mover.
Dan Gillmor's trip home from Boston to San Francisco via San Diego and Los Angeles is almost done. "In other circumstances I'd be grumpy about this detour and overnight layover. Right now I'm feeling lucky."
Robert Scoble: Microsoft geek blogger. He's over the hill™.
Movie: Men shoveling snow. There's still a blizzard going on. Nice and warm in my hotel room. Doesn't look very nice out there!
Ed Cone, who was at the Blojoucrecon, tells the story of how he got home to Greensboro, while the entire east coast was under huge weather. At dinner last night, talking with Rebecca MacKinnon, Betsy Devine and Jenny Attiyeh (lucky Dave, three babes, one guy) about what we can take away from the conference, I said that we had our moments of civility, even affection, across the divide between the pros and the bloggers. But, I posited, the real accomplishment may be that now we better understand who we are, having had a chance to take the same side, even though we're so different. For example, I came to admire John Hinderaker, of Power Line, even though our politics are opposite. We have deeper values that bind us. Same with Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia guy. Again, we're opposites in the way we create text but we're both advocates for the same idea, people doing it for themselves. In this context, Ed's story seems slightly profound. A blogger, on arriving safely at home, feels compelled to tell the story. Since I care about his well-being, I'm happy to know that his travels ended safely. But I get a bonus, because his personal story makes the story of the blizzard more real, it's the human interest angle that TV strives for, but really doesn't deliver. Dave Weinberger nails it. In blogger-land, we don't work at being real because we are real, we never weren't real. That's the bond in common or so it seems to me.
BBC: "Blogs are giving departments, staff and students the freedom and informality of tone impossible in scholarly journals or even the student newspaper."
Saturday, January 22, 2005
At 4:30PM, the snow has started in Cambridge.
Scott Rosenberg on the BJCC. "I've made my choice."
The official song of the BlogJoCredCon as sung by yours truly, DW.
Blurry pictures from the closing session at BlogJoCredCon.
Mary Hodder is in NYC for Vloggercon, a conference about video blogging.
MTV piece on podcasting.
We're convening for Day Two of the BJC conference. What's new? Everyone's flight is being cancelled. Bad for them, but good for tonight's Geek Dinner at Bombay Club, 6:30PM.
Hoder says that the US is banning Internet for Iranians.
There was fireworks yesterday at the Blojocredcon (too many syllables), but not between Alex Jones and myself. We got along great. He said some truly kind things about blogs, and when we were seating for dinner, he waved me over and we spent an hour screaming at each other, in a friendly way, over the din in the room at the Harvard Faculty Club. I suggested that Shorenstein lead the way for the journalists and run an interesting weblog. He was concerned that blogs really would be co-opted by commercial interests. I share his concern.
Next time you're thinking of killing yourself, you might want to wait a few hours to see how it turns out.
Sometimes high-speed Internet ain't actually so high.
A few days before my trip to Cambridge, I got an email from Charlie Nesson, founder of Berkman Center, Harvard Law professor and philosopher. He's teaching a winter course on Evidence at the law school, and wanted to present me to his students at a session devoted to the trial of Socrates. Charlie has a notion that I am the modern embodiment of Socrates, a man who seeks truth by stirring things up. I did it, for the priviledge of hearing what Charlie would say. He gave the benediction at the first BloggerCon, and since then the conference has had a string of successes. So I walked over to Austin Hall from my hotel, in the early morning cold, entered the hall, facing a room full of laptop screens of all sizes. The room was darkened, they were watching a rap video. When it was over Charlie and I talked about weblogs and publishing, podcasting and the conference later in the day. It was very pleasant. At the end, as I was walking out of the room, with another segment of rap starting on the screen, I forgot to say the url of my weblog. "Www." I said, interrupted by the music. I'll finish it here. "Scripting.com."
Friday, January 21, 2005
News.Com: "Called Exeem, the software aims to merge the speedy downloads of BitTorrent with the powerful global search capabilities of Kazaa or eDonkey."
We just heard that Business Week has blogs. The editor says he needs traffic. Your wish is our command.
Rogers Cadenhead: "Sean Palmer and Christopher Schmidt have created a new XML site syndication format that has a root element, channel, and another element that make it incompatible with all existing formats."
Dan Gillmor: "This is oddly creepy."
Dan Bricklin on podcasting.
Here's the IRC channel for the conference.
The conference is going really slowly. All these speeches. We should watch some TV. We have a lot of bugs to fix. How about some breakout sessions to create some bug lists. Pros make a bug list for bloggers, bloggers make a list for pros.
Follow the bloggings of the webcreds.
Ed Cone is collecting an interesting series of essays for the conference. One mistake I've heard there, and several times on the conference mail list, is an assumption that blogs are all left or right. While, imho, all blogs are political, not all are about politics, and certainly not all about US politics. There are blogs by people from all kinds of places, geographic, intellectual and spiritual. This blog started about scripting (hence its title) and expanded to cover technology, and many other subjects. Yesterday on Zawodny's blog I commented that there is no "the" blogging community. So many people think they grok the wholeness of it, but are only looking at a small part. Blogs go everywhere the Web goes, which is, today, everywhere.
I think this weekend is about creating some experiences, and perhaps some new bonds. I've always been a proponent of Working Together, but before WT can happening, first must come listening. No doubt there will be a lot of saying at this conference. How much listening? I'm going to try, really hard, to do my part.
Scott Rosenberg reviews Bush's second inaugural speech.
Charles Cooper: "Yahoo agreed to control its discussion forums and rig the Chinese version of its search engine to prohibit certain hot-button search terms."
Kevin Schofield: "Descartes and Heisenberg walk into a bar and order drinks..."
I've resisted pointing at the young Come Hither Bill, thinking it wasn't appropriate for a dignified weblog such as Scripting News, but this one is too good, I can't resist.
Four years ago: "The patent hypers have no shortage of stories about lovely little guys with high ideals and strong principles."
Other than participating in discussions at the Webcred conference later today, I have one responsibility, to respond to Jay Rosen's paper about Blogging vs Journalism, and how it is over. I have between two and three minutes to do so. I have, unfortunately written a one-hour speech. Heh. Obviously there's a lot I want to say, but I can only say one thing. And this is it.
The battle between Journalism and Blogging is over -- but only from Jay Rosen's point of view, one which I am somewhat familiar with. As far as I'm concerned Jay was invented by Jeff Jarvis, who brought him to my first BloggerCon, where he stole the show. I've become an admirer of Jay's and a regular reader of his blog, and I feel I have some understanding of who he is.
In his book On Having No Head, Douglas Harding recounts an experiment with ten children that tells us much about the power of expectation. Arrange a group of ten children in a circle with their feet pointing in, touching, and ask one of the children: How many feet? The child counts, one, two, three, ... twenty. Now ask: How many heads? One, two, three, ... nine. It might be tempting to correct the child, but wait...
It's hard for the blogger, as it is for the reporter, to report that there are nine heads in the circle, but that's the story, and that's why you need a lot of reporters all looking at the story from their own point of view.
Now, for Jay, who is the chairman of the Journalism Department at New York University, a famous school headquartered in the publishing capital of the United States, his focus has to be on the umpteen thousand reporters employed in his hometown. Recently, they seem to have accepted blogs and bloggers, at least to a limited extent. I think that's what Jay is saying. I imagine that from Jay's point of view it not only appears that the animosity is over, but they will figure out everything that's good about blogs, as Jay has -- so the "versus" is now over.
That's what Jay's article says to me.
PS: I wrote about Harding's work in this DaveNet piece, in May 1997.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Pictures: Frozen Charles River and Harvard Square afternoon walk.
Tomorrow's conference will be webcast.
The smug Canadian has some smug thoughts about the rel="nofollow" attribute and how it's an upgrade for a central feature of the Web.
Just in time for a conference on ethics, I received two apparently real invitations for all-expense paid trips to Israel and Singapore, both places I'd love to go, no strings attached. At first I thought this must be a new kind of spam, but they really appear to be genuine. Amazing.
Matt Taibbi: "In the run-up to the war, every major daily and television network in the country parroted the White House's asinine WMD claims for months on end, all but throwing their panties on stage the instant Colin Powell showed what appeared to be a grainy aerial picture of a pick-up truck to the UN Security Council."
David Weinberger poses an interesting series of questions about news organizations that provide background info on their reporters. If you can offer examples, please post a comment.
A new security threat, "evil twin" wifi routers. Here's how it works. A criminal rides up and down in the elevator of an office building looking for unsecured wireless routers. When he finds one, he rents an office nearby for the sole purpose of installing a high-speed line, and a super-powerful wireless router. He names it the same as the open router he found. Now when people come into work their computers will discover the more powerful router, and the users, none the wiser, will do their unsecure transactions, entering passwords, account numbers, mother's maiden names, etc, none the wiser that a criminal is recording all this juicy data and selling it to identity thieves in Russia or Nigeria.
A geek dinner on Saturday in Cambridge. Not just for geeks.
An analysis of the state of blogging from MSNBC reporter, Jon Bonne, who will be at tomorrow's conference. His dismissive attitude is characteristic of the denial of people at big news organizations, and reminds me of what people at mainframe computer companies said about our cute little Apples in the early 80s. Hidden inside was a simple idea, that we can and would do for ourselves what they wouldn't do for us. He's right to call this Promethean. No, they haven't co-opted us. Wishful thinking Jon.
Jeff Sandquist tells the story of Bob the Duck.
Had a little time to kill yesterday so I went to a movie, The Phantom of the Opera. It got really shitty reviews, for good reason -- it's a really shitty movie -- that takes itself far too seriously. And they forgot to tell the actors to actually act. Song after song with no depth, no emotion, and hardly any lip movement. It's like a parody of a parody, like a Saturday Night Live imitation of a Japanese horror film. At least that would have been funny. If you're in NY and have some time to kill, and haven't seen Phantom yet, take a ride on the subway instead. It's more entertaining.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
If you're blogging the Harvard conference on journalism, blogging and credibility, we'd like to include your feed in the aggregator.
A new version of OmniOutliner for the Macintosh.
Scott Rosenberg: "I hate to think Web journalism will be reinventing its own wheels every few years."
For once Phil Ringnalda gets it, when the rest of the gear heads are still looking up their own butts for the answer to everything. Never has scratching your own itch been more the wrong thing to do. Aggregator developers wake up before you're a "third party" -- I actually heard an employee of one of the big three refer to you guys that way yesterday. Here we go, can anyone spell RSS Wars? Guess who loses.
BTW, the bigco's will whisper sweet nothings into the ears of their "third parties" but as they're doing it, you're being guided into the trunk of the car, while they ride up front. The clicking sound you hear is the lock engaging. The whooshing sound is the air supply being cut off.
We've got a Radio-style aggregator up and running for Friday's conference. It's still populating but already is somewhat interesting.
Question: If reporters for objective news organizations bring none of their own experience or bias, or personal opinions to the articles they write, then presumably given the same set of facts and the same amount of time, every reporter would write exactly the same story. Then why do news organizations generally put the name of authors on articles they publish? Isn't the name of the author irrelevant?
Scott Rosenberg: Blows against the spampire.
Rebecca MacKinnon's FAQ on the Webcred conference, now just two days away. Interesting to hear her perspective, every other participant has their own story of the road that led them to this discussion.
If you'll be in Cambridge on Saturday night please come to a geek dinner at Bombay Club, 6:30PM. Dress warmly, bring your ideas, bring a friend. It's open to all bloggers, and people participating in the conference.
In academia, to take someone else's work and put your own name on it is a very serious matter. However among professional reporters, it's common practice, and not much debated. One reporter writes a story one way, and then the same story, with the same spin, appears in every other paper.
Isn't it plagiarism when there's no original reporting, when the same mistakes appear in article after article, as if no reporting were actually done in any but the first? Shouldn't they acknowledge that they did this? Do they care that the experts in the area they're covering know that they're doing this?
If a story is to be written N times, aren't we, the public, entitled to N times the amount of vetting and fact-checking?
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Google: Preventing comment spam. Bravo!
My narrative of how this came to be, why it's important, including patches for Manila so it supports the new protocol.
To quickly see how it works, do a View Source on this page. The rel="nofollow" attributes on the anchor elements tell the search engine not to add to page rank for the pages pointed to. This also satisfies a long-time user feature request for a way to point to something without bumping the target's rank. Scoble spotted this first, and says he'll now point at things he otherwise wouldn't.
The cool thing about the anti-comment-spam initiative that's coming together is that it is a coming-together. For once the companies are working with each other to solve a problem for users. Yay! Now we need more of this and we need it in a more timely fashion. Remember when you're firing salvos at each other that there are users and developers around, inventing new stuff, and doing their work, and they're the reason you work so hard, not your competitors. Last time it got so bad that one company went out of business, the other got convicted of antitrust, and everyone got flushed in a stock market crash. Keep the focus on solving problems for customers, for real, don't just pay it lip service, and everything will work out well.
Today's song: "My name is MacNamara, I'm the leader of a band."
Seymour Hersh: "In my interviews, I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran."
Sitting in the kitchen talking with my father about Bush's plan to "save" Social Security. I ask hey what do you think? He wants to go even further, to cash in all his future Social Security payments, now, at a reasonable discount. "I'm guessing that would amount to about $200,000," he says. "Then I would take the money and invest it in Europe where it would be safe from the Bush shenanigans, like budgetary deficits. There are probably tens of thousands, if not millions, of people who want to do the same."
Interesting puzzle from GM. More or less approximates the route I took from west to east. I even saw one of the billboards, but I don't remember where or what the word was. I thought it was weird enough to remember it. Anyway, this is the kind of thing the blogosphere should be able to solve in short order.
Jay Rosen's paper for the Webcred conference. I have to read this carefully because I'm the first to
Just booked my hotels in Boston. I'll be staying in town after the conference, through the 27th. After that, I really don't know what's next. Maybe I should look for a job. Probably not. Heh. Anyway, I do want to spend a few weeks writing software, lots of ideas came from the meeting with EchoDitto last week, and I did promise to ship an open source outliner built from the Frontier codebase. Maybe some random place in rural New England, or maybe back to Florida. I have noticed that it is incredibly cold here.
I had a phone talk earlier today with John Palfrey at Berkman about the conference at Harvard on Friday and Saturday. As usual we see eye-to-eye on the goals, there will be some distractions for sure. I will try to see the discussion taking place broadly, on the Web, not just in the room. I don't expect to make converts of the professionals in the room, and I will try hard not to air past grievances. The goal is to gain a better understanding of what credibility means in journalism, now that both pros and amateurs are doing it. How can we all gain from the new competition.
Thursday is Not One Damn Dime Day in the USA.
Inside the new Airbus 380, unveiled yesterday in France.
Jon Udell interviewed Adam Bosworth on last week's Gillmor Gang which I heard yesterday driving north on the Jersey Turnpike. Adam talks about a distributed query system that, to me, sounds a lot like Gnutella.
FeedReader runs on the Pocket PC.
Paolo: "I have decided that vintage iPods are cool."
Speculation that Technorati and Feedster are fodder for Google, Microsoft or Yahoo. Yesterday I read that Six Apart, the makers of Movable Type, are destined to be aquired by Yahoo, since Microsoft and Google both have blogging tools.
TidBITS review of last week's MacWorld Expo in SF.
Frank Paynter finishes his review of people at the Harvard blogging conference with the letters T through Z.
Doc Searls: "Apple is the Microsoft of music."
Monday, January 17, 2005
NY weather: Low of 13. Colder tomorrow. Snow on Wednesday.
Are you running a local BloggerCon? If so, I can point a sub-domain of bloggercon.org to your conference site. You have to be running a non-commercial unconference devoted to blogging. Please this is not a way to make money or promote something other than blogging. Send me an email if you're interested.
Three years ago today: The credits page for Radio 8.
No layoffs at O'Reilly Books, says Tim O'Reilly on Chris Pirillo's blog.
OpenNet Initiative report on control of weblog content in China.
Today's drive was very weird, short and uneventful. I was cruising along, stopping frequently because of the short distance I had to cover, stopped at a rest area on the NJ Turnpike. I glanced at the state map on my way out and couldn't believe that the You Are Here sign was adjacent to Staten Island. I got out at the next exit, took the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, my last rest stop on the Seattle-Miami-New York marathon was on the Belt Parkway looking out on the Marine Parkway Bridge and Rockaway, across Sheepshead Bay. Naturally I took some photos.
Photos: Rest stop on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn.
There was a strange little building by the bay in Brooklyn.
Dowbrigade: "The big boys are looking over their shoulders."
Still no broadband at Curry Cottage. British Telecom is the problem.
Today's a driving day, again I've run out of country, and it's kind of sad. I'd like to be driving from Albuquerque to Amarillo, but instead I'm driving from DC to NY. Looking at the map to find an alternative, any alternative to Interstate 95, and there are some. I didn't realize how much the trip is an east-west thing, I always thought of NY as strictly north of DC. I could go north to Pennsylvania then east through northern New Jersey. Or east across the Chesapeake Bay and then north up Delaware to the Jersey shore to the Turnpike to NY.
In the end I'll probably just take 95 and the latest Gillmor Gang and some coffee. Four hours later I'll be singing the Little Feat song I always sing when driving into NYC. And then I'll turn on the radio and maybe Jonathan Schwartz will be there to greet me.
An op-ed piece that appeared in the LA Times in the heat of the 2004 campaign about bloggers written by Alex Jones, one of the moderators of the Harvard conference on blogging, journalism and credibility.
Having written this one-sided, misleading piece about blogging last year, it seems that Jones should be a presenter, not a moderator at a conference about blogging. Having him moderate is like having the chairman of one of the political parties as editor in chief of a major newsaper. In itself, his role raises issues of credibility. Who is the blogging equivalent of Jones who will moderate this conference? Will this turn out to be a conference controlled by pros, lecturing bloggers on their proper role? What are the chances of understanding coming out of this? Unity?
I strongly recommend that Harvard find someone who is more on the sidelines of the debate to moderate the conference.
BTW, here's how the blogosphere reacted to the Jones piece. It was quite controversial, but as a group we showed a lot more restraint than Jones, again an irony, given that he's the sizzler calling us the sizzle.
Also, we have generally used professional reporters as moderators at BloggerCon, with good results. It's never been our intention to get pros into a room to lecture them, we've always welcomed their participation, as equals.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Watch this space for an interesting announcement.
David Weinberger clarifies a point raised in yesterday's Trippi interview.
Chris Nolan: "This, my friends, is spin. It's positioning. It's politics."
My main message for the pros at next week's conference. If it weren't for the callous lack of credibility of the pros, there never would have been a need for blogs.
At the time I started blogging, the pros were reporting that there was no new Macintosh software. I would call these reporters and point out that there was lots of new Mac software, they were using it, they knew about it. They would respond by saying Everyone knows there's no new Mac software.
I don't think knew they were being dishonest, by then reporting wasn't about facts, it was about conventional wisdom. If CW said there was no new Mac software then the reporters would report that. This meant that competitors didn't actually have to win in the market, that's much harder, they just had to convince the reporters that they had. This leads to not only a very wrong place, but a dangerous one, because the reporters had come to have so much power. With no accountability, no way to vote them out of office, we were totally controlled by them. That's why blogging came about, as a counter-action to the corruption of the professional system.
Of course it's not just in software and technology that the pros are so dishonest, it's in everything. Even the mighty NY Times apologized for its coverage of the lead-up to the war in Iraq. I can't get out of my mind the coverage of the US taking of Baghdad. On MSNBC, a moment of gratitude, with a picture of President Bush on screen, with the huge word VISIONARY underneath.
This isn't the system that the advocates of the pros get teary-eyed over. The system they talk about doesn't exist, reporters don't do in-depth reporting, they don't have a passion for truth, they serve some other cause, a cynical and self-preserving one.
I'm doing a demo at corporate headquarters of EchoDitto. Literally 1/10 of the staff of the company is observing my demo. It's getting kind of crowded in here.
Harish says: "I love you Dave!"
Saturday, January 15, 2005
AP: "The 19-year-old publisher of a Web site facing a lawsuit over an article about a top-secret $499 Apple computer said Friday he can't afford to defend himself.'
CNBC report on RSS. Mostly about Yahoo.
WSJ: Dean Campaign Made Payments To Two Bloggers.
I spent the last day at Joe Trippi's farm on the Delmarva Peninsula in Maryland right on Chesapeake Bay. Had an excellent time. Lots of interesting people, discussions, it's like a very nice bed and breakfast, luxurious, friendly.
Last night's movie, driving to Trippi's house at sunset.
Rogers Cadenhead: "As an ethics expert, Zephyr blows."
A very brief interview with Trippi about the Kos controversy. The audio was really sucky, I couldn't find my good microphone, Trippi was on headset. We're going to do another podcast, with better audio (knock wood), next week when we'll both be in Boston for the Harvard conference on blogging, journalism and credibility.
Why Martin Schwimmer has asked Bloglines to remove his site.
Friday, January 14, 2005
Last night I got an email from someone I've been wanting to hear from for a long time. There's a problem on the Internet, a big one, that only one entity can solve. The email outlined the solution and asked what I thought of it, and asked me not to say what it is publicly. I can live with that. I just want to mark this moment. A milestone. Real cooperation. I immediately implemented the feature on one of my sites. The same message was sent to a bunch of other people by the same person. I hope they did the same. When this is announced users everywhere will smile.
Greg Gershman: "There is no way to get your subscriptions out of Yahoo and into another aggregator."
Predictably, my plan for solving The Yahoo Problem has spawned an avalanche of debate on the "right" way to do it, all of them rehashes of approaches that were debated extensively, in the past. The beauty of this process is that I only have to kick back and wait for them to run out of gas again (all require boiling the ocean, it's amazing how otherwise intelligent people just brush that aside) and then say "Okay, anyone want to solve the problem, I know how to do it." Engineers on the Internet believe anything can be solved on a mailing list or wiki, when experience totally indicates otherwise. BTW, while you're debating, Yahoo's lock-in strategy is still in place, and Microsoft is readying their counter-attack. Fiddling while Rome burns? Yup.
Michael Rogers: "The best new technologies insinuate themselves. And then you donít need to boil the ocean: you just need to make one good cup of soup." Amen.
I was going to point to the Technorati feature called Tags, but the docs made me uncomfortable. Who cares if they're friends with Flickr, Delicious, Typepad, etc. What does it mean for two products to be friends anyway? What happened to open protocols and level playing fields? Sometimes I think these people don't understand the Internet. Wouldn't it be refreshing if Technorati said "Here's how we work with products we hate." Wouldn't that be reassuring? Don't you wonder sometimes about the backroom deals? Don't tech companies have to work at preserving their integrity and credibility? My suggestion: We don't care if you're "friends" with other products, just tell us how you support open protocols and we'll figure out how to plug you in.
Had dinner with Nicco last night, he's a former Dean blogger, he has a software development company in suburban DC called EchoDitto, that helps Democrats get their online act together. I want to try to work something out here so they build on the open source release of Frontier. I think there's a lot of potential there.
Tonight Nicco and I are going to drive out to see Joe Trippi. I want to do a podcast with him, especially now that the story is breaking that Dean For America paid independent bloggers like Kos. We had the link here earlier this week, today it's in the Wall Street Journal. Perfect timing, with a conference coming up on blogging, journalism and credibility. In case you're wondering: It is a problem. Kos couldn't take the money without disclosing it, apparently he did, once, but that probably wasn't enough. Of course professional journalists often fail to disclose their conflicts, so this isn't a problem that's exclusive to bloggers.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
I was driving at sunrise this morning in southern South Carolina. It was foggy, the light was incredible. I had to stop and take some photos. The first one may be the most beautiful picture I've ever taken.
A quick movie, shot at the foggy sunrise location.
Adam Curry update: Still no broadband.
According to this eWeek article, Microsoft is getting a centralized RSS aggregator ready for testing.
Three years ago: "You probably aren't old enough to remember Madge."
I found a McDonald's in North Carolina off I-95 that has wifi. I recorded a second podcast for the day. Really feeling the magic pull of the north-eastern vector. Great weather, great vibe. Can't wait to get to DC! The Wayport user interface totally sucks. There's no way to buy more than two hours at a single location. So I bought two hours then used that connection to sign up for a month at $50. Once past their poor design, the service is quite fast. I'm lovin it.™
Susan, I'm not proposing a centralized directory, rather a single way to subscribe to feeds that's vendor-neutral. Yahoo is trying to be that, and if successful, lock all other vendors out. Since their aggregator is just one of many, and users are not served by lock-in (and other vendors aren't likely to let Yahoo own this without a big ugly fight), it's in all our interest to try to solve this, I think even Yahoo's because there are other vendors who are even bigger than they are, and I'm sure they wouldn't like it if they tried to muscle them out of the market.
Today's podcast is in preparation for next week's Harvard conference on blogging, journalism and credibility, I discuss integrity in the media, at much greater length than I will get a chance to at the conference.
Google is going "mini" too, according to this News.Com article. "The blue box, which plugs into a corporate intranet and searches up to 50,000 documents, will go on sale Thursday at Google.com for about $5,000."
The Triangle BloggerCon grows. February 12.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Today's walk was on the beach north of St Aug, south of Jax.
Goodbye Florida movie, crossing the inter-coastal at Jacksonville.
I'm resting for the night in South Carolina, on a vector for Washington, DC, where I will hang with Nicco Mele of EchoDitto and his friends over the weekend, and make a stop in Maryland to see Joe Trippi and hopefully do a bunch of podcasts; all on my way to NYC and then Boston. It's still warm tonight, in the mid-70s, but I'm expecting to be taking out the sweaters and long underwear any day now.
MSN Search supports RSS. This is very cool, and it's a differentiator for their search service because Google doesn't do it, nor does Yahoo, Jeeves, etc. It's also nice because they listened to us at the design review meeting late last year in Redmond. It was nearly unanimous among the bloggers that RSS support should be part of the search engine, both on the sending and receiving sides. Now one half has been taken care of. I'm sure this feature will gain wide use among bloggers. Very good.
Julian Bond sends a reminder that Yahoo Search also supports RSS output for queries. Sorry for not remembering.
Steven Cohen reports that the Seattle Public Library is using RSS to publish updates.
Morning Coffee Notes podcast for January 12, a commentary on the times we live in, or nothing at all, depending on how you look at it. A wisp of sound, a dash of color, a puff of smoke, a mountain of microcosms.
12/23/04: "I'd be much happier if we could do some spontaneous carol-singing and ho ho ho'ing in January or May or September."
On this day in 2002, Radio UserLand 8.0 shipped. "Inch by inch."
Wired: "A new application combining BitTorrent and RSS could make it easy for video fans to automatically locate files and download them to their computers."
The EFF is defending bloggers who reported on Apple's new products before they wanted them reported on.
I've gotten a few emails from vendors saying they're interested in working together to solve The Yahoo Problem that I outlined yesterday. Here's a place we can discuss the proposal, but please if you have a different approach, hold on to it, or better yet, read through the archive of various syndication mail lists to see if it's already been discussed. I'm sure the approach I outlined works. Now the question is does the community of vendors want to solve the problem? We'll find out soon enough.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
One of the cool things about Florida beaches is that you can drive on them. Today I drove from Crescent Beach to St Augustine Beach. I took a movie from the driver's perspective, while a bunch of seagulls were crusing me. It's not an excellent movie, maybe I'll do another tomorrow.
Press release: "Apple today announced it has teamed up with Mercedes-Benz USA, Volvo, Nissan, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari to deliver iPod integration with their car stereo systems in 2005."
News.Com: "Apple confirmed the upcoming release of a $499 computer aimed to increase its audience."
12 Noon: Checking in from a Starbuck's in Daytona. It's still summer hot here, in the low 80s. Took a walk on the beach here, listening to Tony Kahn's radio drama about blacklisting in the 50s. I'm about to drive one of the most scenic roads anywhere, up the coast to St Aug on A1A.
I've decided to try something new on my proposal, below. Instead of linking to a place to comment today, I'm going to wait until tomorrow. That way people get a chance to think, read and perhaps re-read, before commenting. Of course, I expect the usual suspects to flame, but we're getting really good at tuning that out. But what about the thoughtful people. Want to actually try to solve a problem through community? Nothing hard about it technically. Give it some thought while you're hitting refresh on the Engadget page below.
Engadget is blogging the MacWorld keynote, already underway.
Rogers Cadenhead: "Unlike every other mass medium, the Web doesn't let giant corporations hog the mike." Good point.
To Rogers, therein lies the basis for my 2002 thesis that monoculture may be an artifact of the 20th century.
WebMD gets on board with RSS.
Fast Company: Lessons on Innovation from Microsoft.
The darlings of the podcast world, the Lascivious Biddies, are performing in Cambridge this Thursday night. Wish I could be there.
ABC News has a comprehensive set of RSS feeds, which is cool; and once again the same overpowering Yahoo ads. Yahoo is far from the only aggregator, and far from the best. Not a good trend.
Okay, let's be clear about the problem.
Yahoo sends emails to bloggers with RSS feeds saying, hey if you put this icon on your weblog you'll get more subscribers. It's true you will. Then Feedster says the same thing, and Bloglines, etc etc. Hey I did it too, back when Radio was pretty much the only show in town, you can see the icon to the right, if you click on it, it tries to open a page on your machine so you can subscribe to it. I could probably take the icon down by now, most Radio users probably are subscribed to Scripting News, since it is one of the defaults. But it's there for old time sake, for now.
Anyway, all those logos, when will it end? I can't imagine that Microsoft is far behind, and then someday soon CNN is going to figure out that they can have their own branded aggregator for their own users (call me if you want my help, I have some ideas about this) and then MSNBC will follow, and Fox, etc. Sheez even Best Buy and Circuit City will probably have a "Click here to subscribe to this in our aggregator" button before too long.
That's the problem.
Now there is a solution, but it would require a bit of cooperation, something the so-called RSS "market" is famous for not doing. (Hehe.) Since I'm widely hailed as the Father of RSS (bear with me please) I would volunteer to coordinate this, raise the money, write the software and run the server, and make all the data public.
1. Ask the leading vendors, for example, Bloglines, Yahoo, FeedDemon, Google, Microsoft, and publishers, AP, CNN, Reuters, NY Times, Boing Boing, etc to contribute financially to the project, and to agree to participate once it's up and running.
2. Hire Bryan Bell to design a really cool icon that says "Click here to subscribe to this site" without any brand names. The icon is linked to a server that has a confirmation dialog, adds a link to the user's OPML file, which is then available to the aggregator he or she uses. No trick here, the technology is tried and true. We did it in 2003 with feeds.scripting.com.
3. Develop the software and release it as open source, with a license that permits anyone to operate a competitive service. This guarantees that the result of the contributions in #1 are shared widely, that there is no proprietary technology involved, and should the system we set up falter, it would be easy to set up another.
4. All the data maintained by the server would also be available in XML, publicly, allowing a myriad of applications to be developed by anyone who wants to. Steve Gillmor would hail it as the first step towards attention.xml, and it would be, and it would be cool. Imagine the Friendster-like service you could develop from a large database of people's subscriptions.
Anyway that's it. It's possible to solve the problem. Eventually I'm sure we will try to do so once our sites are sporting 35 different "subcribe here" buttons. Maybe that's sooner than you think.
PS: With all the talk about commercializing RSS, isn't it surprising that the pundits haven't been talking about an OEM market for aggregators. They'll claim to have invented the idea, shortly. Stay tuned.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Action Engine Corp. spent four years and $35 million developing an innovative technology that lets users of advanced cell phones access sports scores, driving directions, movie times and other information. But like many wireless software companies of the past five years, the Redmond startup stumbled when it came to getting people to actually use the technology."
Imagine a service that reads your podcast feeds, downloads the enclosures on a server you could call with your cell phone. Cursor through the new casts, select one to listen to, put on your Bluetooth earplug, and off you go. Your cellphone doesn't need a hard drive, or the ability to play MP3s. Just the basic web functionality many phones come with these days. (Actually not even that. Just use voicemail navigation techniques.)
Sunday night while watching TV, I was playing with my Nokia cell phone, changed the wall paper and the ringtone, the color scheme, basically everything I could get my hands on. "Time for some changes around here," I said to my phone.
Then, while driving yesterday, my phone started beeping. I picked it up, and a dialog appeared that said "Fuck you." Oh my god, did my phone have a virus, had someone sent me an SMS message, how did they get my number. Then I remembered I had set the alarm the previous night, I didn't remember doing it at first.
Monday, January 10, 2005
CNN's official page for their RSS support. Nice job, except for all those Yahoo ads. Does Yahoo pay for those?
Zonkette: "In this past election, at least a few prominent bloggers were paid as consultants by candidates and groups they regularly blogged about."
NY Times: IBM to Give Free Access to 500 Patents.
Was podcasting actually invented by NPR in the early 80s?
Three years ago today: "Burning Bird says that Radio 8 isn't the second coming. She's right about that. It's the eighth."
Hey it's actually hard to get a hotel room in rural Florida (around Cocoa Beach). Why? Click here for the answer.
ZDNet's David Berlind on podcasting and Microsoft.
New header graphic for Scripting News.
News.Com: "Google, brimming with idealism and its seemingly altruistic goal of turning the world into a giant digital library, is now wrestling with the discomforting mixture of instant employee wealth and a little too much information of its own."
Yahoo lists planned sales of Google stock.
There is some data in that report on the size of the Blogger deal. Jason Shellen, a Pyra employee at the time of the aquisition, registered to sell 3563 shares, which is worth approx $691K at the current price of $194 per share. John Borthwick, a Pyra shareholder, registered 490 shares. Paul Bausch, a Pyra founder, declared 281 shares. Of course these people could, and likely do have more Google stock. No mention of O'Reilly Associates or Evan Williams, probably the two largest Pyra shareholders, so they must be holding their holdings.
Also, at the time of the big blowup at Pyra, no one outside the founders knew what happened, financially. It's good to see that the other founders, Meg and Paul, appear to have been taken care of.
Triangle bloggers conference, in Chapel Hill. 2/12/05.
NY Times editorial: "He told Paul Begala, on the left, and Tucker Carlson, on the right, that their show, which specializes in encouraging midlevel political types to yell slogans at each other, was 'partisan hackery' that was lowering the level of political discourse."
Crossfire was jumping the shark when Stewart made his appearance in the waning days of the 2004 campaign. How cool, though, that he seems to be getting credit for killing it. The Times says that he was widely criticized for his appearance, maybe at the water cooler in the NYT offices, but not in the blogosphere, where he was hailed as a hero.
In all media, including weblogs, the soundbites and fake theatrics are given too much weight. Lynne Cheney saying John Kerry is not a good man, John Kerry reporting for duty (give me a break), so much TV, so little vision for the future.
We need media to activate our minds, not our saliva. We need ideas, real hope, not the fake kind. News is all confetti and tickertape, never a strikeout or a base on balls or a rain delay.
Sunday, January 09, 2005
Andy Affleck interviewed me on the origins of podcasting.
iPodderSP is a podcast client for Microsoft smart phones.
My best theory: Bill Gates didn't exactly call any of us communists, he said there are communists, and how could you argue with that? I don't personally know any communists who use music on the Internet, but maybe there are some. Anyway, the other day I bought a DVD for Adam Curry, a gift, a movie I loved that made a difference to me, and I wanted to be the one to give it to him. I paid retail at a big music store on 5th and Collins here in Miami Beach. It was about $30. I can't imagine this makes me a communist in the mind of Bill Gates. We ended up playing it on Adam's Mac laptop, but before it would play it presented a very strange dialog that made it sound like we were doing something illegal or communist-y, when we had just paid full price for the damned thing.
My best guess is that Gates's comment was not off-the-cuff as Scoble said (doing the best he could to spin it for his boss) but rather calculated to show the music industry that he would happily sell out his users for a chance to take the market from Apple.
John Palfrey explains the vision of the Harvard conference on blogging, journalism and credibility later this month. I think John's vision is good, I still may be missing something very basic about the conference. It seems we're skirting the real issues amongst us, if we are a convening of amateurs and pros.
Listening to this week's Gillmor Gang on a final walk through South Beach, it was gratifying to hear that all the show's regulars appear to be over their objections to weblogs, RSS and podcasting, and even better, can sell the vision with confidence. Talking with Scoble earlier, as he and wife Maryam were driving to the snowy mountains east of Seattle, I said I was glad to hear that they got it. He was a guest on this week's show. He said it's time for something new. But maybe this time not so quick. Maybe this is a good place to pause for a while, dig in, and instead of doing something leading edge, do the new thing competently, properly, deeply.
Markoff speculates: "Jobs will suddenly reverse ground and begin selling a new iPod peripheral - a cheap Mac desktop - to the legions of PC owners who have eagerly purchased iPods but so far have failed to switch to the more costly Mac computer world."
Four years ago today: "A human being has integrity if he or she is what he or she appears to be. That's why integrity commands us to disclose conflicts, so that what we say, and who we appear to be, are in synch."
Saturday, January 08, 2005
Today's Morning Coffee Notes podcast is an ode to art.
Adam's latest DSC is a great departure from the tried-and-true format. He walks around South Beach narrating, meeting people, talking with them.
A new Trade Secrets. If you've been listening to Madge Weinstein you should listen to this cast.
Russell Beattie: "It's game over for a lot of Microsoft competitors."
BTW, about people who almost everyone likes -- that doesn't mean they're better than people that everyone doesn't like, it may just mean that they work harder at being liked. That may be one of the reasons the meanies go after the people who everyone likes, because they'll fight the hardest to prove that the mean guy is wrong not to like the guy.
Rogers Cadenhead helps Business 2.0 figure out how RSS came to be.
Skype upgrades to 1.1, still no direct-to-MP3 feature?
The list of participants for the Shorenstein conference. For a conference about blogging, not too many bloggers. Of course emails come saying they were nice enough to invite you why are you criticizing them. Some of this feedback comes from journalists. This suggests we should really enumerate not just the principles of credibility, but the practical side of it. I am not friends with the people I cover, and if I should happen to cover people who are friends, it's my responsibility to tell you I'm doing so, and it's also my responsibility to strive to have that not color my judgement (impossible of course). My criticism of people I don't like is validated by equivalent criticism of people I do like. In 2005, as we struggle to find the lines, as the people being covered become the ones doing the covering, it's important to not only have integrity, but to appear to have it. I may like Dan (almost everyone does) but that doesn't mean he is above criticism. Now, some people among us use intimidation to keep themselves from being criticized. Want to know who they are? Just look at who never gets criticized. At least you know that's not Dan, or Bill Gates. Maybe Steve Jobs? Hmmm. Think about others.
Linux Devices: Archos ships Linux-based pocket media assistant.
The microphone we used for yesterday's Trade Secrets.
Dan Gillmor takes Bill Gates to task for a "howler" about neo-communists who want musicians to give their creative work away. As usual, I'm suspect of criticism of Gates. Would Dan criticize Kapor, Omidyar or O'Reilly, the three capitalists who sign his paycheck? Further, isn't it obvious that Gates is trying to show he's even more enthusiastic about protecting Hollywood's intellectual profits than good-guy untouchable (mostly) Steve Jobs? How come no one gives Jobs a hard time for bending over for Hollywood (and don't forget, Uncle Steve is part of Hollywood). And finally doesn't Dan have a bit of a conflict because he's paid for his creativity, unlike most musicians? To be really believable, wouldn't Dan have to forgo his salary? My purpose here is to frame some questions for the Credibility conference, below. If we're going to examine the integrity of bloggers, let's take a look at the pros too. (Assuming Dan is still a pro.)
Kenosis is a "fully-distributed peer-to-peer RPC system built on top of XML-RPC." Their first app is a decentralized BitTorrent.
Harvard is holding a conference on January 21 and 22 on blogging, journalism and credibility. The format of the conference is something we're not sure about, but it appears to largely be professionals talking about our credibility. Perhaps we should put on another conference for professionals explaining how respect works. We've been working on issues of integrity and credibility in the blogosphere for a long time, this is not a new subject for us and our readers. May we be given a chance to present what we've learned alongside our professional colleagues? Apparently not.
The conference is hosted by Shorenstein Center at the Kennedy School of Government. The director of the center, Alex Jones, wrote a scathing condemnation of the integrity of bloggers during the 2004 primary campaign. It seems appropriate for Jones to present that paper, and then listen to the people he condemned.
I have mixed feelings about participating in this conference. I would much prefer that they have BloggerCon-style sessions, without presentations, a level playing field, the judgement of the planners not so crucial. It's possible I misunderstand their intent. However, if we're to have a series of presentations, let's get to the heart of the matter, and hear Jones defend his writing. I would be happy to stand up and offer an explanation of my experience with trust and independence of professional reporters, and how that experience formed the genesis of blogging. And I would welcome questions and comments from the pros, and from other bloggers.
After all this time, after all the disrespect, it's disheartening to have merely earned a place in the audience. It's time for the pros to acknowledge bloggers as equals, and it wouldn't hurt to have the courage to make your accusations to our faces or withdraw them. Perhaps that will turn out to be part of the definition of integrity, for all of us.
Friday, January 07, 2005
Party down with Adam & Dave in their South Beach dorm room.
Bill Frist gets the quote of the day on Political Wire.
Gizmodo interviews Bill Gates on blogs and RSS.
Here's the WNYC release on their podcast for On The Media.
Adam's DVD player, a Mac laptop, had a surprise for us last night.
Miami question #1: "Does the MP3 player you use allow you to write software that runs on the player? If so..."
Dave: "Open the pod bay doors please, Hal."
More 2001 sound bites.
Forbes: "This isn't the first time Apple has sued..."
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Hoder: "Friends in Iran, journalists and technicians, are saying that judiciary officials have ordered all major ISP to filter all blogging services including PersianBlog, BlogSpot, Blogger, BlogSky, and even BlogRolling."
MIT Tech Review: "Podcasting shows once again how a commercial technology invented for a specific purpose -- in this case, the digital music player, which reached its pinnacle in the Apple iPod -- can be creatively repurposed to more democratic ends by independent software developers using open technologies like RSS and XML."
No address for the press release, but here is the RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures.
Madge Weinstein, interviewed on today's Daily Source Code: "If [Howard Stern] heard my show he's going to be so goddam angry because I got to say cunt on the radio." To which Adam said: "Exactly."
That's the first time the c-word has appeared on Scripting News.
Fresno Bee: Pod people.
Steve Rubel on GM exec blogs.
Early morning South Beach pics.
Sunrise on the Atlantic in Miami movie.
LID: "A quite simple, but powerful technology that empowers individuals to keep control over and manage their digital identities."
Bret Fausett: How to Podcast RIAA Music Under License.
CNN's RSS feed: "Read full story for latest details."
Microsoft's anti-spyware software. Is it any good?
Bill Gates: "We need to keep IE the best." Heh.
BBC: "A user of Apple's iTunes services sues the firm saying it is unfair that he can only use an iPod to play songs."
In all the speculation about the deal betw Six Apart and LiveJournal I haven't seen what surely is the motivator. Six Apart plans to go public. The market will value SA based on its ability to generate profits, and it will likely do so in proportion to the number of users, the theory being that they can sell things to the users, so the more users, the more they can sell. The more users the more value. LJ has a lot of users. So the founders of LJ get SA stock, and the shareholders of SA get more users, and value of the combined companies goes up and the day of the IPO gets closer.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
At this hour (7:30PM) Adam is talking with Madge. He's recording it. Should be amazing. Madge is a real podcast star. What Howard Stern hopes to be, next year, when he's free of the FCC. Even so, I doubt if he can match Madge for candor, wit, and sheer yeast.
We were walking to lunch today and I saw a really big guy sitting down at an outdoor restaurant with a group of black men. I saw his face, and his build, and thought he was once an athlete. He was one huge mofo. As we passed Adam asked if I recognized the guy. He said it was Shaquille O'Neal. I turned around and look, and that's right it was. Then on the way back from lunch we passed three young women, one dressed totally sexy, long legs, beautifully made up. We talked about how sexy she was. Then we heard the woman yelling from behind us. Adam said she must be Dutch. What was she screaming? His name.
Sriram Krishnan: Solving the bandwidth problem with BitTorrent.
Minnesota Public Radio reports on a proposal to provide universal wifi access in St Paul.
Fox News/Chicago films The Prince of Pod in South Beach.
I've been looking high and low for my can of Starbucks double shot espresso, but then I notice I left it in Adam's room, where the Fox photo shoot is taking place. So I can stop looking. I miss the extra edge to my caffeine buzz. Arrrgh.
7/4/00: "With that will come new music, and new ways to play it, new ways to explore the emotions it brings up, and new kinds of community, deep ones, far deeper than those we've been able to create on the silent Web."
Movie of feet on the sidewalk at South Beach.
In cargo transport, payload is the valuable contents of the vehicle.
Om Malik says SixApart is about to buy LiveJournal.
Mary Hodder on dumpster-diving in OPML.
Mixcast Live looks very good.
Madge Weinstein's latest is very funny, up to where she compares me to Nicole Kiddman, when it becomes knee-slapping funny. A classic cast.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Miami Beach pics.
The Orange Bowl is tonight. Shows you how much we know about football. For the last couple of days we've been trying to figure out when the game was. We couldn't believe it hadn't happened yet. Football fans are all over South Beach
Edge.org's question of the year was "what do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it."
Jay Rosen on "open source journalism" in Greensboro.
Monday, January 03, 2005
A Morning Coffee Notes recorded this morning on Inkerstate 95 and uploaded from Miami Beach. Adam and I arrived at the hotel within 5 minutes of each other. He came from London, I came from Seattle.
Good morning everybody! Another travel day, this time the final leg of the Seattle-Miami trip. Our one-week meeting starts tonight.
Yesterday, walking on the beach, I had a minor epiphany about the press that I thought I should share asap. Talking to a reporter recently, about the difference between bloggers and pros, I tell a story I often tell, the interchange between David Weinberger and Walter Mears at the blogger's breakfast at the Democratic National Convention in July.
Weinberger asked Mears who he planned to vote for in the presidential election. Mears said he couldn't say because that would bring his biases into the discussion, and he writes objectively, his biases are irrelevant. This was about as clear a distinction as I've seen, because bloggers seem to view it exactly the other way. I can't trust you until I know where you're coming from. So a blogger always discloses his opinion on something he's reporting on, so we can triangulate, get a variety of points of view to determine what's really going on. Triangulation is something bloggers and their readers depend on. In the world of the pro, apparently triangulation is not necessary, because in theory every reporter is objective.
So, the reporter I was talking with says he is not part of the story. This is where the epiphany begins. That's why the various attempts to self-enforce integrity have been awful failures for the pros. We tested the self-enforcement system put in place by The Guardian last spring, we're not exactly nobodies, and got blown off, summarily and rudely. This is not what we would expect from a QA department at any organization, and surely not a newspaper of high repute. We wouldn't tolerate this from government, nor industry, but these days, when a campaign can be deleted, and its supporters disenfranchised, by cable networks because a candidate showed enthusiasm, consider how much progress we can make until we systematically watch the pros and judge the quality of their work. We're fools if we believe they can be trusted to watch over themselves. We have the empirical evidence that proves otherwise.
Net-net: the professional journalist is totally part of the story he or she is writing. That they believe otherwise is the major bug in their process.
Sunday, January 02, 2005
First attempt at a logo for Morning Coffee Notes.
Three years ago: When to give away the technology.
Morning sunrise over the Atlantic movie.
Sometimes making a mistake out loud can cause an avalanche of new information to come your way. Yesterday's prediction that McDonald's wouldn't embrace wifi when they already had yielded the info that Quiznos Subs has wifi in all its stores (their subs are toasted). Schlotzky's Deli, another chain of sandwich stores, offers free wifi in their stores. The killer in this category would be Subway, if you can stand the smell of their stores (I've come to hate it). Subway is everywhere, like McDonald's.
Saturday, January 01, 2005
Mike Lehman: The Podcasting Song. Very excellent.
One of my predictions for 2005 has already not come true. McDonald's has extensive wifi support. This is amazing to me, because while driving I make regular stops at McD's for coffee, ice tea and bathroom breaks. Not once did I see signage for wifi, or anyone using a computer. This led me to conclude that their experiment with wifi in SF and Silicon Valley a couple of years ago went nowhere. Far from it. There are hundreds if not thousands of McDonald's with wifi. On my drive up the east coast in a week or so, I'm going to evaluate their service. If you have any experience using their wifi, please comment here.
A new on-the-road Morning Coffee Notes, recorded early this morning on I-10 in the Florida panhandle. Lots of random topics, with lots more on the continuing identity discussion, including three rules for successful format and protocol work. (There are more rules coming soon.)
Niek Hockx says that 2005 will be the year of the enclosure.
Today's gorgeous sunrise over I-10.
And finally the last fifty yards to the Atlantic.
Adam Curry, the curator of the decentralized iPodder.org directory, explains how it works, what it does, and what it doesn't. There's room for more software, more services, it's a resource, says Adam.
The day after tomorrow Adam gets on a plane and flies into Miami, at the same time I drive down the coast. For the next couple of days I'm going to chill out and do some work in preparation for the meetup.
The last Gillmor Gang of 2004, a huge tech-mashup on identity.
Congrats to Dan Gillmor (Steve's younger brother) on winding up his long run at the SJ Merc, and looking forward to hearing more about the new career as Pied Piper of amateur journalism in the US.
In order to make something new happen, you have to be willing to shed something old. This was a central theme in yesterday's Gangup. Dan is giving up his paycheck at the Merc, for presumably a less sure paycheck somewhere else. But in doing so, he expresses an optimism that is uniquely American. Over the horizon is something fresh, something interesting; it's different -- in a good way.
So here we are, in a new year, again. As you get older time speeds up, until you get to the new year before the old year ends. Get even older and the new year starts before the old one had really gotten underway. You end up snapping your head left, then right, then quickly left, then right again, and put your hands over your ears and wail "I'm soooo confused!"
That's life. You get old, then you die. Inbetween hopefully you had a laugh, had a cry, heard a good story, told one, had a friend, was a friend, took a walk, read a book, invented something, thanked someone for something, remembered someone you loved and eventually -- was remembered by someone who loved you,
I tell my friends that I feel lucky, I've lived to see what life was like after my own death. Really. Every day is like that. It's really a blessing, because it's easy to shed the angst that accumulates by living. "I'm just a ghost," I think to myself. That adds a special quality to life.
Last night waiting in line at a local supermarket, in Florida, with the smell of the ocean everywhere, I thought of my uncle, and wished he was here. He used to go to Thailand, Kho Samui, every couple of years, for a month at a time. What would he have thought? All of a sudden his stories would have meant more. But when he died, the stories went with him. The stories fade as time passes, and what's left are the places, the memories, the void I feel in a Florida town, with the beach smells. The experiences feel alive, even if one of the key actors is not.
Here's my list of predictions:
1. We'll all give something up.
2. We'll all take something on.
3. If I make it to May 2, I'll turn 50. Praise Murphy!
4. Identity will remain a mess.
5. RSS will remain a success.
6. A major on-air radio talk show host from the left or right will realize that he or she can build a new market for his or her work by allowing people to download it in MP3 format linked into an RSS feed and listened to on an iPod.
7. A political leader, a candidate for some office, will emerge from the blogosphere. People will call this open source candidacy.
8. The term open source will come to mean nothing.
9. Cory Doctorow will sue Adam Curry for saying "Boing" when he's happy. (Postscript: Mark F at BB asks if Curry cures Alzheimers. Does that mean they aren't suing?)
10. New tools for blogging will emerge allowing more complex structures of ideas to flow publicly through the Internet.
11. More people will call the Internet the Inkernet.
12. There will be a wifi signal at the top of the Empire State Building and in every truck stop in the US. Also in every Best Buy. McDonald's won't embrace the Internet.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.