Sunday, July 31, 2005
Whooopeee -- there's a Mac version of the OPML Editor!
Lisa Williams: "Here are my backlogged posts from yesterday's BlogHer conference."
Jim Armstrong: "Much faster than any other way of doing it."
Pics: New York State by car.
Adam is still having trouble setting the header graphic. We'll figure it out, but in the meantime, you can set the header graphic without using the command. Just put a file in the "decorations" sub-folder of the the blog folder named headerGraphic.gif or headerGraphic.jpg. It'll get upstreamed, that's all that has to happen to set the header graphic.
Watch the Mac users' first posts.
At 1:15PM, checking in from Ithaca. Everything was looking great until I went to check changes.opml.org, and it had an error connecting to the static server. I restarted Apache and now it's working. I suspect it's the Instant Outliner, finally maxing out. Or maybe it's people downloading the Mac version of the OPML Editor. Hmmm. On further investigation, one of the log files had grown to 1/2 gigabyte. I shut down the server, archived the file, restarted the server, and it seems to be running much better. Then, looking inside the log file, most of the hits on the static server are checks of Instant Outlines. Seems we've already hit a scaling "situation." Something to think about on the rest of today's drive.
At 10:15AM, it's time for me to go out for the day. I'll be sure to stay at an Internet-capable hotel tonight, and may find a Starbucks somewhere in my travels to check out what's going on. It's so cooool to see all the new Mac activity, and sorry it took so long to get you the software.
Jay Rosen's notes from BlogHer 05. Interesting that I find it easier to read and point to a man's account of the conference. This idea came up at a session in Nashville, on international blogging, where Hoder said what they need is for American bloggers to point to them more. I thought about it a bit and said, that I don't think that would help very much, what would really make a difference would be to send me there, to take pictures, to view their world through my lens, and then report that back through my blog. That would help foster understanding, that would be a link that meant something. Pointing to a woman because she's a woman isn't a solution to a problem anyone really has. However creating understanding seems to be the solution to everything.
Doc wants to bookmark a trip to Cooperstown in the fall. Actually this whole area is spectacularly beautiful, and not too crowded. I used to marvel at how nice and brown California hillsides are in the summer and then so lush and green in the spring. Well here we are at the height of summer, and the hillsides are like beautifully manicured lawns in heaven. Maybe it's so nice because its cooled off a bit, the highs are only in the low 80s now. And I know that later in this trip, probably tomorrow or the day after, I'm going to re-enter CongestionLand. But south-central NY state is very very nice in the summer. Okay, so our super-exclusive geek-exec-con in the winter is in Park City, and Fall 2006 in Cooperstown.
Weird NY Times non-editorial-page editorial about Microsoft's patents. It's weird because the author is a historian, not a technologist; and it's also weird that they're taking Microsoft to task for what is an industry-wide problem. It's as if they were blaming Iran or Pakistan for the problems of nuclear proliferation. Microsoft was hardly the first or even the biggest abuser of software patents. Again, the Times shows a remarkable lack of timeliness (where were they when the mess was being created, not that they weren't warned), and why make it a Microsoft issue.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Marc Barrot and Kosso are testing the Mac version of the OPML Editor, so far, with good results.
Arrived safely at Binghamton, NY. Couldn't find a room in Oneonta because its Induction Weekend at Cooperstown, where baseball has its Hall of Fame. Too bad because I would have loved to have gone to that. As you know I'm a baseball guy. Not too many Mets in the Hall of Fame, but there are some. What a bummer that Gil Hodges didn't make it.
David Berlind looks at how the Register is toying with Microsoft.
Friday, July 29, 2005
A couple of major improvements to outline rendering on the blogging server for the OPML Editor community today.
Version 0.58 of the OPML Editor reads SharpReader subscription lists
Wow, Tim likes the outliner. And that makes me happy. No sarcasm.
W3Future has a very useful OPML document displayer.
The OPML community is a new kind of open source thing, (someone will correct me for sure) in that it is about users and developers working together to build something new. In a few years, when everyone gets it, after Apple has reinvented it and the NY Times is gleefully and giddily giving them credit for it, the reason it will have been so successful is that we worked together. Users will have learned how to talk to developers, and developers will have learned how to listen. In that spirit, I offer one of my favorite howto's -- one that explains in three easy steps, how to report a bug to a developer. There's more that you can do, but these three things really help get the problem solved quickly, with a minimum amount of fuss. It's especially important when we're all working together online, where back and forth questions and answers sometimes take hours for each iteration. You want to pack as much information as possible in the first post, but not too much information -- as Joe Friday used to say on Dragnet, "Just the facts ma'am."
Michael Gartenberg is interested in a geek dinner in Jerusalem.
Dave Luebbert on the C source code for the OPML Editor. Just in time for the Open Source Convention. Maybe some of the Linux hackers will start a project to get our humble environment running on that great GPL operating system.
BTW, we're getting some excellent help from Andre Radke on the Mac version of the OPML Editor. I can't wait until we can unleash the Mac users on this little goodie.
Andre, who is German, once taught me to count to ten in German. My memory is not so good.
Kosso counts to ten in four languages. That's forty numbers!
Apparently Steve Gillmor is not kidding about attention.
Paolo: "I wonder if anybody is reading this blog." I am.
I read somewhere that Tim O'Reilly wants to sell you a book, some time in the future, that you write, about interesting RSS hacks. (They call them Syndication Hacks, apparently they still want to get rid of RSS, hey at least they're consistent). Anyway, I just got a pointer to a Wiki where you can get a great list of RSS hacks, today, and add your own (without the retro politics) for free. How about that for disintermediation!
I'm interested to hear what David Berlind has to say about this. Scoble makes a good point, standards that apply to bloggers don't apply to journalists like those at the Register and the NY Times. They can make unsubstantiated accusations, literally with no substance, and no one calls them on it. Bloggers like Scoble are held to a higher standard. Maybe that's why you get higher quality information from blogs than from the Times and other professional journals.
David Berlind responds.
What Rex Hammock said: "Podcasting won't officially be mainstream until it has its first payola scandal."
It's great that Google has patented ads in RSS feeds. My fondest hope: Their attorneys are hugely aggressive making sure no one implements them. It's like hitching a horse to a horseless carriage. Now the horse can move faster. Innovative. (Sorry for the sarcasm.)
In this space I am testing new features for the OPML Editor back-end. I will explain the features here as I implement them. Note that by doing this publicly I am taking a risk that perhaps I may not be able to get it all to work, and will have then gotten the users angry. This will be an experiment for users to understand that developers are people too, and if I try something and fail in my first attempt that this is not in itself a sign of incompetence or unworthyness.
Okay, the next line contains an outline, with the 50 states of the United States. I've just improved the renderer on the back-end to handle multiple levels, so you can see all the sections and all the material underneath over there (even if you can't see them on Scripting News). Next, note that Florida links to an outline. Now you can see that, and click on the enclosure icon, and go there. This probably isn't exactly what you want, but it's a step in the right direction. And if it had been a podcast, it would have been exactly what you want.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Russell Beattie gets aggregators. "You should only see an RSS item once." Bingo. Every would-be aggregator designer should tatoo that on their forehead in reverse so they see it in the mirror when they're brushing their teeth or shaving or whatever. Memorize it. If your user sees an RSS item more than once, your aggregator is broken.
Now, the problem is, that while Yahoo's interface is pretty good, and lots better than most of the rest, it still shows you old items before new ones. Any of the competitors could leapfrog Yahoo. Want to give it a try? I can be hired as a consultant. Seriously. Let's get going on this.
News.Com: Amazon files for Web services patent.
Jeffrey McManus, in 2004: "The only hard questions asked by the audience were directed at Jeff, typified by a clueless and off-topic bomb tossed by Dave Winer, who tried to take poor Jeff to task for the fact that Amazon is a 'patent abuser.'" I guess I wasn't so clueless after all; "poor Jeff" is one of two authors of the Amazon patent.
Rogers: "My cynical suspicion is that Bush wants abortion to be safe, legal, and rage-inducing for the GOP base."
Using the OPML Editor to manage RSS subscription lists.
An important note about this feature. It works out of the box with NetNewsWire and Radio UserLand, and probably quite a few others (which ones?). I had to adapt the code to get it to work with Bloglines and RSS Bandit. I was able to do this because the formats they used are close enough to Radio's import/export format, and because users supplied me with examples of files. See "how to proceed" on that page for an idea of how the community can work on this. And I'm only willing to bend so far to accomodate creativity, because that's a form of lock-in. On the other hand, the OPML Editor basically undoes that lock-in.
Here's a complete list of all OPML Editor docs available as of today.
Jon Udell's review of the OPML Editor.
Five years ago this would have been really big news. Maybe it still is?
Tried subscribing to Scripting News; it said it couldn't find it. Oh well.
Phil Ringnalda: "Now that is some serious support for autodiscovery."
News.Com: "My AOL is designed to give people the ability to customize the AOL portal based on specific needs and interests, including the addition of news feeds via Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, the company said."
Rebecca Mac is the user from hell. Coool!
Now that I can see her posts I have a bit of advice.
OPML Fan is Lisa Williams' OPML Weblog.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
It's great that Jay Rosen is covering the BlogHer conference, looking forward to his reports. But let's hope they can avoid vacant homilies like the one in his last paragraph. Competition is a good thing. If it weren't for competition, Technorati would have no reason to improve their service.
The ads are back in Political Wire. I'm really sick of being used as an experiment without permission.
NPR: "NASA grounds the space shuttle fleet after analysis revealed that a piece of foam broke loose during the liftoff of Space Shuttle Discovery Tuesday."
Skip to the end of this NY Times piece on podcasting for a good dose of disrespect for technology. "All of that is whimpering in the wind." But of course it's anything but. I'm not one of the wimps, I even agree with much of what he says, but geez, how can you argue with someone who says people who disagree are whimpering? When did the NY Time resort to Limbaugh-like logic. Who can you trust. Isn't this the paper that didn't challenge President Bush when he took us to war in Iraq? Don't they have any editorial standards worth preserving? Don't they owe all of us an apology for trying to pass this off as journalism? Wasn't it the NY Times that one year ago was dismissing bloggers at the DNC, when we were pioneering the technolgy they now think is so revolutionary (because Apple is doing it now). Isn't a bit ironic that they call music sharing piracy, perhaps because the people doing it don't advertise in the Times, yet huge scale piracy by Apple is kind of fun. What next?
BTW, I had to stop in Massachusetts today to open a bank account for Scripting News, Inc, which is a Massachusetts corporation (I lived there when the company was founded). I was able to do it, but the amount of information they required, the sheer paranoia of it. The excuse offered was, surprisingly, the USA PATRIOT Act. This is the first time, that I know of, that my life has been impacted by this, but I strongly suspect it won't be the last. Who knows what this government might consider threatening to security. I just finished a book about the World War II seige on Stalingrad, which was an interesting look into the paranoia of a fascist dictatorship run to insanity. Am I more scared of the terrorists or of the US government? On some days it's not even close.
Philip Greenspun: "After renting dozens of new cars in the last year it struck me as odd that the factory stereos can't do two simple things: (1) bring an aux input out to the front of the dashboard for plugging in an MP3 jukebox, and (2) read a CD containing MP3 files. These features would only add about $1 to the cost of the car and presumably would give MP3-crazed yupsters a reason to trade in their older vehicle."
Okay, I wasn't at AlwaysOn, so I don't know what Marc Canter and Tony Perkins announced. I've been watching Marc's blog, where he explains how various people got the story wrong, but where is the bullet list that explains what it is.
Danny Boyd: "When will browsers allow me to point to a local or remote OPML file for my bookmarks or favorites? This would be near the top of my list for new features in IE and Firefox."
It's freaking hot here in NYC today. Ouch!
Watch the new blogs as Europe goes to work and the east coast of North America wakes up.
Last night I put up the first version of templates for the OPML Editor's blogging tool. No docs yet, I just wanted to see what people would do with it. Amy Bellinger showed that it basically works, you can make a very nice looking blog with this feature.
RSS 2.0 is good enough for the US Army.
Check out all the new podcasts at MSNBC. Yow!
Isolani says upstreaming is limited to my server and the OPML Editor. The former is true, temporarily, but the latter is not true even today. Just drop a file in the www folder and it streams up to the server. I totally does not have to be created by the OPML Editor. You can even use another editor to write your blog (but it has to produce OPML, that's what the back-end understands). And the back-end will be GPL'd too, and the protocol (very very simple) documented. The convenience of upstreaming should be for everyone. Also, we're working on two-way synchronization. As you might imagine it's a little harder, but really not that bad.
In a BusinessWeek interview, David Sifry of Technorati says: "We're built into every single publishing platform." Is that really true?
Columnist Greg Lindsay trashes podcasting by the people.
Brilliant piece by Britt that explains why columnists like Lindsay, whose job it is to get you to read ads, have a limited future.
Rupert Murdoch: "As an industry, many of us have been remarkably, unaccountably complacent."
BBC: "People who illegally share music files online are also big spenders on legal music downloads, research suggests."
JD Lasica's pictures from the AlwaysOn conference.
The next two conferences are BlogHer and the Open Source Convention, both on the west coast this weekend. I expect there will be some discussion of OPML at both, although I'll be in NYC, trying to stay cool (there's a heat wave going on now).
Hey I went for a massage yesterday. It's been a while. What happened is what I was afraid would, my lower back really hurts. But before it was really tight. So it's a good ache, I'll do some more stretching and maybe go for another massage, esp when I'm in Calif around Aug 20. Maybe a side-trip to Esalen.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Today's podcast after a long drive, back in the USA, with ideas about next steps with the OPML Editor.
Michael Gartenberg: "Setup was ridiculously easy."
UI bugaboos from Chris Pirillo.
And it wouldn't be a ship without Raymond Poort.
Really Simple Syndication: "With no fanfare, in the middle of the night in the middle of the week, in the middle of summer, Google added the beginnings of an RSS aggregator to its home page."
Paolo likes the new tool. That's great!
OPML editor, "een nieuwe blogrevolutie?"
You can watch the new blogs change while I'm driving.
Today's a travel day. I'm headed south, back into the US. Tonight I'll stay in the Albany area, tomorrow I have a little bit of business I have to do in Massachusetts, then I head off to NYC for the rest of the week.
There won't be much time for me to update the OPML Editor, or the server, or to answer support questions. Remember, it is an open source project, which means that support is open source too. I have to leave room for systems to develop on their own.
I have more docs, there's more functionality to show you, and then there's more I want to do (like adding templates to the blogging tool, for example).
But we have the foundation up and running and that's something we didn't have a few days ago.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Welcome to the OPML Editor!
You can watch the new blogs come online. It's fun!
Everyone says go for it, so here we go, at 12:26PM Eastern.
A brief podcast to celebrate the public ship of the OPML Editor.
I noticed people were having trouble with outline elements that link to other places on the web, so I did a quick server-side enhancement that does what they wanted it to do. We're in the zone folks, where the numbers are starting to work. I like this. Haven't been to this place since early 2002.
Walter Ely: Bloglines Blogroll Import Howto.
Walter: "Hmm. I wonder if I can use this to build OPML shownotes for K9Cast." Yes, you can. That's how Adam does it. BTW, he's on board with the OPML Editor. The picture at the top is just a bit over the top. At least his collar doesn't have the official Catholic look.
If you have immediate comments, questions, suggestions, post them here. Otherwise, long-term, you should get on one of the mail lists. The opml-support list, managed by Dave Luebbert, is the longest-running, and will probably be the more technical of the lists, despite its name. Newbies should go to the opml-newbies list, which I am moderating for now, although I'd love to give it away to someone whose good with newbies. (I have limited patience and I like to dig new holes more than help out newcomers.)
Scoble: "You've been Scobleized!" Many times.
Fred Zelders: "First impression: Just a little bit of trying and ... BOOM ... It works. Great!"
Rod Kratochwill: "It worked!"
Bull Mancuso: "My name is Bull Mancuso."
Below, I said we'd flip the switch at 10AM Eastern, but it's taken longer than I thought it would (hah, no surprise there) and I still haven't had breakfast at 10:30AM, so I'm going to take a break, and aim for 10AM Pacific.
Eric Kidd: "Seriously sweet! The old Frontier kernel has gotten a facelift."
I just set up a new ping-center for people who are editing blogs with the OPML Editor. There are four views of this stream, changes.xml, RSS, OPML, and a very lame HTML rendering (but it does appear to work). It should help us pull together the initial users. I also started an new mail list for newbies, membership is open, but the list is moderated. It's a user's list, no questions are too basic, and technology discussions are totally off-topic. There's a more advanced list, which is still private, but soon will be public as well. I want to a bit more testing, and then open the download site around 10AM Eastern.
MacWorld: "Yahoo on Monday will announce the acquisition of Konfabulator, a Macintosh and Windows application that allows users to run mini files known as Widgets on their desktop -- the same model used by Apple for its Dashboard application."
Doc Searls says he started skiing at 43 (he's about to turn 58), and is an intermediate, and loves nothing more than skiing. "There's no better bait to get me to come to a small conf than to hold it in a ski resort." Doc and I have been talking about doing some kind of conference together. I think we just figured out how and where to do it. Park City here we come!
BTW, I'm one of those accomplished schussers who likes the cruising runs. I don't do it for the athletics, I do it for the inspiration, the scenery, the freshness, and for companionship. I've never liked skiing through the trees (seems too dangerous, like motorcycle riding). I also love powder and bowl skiing. But the best of skiing is pausing near the top, with a spectacular view of the mountains from above, on a still clear blue Wasatch morning. Appreciate the pure silence of the moment. If there is a heaven, I hope that's what it's like. Or maybe that is heaven.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
The intro. "The OPML Editor follows in the tradition of simple text-based tools masquerading as a rich development platform. Or is it the other way around? The most powerful applications are also the most powerful development platforms. The various text editors on Unix. Quark XPress on the Macintosh. Notepad on Windows. Inside every text editor is the potential of platform, and every platform must have a simple text editor. It was with this simple premise that I set out in 1988 to make an outliner that was also a programming language and object database. Now, in 2005, all the power of this idea is available in a download that's about the size of a 15 minute podcast. If this works, people with great ideas should arrive shortly. Maybe you're one of them? If so -- I've been waiting for you!"
A long-standing problem will not be replicated in the OPML Editor.
Draft of the terms of service for the OPML Editor: "0. Terms of service. Let's keep it simple. I'm providing this software for your evalution only. Decide if it's useful and if you do (I don't claim it is), you assume all risk, and I assume none, same with the company that's providing the service, Scripting News, Inc. Further, the hosting I provide is also only for your evaluation. I could at any time stop doing it, or my backups could fail. Please keep copies of all the data stored on the server. If you use the service for illegal purposes we will turn off your account shortly after we find out. These terms will be rewritten by a lawyer shortly."
Fascinating comments on a post about syndication from O'Reilly.
One of the comments says that the Wikipedia page about RSS is highly political and that's correct. Really an eyesore.
You know what would be interesting -- commission Phil Torrone to write a definitive piece about RSS. Put a couple of weeks into it. I trust Phil, and clearly so do the O'Reilly people (he works for them). Play down the differences of the past (but mention them, because they're in the technology, unfortunately). Try to put it all to rest.
John Robinson, editor of the Greensboro News-Record, offers guidelines to the paper's bloggers. Ed Cone says it's a must-read, and I think that's right. They're mostly very good, common-sense, the kinds of things every blogger should consider, whether they write on the News-Record site or not. There's one point I object to, the bit about representing the newspaper. I think it should be the other way around, the newspaper represents them. A blog is the unedited voice of an individual. Robinson seems to agree with that, so how can a blogger represent an organization? What does that mean? What's the practical side of that?
As I wander and pause in my travels, I wonder what my next stop will be. I sort of doubt that I'll spend the fall in Florida. I loved staying at the beach this winter and spring, it's been a goal of mine, for my whole adult life to try living at the beach, to get into the flow of the ocean, not just as a visitor, but as an active participant. I also wanted to spend some time near my uncle's home, at the places we used to hang out, as a way of saying goodbye. He picked the best part of Florida to live in, the ocean is great, the lifestyle is still pretty southern (although that's changing really quickly). The pace is slow and easy and the ocean is not the simple thing I always thought it was, but suspected it was not.
So there are two directions I'm looking at. 1. The Rockies. 2. New York City. Couldn't be more different, right?
Different goals, two choices. Let's look at them. First, the Rockies. The idea there would be to do with skiing what I did this winter with the beach. I started skiing when I was very young, around five or six. I didn't like it then, but as I grew up, I grew into it. In my mid-30s I spent a winter skiing, over 40 days, but still based in California. I was in really good shape, so the skiing was wonderful. Now I'm quite a bit older, and not in such great shape, but spending a whole winter skiing would probably get me into some kind of really good shape. It's really hard not to keep the weight down when you're exerting yourself so much all day.
The reason to do it now is that I can do it now. In a few years it might not be possible for me to spend a whole winter skiing. Time goes by very quickly, I've found out. All of a sudden I'm 50. Soon, all of a sudden I'll be 70. You say there are plenty of 70 year old skiers, and you're right. But there are also plenty of people who aren't skiing at 70. That's the fallacy of old age. We all hope we'll be the ones who are left standing and healthy, but then there's my uncle, who died at 58. :-(
The cool thing about skiing all winter is that I could invite people to come skiing with me for brainstorming sessions. There's nothing like spending a day riding up on chair lifts having inspiring conversations, and then having an exhilirating run down the mountain, and then continuing the conversation on the next ride up the mountain or over a soft drink at the lodge.
Anyway, on to choice #2, the Big Apple. Sorry to say it, but every other city in the US is small potatoes compared to the Big One. And it's starting to get an interesting high tech life. Over the last few months I've spoken with half a dozen high tech investors based in NYC, and I don't know what it is, but they seem more outgoing and business-oriented than the west coast venture guys, who somehow seem to act like they're the show, and you're an employee. In all my years on the west coast I never got one of them to invest in one of my ideas. Not once. But they were ideas you could build industries on, because that's actually what happened. We have the benefit of hindsight now.
In NY, I have actually been recruited by investors. Imho, that's the way it should be. Anyway, I have a dream, of a media technology research center located in the media headquarters of the western world. One where tech people meet to try out new ideas, with the support of the investment community, on a pooled basis. The entrepreneur shares ownership in the idea with a group of investors, who then get to bid on starting businesses around the ideas. So you put down micro-bets, $100K to $250K, get a server up and running, and see if the users like it. If they do, fund it up, maybe $2 million, and go to the next level. Why do it in NY? Well, we wouldn't just do it in NY, but it has a great airport, and theater, opera, museums, baseball, and the kind of people who are drawn to a vibrant intellectual life. People come to NY to do more than work, they come to create. And that's what draws me there too. That, and the 2nd Ave Deli.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
It's always a good time for some Ole and Lena jokes.
The best movie so far this year, taken from a cab speeding down Memorial Drive in Cambridge. I love the way it ends.
If all goes well, the OPML Editor will be available publicly on Monday. I fixed a couple of important bugs today, one involved rewriting the startup process, which was horribly wrong. I had to take the time to understand the issues, and now I just can't break it and so far neither have any of the testers been able to. I'm very excited about this release, it's the first time I did roadshows before a release. You could say it's an international rollout, and you'd be right. I was careful to explain in the Terms of Service that it's all for evaluation purposes, and I'll note here that the back end will be GPL'd too, so people will have choice about where to serve their OPML. So we're about to get an upgrade in the part of the web we use. That doesn't happen every day, not even every year.
Out on a walk this morning, absolutely gorgeous weather, in the low 70s, and cloudless, as I was passing by Parliament on Wellington Street, a huge number of people were converging on the lawn in front of the hall. I took a detour and watched the soldiers on parade, it was quite a spectacle, so of course I took some pictures and shot a movie.
Apparently the ceremony I saw is called The Changing Of The Guard. As I was watching it, I was imagining the kinds of battles these soldiers were preparing for. Watch the movie and give it some thought.
Scott Rosenberg on Elections Have Consequences. There's no doubt that John Roberts, the President's nominee for the Supreme Court, will decide against Roe v Wade. All I need to know is that the conservatives aren't expressing concern. I agree with everything Scott says, and go a bit further. I haven't forgotten that the Supreme Court gave Bush the Presidency in 2000. It was a coin toss election. When Bush started governing as if he had won, well that's when the trouble started.
This post has moved to a place where people can comment.
Friday, July 22, 2005
NY Times piece on podcasting. "Everyone is famous for 15 people."
Do you think this is for real? Is there really a show called Beauty and the Geek? Pretty funny either way. (I tried calling WB, and they do have a show called Beauty and the Geek, so that much is true, and the phone number listed by "Megan Dowd" is the number of the production company for the show. But no one has heard of her and when you call the number you get a confused male receptionist, and get forwarded to someone's voice mail who is not named Megan Dowd.)
A simple search shows that, real or not, this is not a new line of work for Ms Dowd. She was a casting director for MTV's Date My Mom. I think I've even seen that, briefly, once, while mindlessly channel surfing.
I had one of the best breakfasts of my life at a restaurant called Cora's in Ottawa. Maybe it was because I like Ottawa so much, or did some really great work on my walk just before breakfast, or maybe it's because the food was incredibly well prepared. I don't know but, it was pretty great. Why am I in Ottawa? Because I don't know anyone here, the prices are unbeatable, it's a beautiful, compact city, and as I said, I just like it here. Whatever. I'm getting ready for the final sprint on the Windows version of the OPML Editor. I'll be here at least through the weekend.
There's something strangely beautiful about Canadian cities. Vancouver opened my eyes to this. As you approach from the south, it has an Oz-like look. You really feel like you're entering a city-of-the-future. Then it has a completely different feel from ground level. Ottawa has the same thing, all these rivers, bridges, and fantastic government buildings, museums, concert halls, embassies. Parliament. A Supreme Court. And it's so small, really tiny, but there's so much here. And don't believe what they say about Canada in the US, this is a foreign country, but you can almost pass for a Canadian here.
Paolo releases his Theme Tool for free. That's cool. I'm thinking that Radio itself, the parts that haven't already been GPLed, should be. Christmas may well come early this year.
There's a new address for the ping-site form for weblogs.com.
British police released pictures of suspects in yesterday's failed bombing attempts in London.
Feedshake "helps you to generate new feeds by merging, sorting and filtering existing online RSS feeds."
Chris Pirillo says the official name for Microsoft's Longhorn is Vista. Interesting choice. That was going to be ThinkTank's name before we came up with a better one. Maybe they should add OPML support and an outliner and buy the name from Symantec. The operating system for people who think. Just an idea.
Top ten best nude beaches, according to GoNomad. Not that I'd go to a nude beach or anything.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
My favorite soft drink is Diet Coke. I never think about switching. A few weeks ago I stopped in a convenience store to pick up a Diet Coke, but instead I saw something called Coke Zero. What. Huh. I bought a Diet Coke, and remembered to look it up on the web. I forgot. A few days later it happened again. Then I saw a TV commercial for Coke Zero, just a style thing, no explanation of what it is. I remembered to look it up on the web. Then forgot. Finally today I remembered to look it up. Should I switch? It never crossed my mind until they suggested it. What the...
Houston Chronicle: "Trying to understand Coke logic means getting into the mind of corporate America, and you don't want to go there. If you're a Classic Coke fan and looking for a diet drink, just be happy they've stumbled on Coke Zero. Don't ask questions."
Rebecca MacKinnon: "Cisco admits selling to Chinese police, and isn't ashamed."
Mary Hodder is working on a list of "interesting women doing amazing things."
Steve Gillmor is enjoying the AlwaysOn conference in Palo Alto.
BBC: "Minor explosions using detonators only have sparked the evacuation of three Tube stations and the closure o\f three lines, a BBC correspondent has said."
Podbat, a blogger who works at the BBC in London, is accumulating links in real time. I'm listening to BBC radio via webcast.
I find it utterly amazing that 9 percent of Americans have a good idea what RSS is. When people outside the industry ask what I do, I respond by asking if they've heard of RSS, and they always say no, with a genuinely puzzled look. Honestly, I think the 9 percent number is high.
Jon Stewart clip on Karl Rove's "Greatest Leak Ever."
Information Please: America's Best Beaches.
Microsoft will not swallow RSS any more than they swallowed hard disks, following the analagy that's the premise of the PC Mag essay. They may take the lead from aggregator developers, but it would be easier to defend them if they were steadily adding useful features to their products.
Phil Windley: "Wouldn’t it be ironic to use the technology that Hatch is out to destroy to challenge and beat him?"
You're hearing from a customer who isn't happy with the service or product. Either the customer is right or the customer is wrong. You have to decide which it is. Suppose you decide the customer is wrong, but the customer is actually right. You've now taken a serious chance of losing the customer, and it's possible that the former customer will tell other customers or potential customers that you suck, not only do you give bad service, but when you do, you don't make it right.
Now, suppose you assume the customer is right and you give them a new one of whatever was wrong, and apologize for the screwup, and thank them for their continued patronage. Having been given what he or she asked for, and having been vindicated, and received gratitude, the customer is glowing with a magnanimity that is greater than it would have been had you never made the mistake. You win, big.
Okay, now flip it around. Suppose the customer is wrong. They're just human, it could happen. Suppose you assume the customer is right and give them a freebie and an apology and a thank you. It's likely that the freebie didn't really cost you anything, or not very much. Cost of goods ain't what it used to be. Most of the cost is in time, and you'd spend as much time arguing with them, as you would by giving them what they want. And I don't care what you say, an apology and a thanks costs nothing. You can always be sorry and thankful. Always, no matter what, even if you're being scammed and know it. You can be thankful that this person is leaving your place of business sooner than if you argued with him.
The final case is the customer is wrong and you say they're wrong. In this case you're the most screwed. This is one angry mofo and you don't want to hear what they're going to say about you. You don't even want to think about it. Everyone in your store is going to wonder why you don't just give them what they want so they will leave and they can all get on with what they came to do -- spend money.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Before I forget. I'm reading an excellent Stephen King novel on audiobook, the voice work is fantastic. There are two main characters, Rosie and Norman. The parts about Rosie are read by Blair Brown, and she's great. The male voice has sort of a down-east twang to it, but he sounds like Ed Cone (who's from North Carolina) but also sounds a little Bronxy. Anyway, I didn't look to see who it was until just now, and it turns out to be Stephen King himself. He's very good at this. Anyway, the thing I didn't want to forget is that Irving R. Levine makes a surprise appearance, by reference. Who is Irving R. Levine? Well, if you don't know, no amount of explaining will do. Happily, he's still alive.
New header graphic. Vermont cows.
Wes Felter: "I have long wondered how creating new formats or new versions of formats can reduce the problem of format proliferation. Now I see that it works by disowning the old versions. Good luck with that."
Lisa Stone looks at the speaker list at the AlwaysOn conference.
Blogger dinner in Capetown tomorrow.
Wired: Blogs Taking Off in Cambodia.
Six years ago today, the bees were back, and Be went public.
5/17/83: The First Idea Processor.
Reading Lisa Stone's piece above, all of a sudden I understand why the BlogHer conference is both a good idea, and unfortunately necessary. Not enough women have leading positions in the tech world, at least according to the people who choose speakers for industry conferences.
There's only one problem with this is -- the conferences are obsolete, and being chosen as a speaker at one of these conferences and accepting the offer, may not be the big award it appears to be.
I'd love to see some pictures or movies of the hallways at AlwaysOn. Now imagine that was what was going on in the meetings. Vibrant conversations. Chaotic interchanges. Now, let's see if the women have equal standing. (I'm not saying they do.)
Now look at the people sitting in the room. They're reading Scripting News on their laptops. If you are reading this at the AlwaysOn conference, cough three times. (Assuming they have wifi in the auditorium.) Send me email if you heard anyone else coughing.
Jeremy Zawodny asks when blogging will peak. He says the advertising model is set. Of couse I have an opinion about this.
First, I don't think blogging will peak, any more than the telephone will peak. It's a fundamental way of communicating, if it goes away it will be replaced by something exactly like it.
Second, what is a blog? I know this is a long tiresome question, but it matters. The distinction between blog sites that have ads and those that don't is probably a bigger distinction than between magazines that have ads and blogs that have ads. A blog without ads is itself an ad, interesting to a small number of people. Blogs with ads, like their print counterparts, strive to be as broad as possible, to reach as many people, and in doing so, lose their value as an ad for the author.
Advertising may be the thing that's peaking. The old model of advertising. How come no one ever asks if TV-style advertising is finished? I think it is.
They say that when Business Week says the method of capitilizing companies has fundamentally changed, that's a highly predictable sell signal (in other words, the market is about to crash). Maybe, in a similar way, this event signals the peak of blogs.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Still pictures from today's drive -- cows; and more!
A movie of Vermont cows, doing what cows do everywhere.
Just checked in with Steve Gillmor. He's heading out to the AlwaysOn conference in Palo Alto. Say hi to all my west coast friends. Don't take any wooden nickels. And don't let any mosquitos bite your butt!
Meanwhile in Seattle, Chris Pirillo is one of the lucky few who gets to test out Boeing's new in-flight wifi service. Smart idea to let bloggers try it out. You think they might get some publicity that way?
Phil Torrone's pictures on the Boeing flight.
I gave money to the EFF in their first year, and have supported all their initiatives, until they sided with the tech industry on content modification, and that's where I think they parted ways with the interests of bloggers. Now they're asking for the support of bloggers. You might want to give this some thought before you automatically give them the support they seek. Maybe ask them to help us define what's allowable content modification and what's not. At this point, the EFF hasn't been willing to answer the question, they just evade it, dancing around like a Republican spin doctor (when they're being nice) and telling us "tough shit" when they can't be bothered. If we're going to help them pay their bills, they should pay attention to our interests, maybe even represent them. And let's see if the EFF can respect that someone might have a different opinion than theirs, and engage in a little discourse instead of personal attack. That would be a first step.
An example of how the EFF was discussing this issue with bloggers can be heard in this IT Conversations podcast, where Cory Doctorow lectures Robert Scoble (and that's being kind), basically says "tough shit" to every concern Scobe raises. That's just not acceptable. Yeah let's stand up for our digital rights and tell the EFF to try again.
NY Times: "Should the St Louis circuit attorney demonstrate that Larry Griffin was wrongly convicted, it would be the first proven execution of an innocent person."
David Berlnd, a reporter, really knows his stuff and takes the time to put together accurate stories. But he's taken some comments here and on Scoble's blog and blown them up and put them back together, incorrectly. No one ever said it's okay to lie, David. Check out my statement of integrity for Scripting News. I suggest revisiting this after a bit of time. Blogs work, for a reason, and maybe you should try to understand before condemning our methods. No need to burn bridges that were so carefully built. Okay?
Paolo: "Apparently Bloglines lost all my subscriptions."
Boston Globe: "President Bush vowed yesterday to fire anyone in his administration who is found to have ''committed a crime' involving the disclosure of a former covert CIA agent's name, seemingly redefining the grounds for dismissal the White House had pledged when the case erupted in 2003."
Just a guess that "committed a crime" is different from leaking the identity of a CIA agent, in time of war, in order to discredit a fomer official who exposed the lies that were the pretense for the war.
Monday, July 18, 2005
The OPML Roadshow comes to California on Aug 20 at the Hillside Club in Berkeley. This is the largest venue so far, it can hold over 200 people.
Tomorrow's a travel day, Cambridge to Burlington.
Ed Cone: "From 24 Google hits to mass market in about the time it takes to have a baby."
Frank Barnako: "Podcasters, your 15 minutes of fame is up."
Just in time for Doc Searls's first podcast.
Mary Hodder: "People are really saying some very, very strange things."
We'll be dressing for the opening festivities at FU-Camp 2005.
Glad to see Jeff Jarvis pick up my soundbite from yesterday. "They take longer to get it wronger."
The article I wrote about yesterday is out, it's in the Washington Post, and while the author doesn't credit Apple with inventing podcasting (good good) she does repeat a theme we've been hearing more and more -- that mainstream media is over-taking the founders of the medium. A premature conclusion. Apple certainly is tilting the table in their favor, but what if, for the sake of argument, MSN, which has even more flow than iTunes, were to go the other way? Or Yahoo? Or CNN? The fact that Apple is moving so deliberately in one direction suggests that a competitor may take advantage of that, or realizing that they're leaving a lot of turf uncovered, Apple may, in Month 2 or Month 3, tilt in the other direction. If you study the history of technology, you'll see this is how it often goes. The press tends to see things in terms of corporate size, and very short term effects, but the market moves according to its own logic, at its own pace, if it didn't there never would be new products, like podcasting, for example.
Mike K: "This is the second time that HackingNetflix has been dropped from Google, and I am going crazy trying to figure out why."
Wow, there's a Chinese BloggerCon in Shanghai, Nov 5-6.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Jason Calacanis wrote up the OPML roadshow meetup in NYC.
People's Daily: Up to 25,000 layoffs expected at H-P.
The next Chapel Hill blog teach-in is July 23.
Meet the Press may have some news this morning. Time reporter Matthew Cooper promises to tell what he told the grand jury about what Karl Rove told him, followed by former Rove deputy and Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman, former Clinton chief of Staff John Podesta, and Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Meet the Press airs on the east coast at 9AM Eastern.
On a second read, Mark Cuban does miss the point of podcasting. Here it is Mark. Listen up. Podcasting is great because I can do it, without any expensive hard to use equipment or software, or expensive licenses. I have done webcasts, we had the necessary software and licenses when I worked at Berkman Center. Even so we could only serve a few people at a time. But I can podcast without anyone's permission, and thousands of people can tune in at very low cost. I just record an MP3, link it into a RSS feed, and upload both to a server. Done in minutes, and I didn't need any help. If he would just do a podcast in which he says how stupid podcasting is, he would figure out why it's not stupid, while he's doing it. He would be (will be) a fantastic podcaster, when he just tries it.
If you edit out the emotional parts of David Berlind's response, what are you left with? He tries to refute what he calls "shooting from the hip" with an appeal to reverence. Sorry I don't share his reverence for professional journalists. They take longer to get it wronger. Why would I revere that?
An experiment. I was interviewed by a professional reporter on Friday while I was at Starbuck's in Harvard Square. It was a 1/2 hour interview. After five minutes, I commented that I'll probably just get a soundbite in the article, if that, so why go any further? She said she wanted to make sure she got it right. Okay, I haven't seen the article yet. When it appears, I'll link to it and this comment. Let's see how accurate the story is, and if the time we spent on the phone made a difference. My guess is that it'll be another Adam Curry Invented It story or maybe this time it will be an Apple Invented It story. Maybe that's the next lie the pros are going to propogate?
Another point. I can't tell you how many times I've done the 1/2 hour interview, and at the end, the reporter asks a question that indicates that they didn't understand a single thing I said, or aren't accepting it. Perhaps they think everyone they interview is a Watergate spy, and if they can crack them they'll win a Pulitzer or something. Or perhaps they just aren't listening and could have written the story without the interview but want a soundbite so it appears they did a deep investigation.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Pictures of random people at the Cambridge Common today.
If you like movies of cute babies, then you'll like this one.
Interesting NY Times piece says users are throwing out PCs rather than try to get rid of spyware. I have the same idea, but can't bring myself to do it. One of the contributing factors has to be the high price of Windows. I think it would be a good idea to "pave" my laptop to get rid of the spyware. That is, re-install the operating system. Only one problem, my laptop was delivered with the OS pre-installed, and no CDs. So if I want to re-install, I guess I have to buy a copy of Windows. Seems that costs about $350. Almost the cost of a new computer. This just doesn't make sense. I'm a legal licensee of the OS. I think I should be able to get a copy to re-install for the cost of the media. Am I missing something?
Meanwhile Scoble is getting some grief from ZDNet's David Berlind. I've gotten this kind of grief myself, and it's based on a big misunderstanding. I'd rather make a mistake and have it corrected within a few minutes, than spend two weeks researching something and still get it wrong, as most reporters do. Further, I don't have the two weeks, so the choice is to take a chance or not get the information at all. I'll always err on the side of taking a chance, and always add a grain of salt to everything you read here (and everywhere else for that matter). Now I understand what Scoble was saying when Michael Gartenberg was criticizing him. Scoble is doing the right thing. They should try to understand how he works, because it produces much better results than the system Gartenberg and Berlind are advocating. Demonstrably much better.
Expedia heard about the problem, and is working on it. Not sure if they read about it here, or if their internal systems uncovered the problem. I kind of hope it was the latter.
Two years ago, UserLand transferred the copyright in the RSS 2.0 spec to Berkman Center where it was re-published using the Creative Commons for-attribution share-alike license.
Jay Rosen: "The brutalizing of McClellan was no recovery of courage by a suddenly-awakened press.It was the Bush team’s bald assertiveness coming into conflict with truth collection in the criminal justice system, which has exposed a seamy story that journalists themselves would have kept hidden because it involves their confidential sources."
7/18/03: "Not only do I make mistakes, but sometimes as I'm making them, I know I'm doing it."
Going to lunch the other day in Lexington, as I was leaving my parked car, I passed a group of very young people, probably around 15, smoking. I recognized it. They were talking, but the real thing that was going on was the smoking. They held their cigarettes awkwardly, toked the butts tentatively, guarding against a cough, not quite liking the strange taste of the drug. As I passed, I wanted to say "You know it's going to be hard to quit that later, and it's likely to cause a lot of pain and unhappiness." But I didn't. I remember that didn't mean anything to me when I started smoking, at roughly their age, in roughly the same way. Either you're going to smoke or not, and either you're going to stop or not, and someone telling you something can make a difference, but not under those circumstances. So I didn't say anything.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Daniel Shorr: "The underlying issue in the Karl Rove controversy is not a leak, but a war and how America was misled into that war."
I may have found the perfect Cambridge hotel. It's a high rise with a great view of Boston, the Charles River, Harvard and MIT. It's on Memorial Drive, so walks can be uninterrupted by traffic, for miles in each direction. And next door is a Trader Joe's and a major chain computer store. Free wifi. What more could you ask for?
Jim Moore on Web Super Services.
I've tried all the online travel agencies, and up till now Expedia has had a virtually unblemished record. There have, of course, been a few glitches here and there, but mostly I've been happy with the service. Until today, when they put me on hold a total of 2 hours over four separate calls, and all I wanted to do is change hotels. Each time they had me jump through a new hoop till I finally said enough. Cancel the reservation or don't, but if you don't, I won't be back. That's where we are now. The hotel was glad to accomodate, they're sold out, and were easily able to replace me as a customer. I've booked a new room at a more suitable location. But it seems Expedia may charge me for the room, anyway. Arrrgh.
Alex Bosworth's view of Atom as compared with RSS.
Jon Udell comments as well. Of course any innovation in Atom could easily be applied to RSS, since, as Bray points out, Atom can be a namespace, and (something he doesn't point out), RSS 2.0 accepts elements from other namespaces.
Last night's OPML roadshow meetup in Cambridge was another kickass meetup. Great group of people, the demo went smoothly, a couple of glitches here and there, but the power of the ideas and software came through. I definitely have to do one of these in California, probably some time in mid-August, possibly at Stanford, in the East Bay, up in Marin, or all three?
David Weinberger: "Graphically it's very simple."
I guess you've really arrived when the NY Times calls you "cranky." Last time they called me an "irascible gadfly." I guess this is progress.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Movie taken through the front window at Starbucks in Harvard Square.
Everyone's saying that Mark Cuban went negative on podcasting, like they say I "chastised" Apple, but in both cases, they're reading it wrong. Mark just put podcasting in perspective. No one would say that I am negative about podcasting, but I agree with him. The opportunities to make money from podcasting are misunderstood, much in the way people misunderstand money and blogging. You can make a lot of money off both activities, but not the same way as you would from radio programming or news writing. My podcast is an ad for me, it explains who I am and what I think. That could make me millions of dollars, or make me nothing. I believe in setting expectations for technology realistically, and not over-hyping. We saw in the 90s how it goes when people are unrestrained in hype. Better to try to figure out what's really going on and that's what Cuban is doing, imho.
Yesterday I saw a movie about Enron that Cuban was a producer of. Perfect cautionary tale about expectations out of control.
Doc Searls has a roundup of what happened to all the cool airlines. "You know what USAIR stands for? Unfortunately Still Allegheny In Reality."
Scoble: "Bloglines is building a better index and, at the end of the day, that's what's gonna matter."
A long-overdue story about the podcasting community directory. Not enough people are aware of how it works, I always assumed when the time came people would look and be blown away, but I should have known that people only see what they expect to see. That's cool, I'm the same way. But there's more to the podcasting community than first meets the eye. I learned that last night, at dinner with a friend who's deeply involved in RSS, who wasn't aware that the podcasting community had done something remarkable about organizing itself. It's a bit of a dense read, but I promise it's worth it. So if you can clear about 10 minutes, there's possibly a mind bomb for you at the end of the link above.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Hey there's a MacWorld Expo in Boston this week. Weird coincidence.
Yesterday's surprise mystery guest was John Sculley, former CEO of Apple Computer.
Salon: "George W Bush say he won't comment on an ongoing investigation. Funny, it didn't seem to bother him before Karl Rove was in the hot seat." I noticed that too.
2PM Eastern: Arrived safely in suburban Boston area.
If you're in the Boston area on Thursday and want to see the OPML Editor, come by Berkman Center at 7PM. Open to the public. Bring your Q's.
I'm still getting lots of email, every day, about the podcast re Audible and DRM. Got one this morning that says their RSS feeds don't work with iTunes 4.9, because of the DRM. I tried to explain to the CEO how the design of podcasting rejects the entire concept of DRM. He didn't want to hear it. Instead he wanted to tell me How It Is. Hah. Apparently he's hearing it now, just two weeks later. Sometimes it pays to listen, and not talk so much, when a former customer explains why your idea doesn't work. He probably understands, even better than your competitors. A company that insists on talking when that kind of information is coming over the pipe is one without much of a future.
Reminds me of the greatest TV line of all time (TV shows aren't really famous for great lines). The West Wing, of course. Amy Gardner the beautiful and sharp-witted Washington operative, sitting on Josh Lymon's front step, waiting for him to return from some major Presidential crisis (we know what it is but he can't tell Amy), surprises him. Flirty small talk, then she asks why he never kissed her when they were in college together at Harvard. He delivers a long, soulful, well-intentioned soliloquy. You want to say to Josh, shut up and kiss her already. Right when you think you can't take it any more, she interrupts. "You know what," she says. "Enough of you with the talking." And she kisses him, and then walks off, leaving Josh about the plotz he's so in love. (Us too.)
NY Times: "Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, perhaps Silicon Valley's most famous venture firm, will announce that former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is joining the firm as a part-time partner."
Last night's OPML roadshow went off without a hitch. If I have one regret it's that there's too much to demo, but there's not much that could be cut without sacrificing some major part of the understanding. There was a Linux developer in the room, so that's good, and Jason Calacanis asked some great questions, so perhaps there's a publishing empire that will come on board. The room was comfortably filled, with a peak of about 35 people. A memorable night.
Britt Blaser, who lives 3 blocks from Ritchie, was there last night. He's an outliner guy from way back. He and I both saw Doc's comment last night, and now I can say with confidence that while today's OPML Editor isn't all that 1986's MORE was, in many ways (networking and blogging) it's much more (pun intended).
Fran Babiss's rendition of the Wave Diner.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
I've arrived at Ritchie for tonight's OPML roadshow, and a special guest (a surprise) got here before me. We posed for a picture. For ten points, who's the special guest?
Notes for OPML roadshow demo in NYC, tonight. This is the same demo outline I'll use in Cambridge on Thursday.
Breakfast here tomorrow.
BBC: "This site provides information about and links to BBC open source projects. It lists projects developed by the BBC where the source code has been released as open source."
Video of Adam Curry's Gnomedex keynote.
Jason Calacanis asks if you delete someone's feed when they die? I think you do. I also delete cell phone listings. I did it a couple of years ago when my uncle died. It was a sad moment. But I'm never going to call that number. His last girlfriend got his cellphone. He was a neat person. I left his blog where it was when he died. Added a note saying he was gone. I'll keep it going as long as I can.
On this day two years ago, Chris Lydon's "spoken word tour" of the blogosphere continued with an interview of poet Jim Behrle.
Doc on Technorati. "Technorati's failings have done a lot to cost some users faith in the service. There are still outages and breakdowns."
Fortune: "Podcasting combines the best aspects of TiVo and blogging."
Russell Holliman started what became a fascinating thread on the Podcasters mail list. Apparently Odeo is repurposing feeds and they make casters jump through hoops to "claim" their feeds. Holliman says: "I didn't ask to be there." Yup. And Odeo isn't on the community mail list to participate in the conversation. At some point these companies will realize that their plan to suck the podcasting community into their gated world didn't work, and the smart ones will come be part of the community, or better yet, spawn from the community. Evan should know this, that's how blogging took root. Where's his podcast? And why isn't he on the podcasting mail list?
BlogCritics: "The White House Press Corps came roaring back today, discovering the Is Karl Rove Guilty of Leaking a CIA Operative's Name story -- just nine days after most other media began reporting it."
I just listened to an hour of Morning Edition on WNYC, the NPR station in NY, and there was no mention of the scandal brewing with Karl Rove. They did mention the First Lady's trip to Africa, and the Senate decision to reinstate funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which was in jeopardy because of their supposed "liberal bias."
Cunning Realist: "In the unlikely event that Bush did not know until now that Rove was involved, isn't the fact that Rove did not admit to this before now --- despite the publicly-stated desire of his boss for the leaker to come forward --- itself gross insubordination worthy of immediate termination?"
Monday, July 11, 2005
Important note: If you're coming to the OPML meetup tomorrow evening in NYC, you must sign up. Mike at Hacking Netflix is handling the details.
A slice of life in RSS-land after Apple joins the fray. "Our artist name and show description aren't showing up in the iTunes Podcast Directory. What do we have to add/change in our RSS Feed to make that work?" Ahhh. Apple doesn't talk to its users or the community, so we can't help. No one knows how or why. He goes on. "Our webmaster has sort of disappeared so three comedians and a monkey are trying to learn how to do this stuff." Sounds like our so-called industry!
Note that the People's Daily of the Communist Party of China has RSS feeds, and they play by the rules. They're self-declared revolutionaries, the party founded by Chairman Mao himself, committed to the overthrow of capitalist running dogs. They didn't feel a need to reinvent RSS, they went with the defacto standard, they do it like everyone else who came before. Now they don't have to communicate about it. No one cares if they don't get it. Their stuff works just as well as the NY Times or BBC feeds. And that's the way it's supposed to be. Now why does a group, just because they come from Silicon Valley and happen to work for Steve Jobs, think that everyone should change the way they work just because they decided to read podcast feeds and have a directory, and don't want to do it the same way everyone else does? I say fuck em if they can't play by the rules. I'd like Apple to implement an element that says right up front, this feed does not work with iTunes. I'd be the first to put that element in my feed, so that anyone who wants to know why my feed doesn't work with iTunes need look no further. It doesn't work with iTunes by design. Please consider that a feature request, Steve.
It's really great to see the press finally press the White House on Karl Rove's crimes. Isn't it clear by now that he's going to jail? Isn't it high time they cut their losses. And they should never have been allowed to hide behind the reporters unwillingness to expose sources. The Bush control of the press may finally be crumbling and not a moment too soon.
Salon puts it so well: "Whatever becomes of the grand jury proceedings, this much is clear: Rove revealed the identity of a CIA agent for the president's political gain." And if you're a bleeding-heart conservative pussy apologist for the right wing, you've got a lot of explaining to do if you don't also call for Rove's head. Treason is a big crime, esp in time of war. Imagine the hissy fit Hannity and Limbaugh would be throwing if Ted Kennedy had leaked the name of an active CIA agent for political gain. They'd be screaming for his head.
The Independent: "The BBC has been lambasted by classical music labels for making all nine of Beethoven's symphonies available for free download over the Internet."
Silicon Valley Watcher: "I was surprised by how aggressive Technorati was in its pitch because it has a very good standing within the blogging community, a community that bristles at the thought of others commercializing its work."
Rebecca MacKinnon: Mr Behi podcasts from Iran.
Jake McGee: "Still no iTunes love."
BBC: "Will the heirs to Pink Floyd be discovered on podcasts?"
Lots of comments on yesterday's post about the AP's hypocritical warning to bloggers. Turns out there are lots of pieces like this lately among the ink-stainers. Vestigial thinking. One comment stood out, from Ellis Golub, re an anonymous editorial in the Chronicle for Higher Education. "It appears that having an extensive online record can be as disqualifying for some, as an exstensive legal publication record is for some judicial nominees." I guess in a world where everyone is a public figure, the rules about fading into the woodwork apply equally to everyone. We live in serious times. Don't get caught having an opinion, could be dangerous.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Mark Cuban on podcasting. Smart guy. Right on.
Kosso: "There is now a Flickr Missing Persons group for people missing after the attacks in London yesterday."
I will lead a discussion at the next Berkman Thursday meeting, July 14 at 7PM. The topics will be OPML, podcasting, and any thing else people want to talk about. Thanks to Shimon Rura for arranging this. It'll be the first such meeting I've participated in since leaving Berkman about one year ago. (Seems a lot longer somehow.)
Brent Simmons's comments on the OPML Editor, which he did indeed play a big role in implementing, long before NetNewsWire. After Boston, I'm going to look for a nice spot with Internet access and a nearby lake, either in New England or Canada, where I can spend two weeks creating a public release of the OPML Editor. It's time. Of course when it's released it will still need fixes and new features, but it will also have a very convenient update mechanism.
Let's add another topic to Tuesday's meetup in NYC. Got a podcasting question you want to talk about? Bring it with you on Tuesday. Several people have asked if you need to RSVP, and what about security. So far as I know you don't need to RSVP, and the security people in the building lobby will know about the meetup.
Steve Garfield is hosting a Meet The Vloggers thing at the Apple Store in Soho tonight at 6PM.
Rebecca MacKinnon samples the Muslim blogosphere reaction to yesterday's London bombings.
ABC News Online has created an interactive map of the scene of the London bombings for the Google Earth software.
Audiofile is "the magazine for people who love audiobooks."
This movie is still really funny.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
A new Gillmor Gang. Just in time for tomorrow's walk in the park.
Scoble interviews Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Engadget is looking for the best mobile RSS readers.
RSS Weather has OPML files for every state. Here's the one for Wisconsin, and here's what that data looks like in an OPML directory. Speaking of weather, we have a flood watch for NYC tonight and tomorrow as the remnants of tropical storm Cindy pass over.
Editorsweblog: "Continental Airlines and American Express have launched their own RSS feeds, alerting consumers to special deals."
Kosso reports on
BBC: "Two people have been killed and scores have been injured after at least seven blasts on the Underground network and a double-decker bus in London."
Search Engine Watch has a list of sources for real-time news on the London bombings.
Josh Trevino: "I sit in a terminal at Edinburgh Airport. I am London-bound in one hour. A crowd is gathered, rapt, about a flatscreen that has been repurposed from displaying departures information to Sky News."
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
William Gibson: God's Little Toys.
Financial Content is using the category element to extend RSS. I had not seen that done before. Seems an okay way to do it.
MarketWatch: Advertisers try RSS.
Jon Udell lives in a textarea. So do most bloggers.
McDonalds: Worldwide Wireless Connectivity Locations.
What a way to go. L Patrick Gray disappears for 30 years, then pops up again, at 88, to say he's heart-broken that Deep Throat turned out to be his deputy at the FBI, then he dies.
Truth stranger than fiction. President Bush chose a TV actor to help pick a Supreme Court judge. Maybe he'll go for one of the wise-cracking bail-setting judges on his show on the high court. Or maybe McCoy. Or surprise everyone and choose Lenny Briscoe?
Marc Canter for the Supreme Court? If so, the medical marijuana laws are constitutional, for sure!
I have an automated tool that cleans out comment spam from all my sites, every hour at the top of the hour. The tool, when it starts up, looks for a file that contains a list of keywords to search for. So when a new spammer pops up, I just add its name to the list and save it. Of course the list is in a public spot, and I thought at some point I'd share the list.
Next Tuesday, July 12, at 7PM in NYC, we're going to have a conference-room style meetup to talk about OPML, publishing, knowledge, scholarship, news and the World Outline.
It'll be both user-oriented (with demos) and technical; and may serve as a prototype for future meetings in other cities.
Steve Smith at Ritchie Capital has generously offered the use of their 38th floorconference room (great view of midtown skyscrapers, including the Chrysler Building). A fairly inspiring location. 747 Third Ave (at 46th).
The meetup is open to all Scripting News readers and their friends.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Driving pics: US-17 on July 4 in North Carolina.
Netcraft reports a vulnerability in PHP implementations of XML-RPC that can allow arbitrary code to execute on the server.
In the last few days, while I was driving from Florida to DC, the Mac blogging world decided I was angry with Apple and threw a massive hissy fit about it. Sigh. I'm not angry with Apple, I think they could have done better (and maybe they will), but sheez, so could I, and so could you.
I didn't see this obnoxious ad in InfoWorld's feed because I unsubbed before the ads got this big. I could see where they were doing, and I totally didn't want to go there with them.
I'm starting to use the category router for Scripting News. You can the result by looking at the RSS source (look for category elements). You can see my taxonomy, in an OPML file, of course. This is a built-in feature of the OPML Editor, currently in testing.
Richard MacManus: "Technorati is on a roll."
BetterBadNews: "A gun is a bullet-sharing program."
New header graphic.
Monday, July 04, 2005
On this day in 1776, we decided we had enough of King George, and didn't want to live in his company colony any more, and told him he could take his empire and shove it. They're still a little bitter about it over there, but it turned out pretty well over here, more or less.
Now here's something really cool. Yes, they have RSS feeds, but they also have podcasts. I was just thinking about this. Someday, I figured, you'd be able to tell the computer "I'm driving to Williamsburg today, download me some podcasts so I can prepare." That way your visit can start before you get there. Well, it seems that it happened sooner than I thought. Another thought -- this is another reason it's so important that hotels have Internet connections. And of course it makes total sense to subscribe to the feed of a historic place you have visited and enjoyed.
NY Times story on Greensboro blogging.
2/10/05: Greensboro in a podcast.
Boston Globe piece on the new John & Jim RSS fund.
Marc Canter: "I'd like to know what the Technorati business model is."
I've had the same thought, Marc. Why is Technorati so busy making headlines, when they should be figuring out what they want to be when they grow up, and then becoming that, asap. This weekend I did a feature for the OPML Editor that will make a big diff to Technorati. Like Apple, they're too big and too busy to notice. But they have plenty of time to try to turn OPML into a "legacy" format. (How insulting, how arrogant, how unlikely.) Their priorities are set wrong, they're fighting battles they don't need to fight, and not seeking to improve things for their users and most important, shareholders. If I were an investor in Technorati, I'd ask why Live 8 is so good for me, and how about making the servers work, and why aren't you keeping up with a lot of the changes on the real live web that you're supposed to be tracking?
An Italian student wants to know if the Creative Commons license allows him to translate the RSS 2.0 spec to Italian and publish it. I'm not a lawyer, but I think it does.
Om Malik notes that RSS search engines, like HTML counterparts, can be spammed.
I asked the Replay folks to add Skype call recording to their product, and they did, in less than a day. This is important because, while Mac podcasters have had an easy way to record Skype calls, Windows users have not. If you try it, let me know how it works, preferably in a blog post (so I can point), and I'll pass on your experience. (Just noticed the 2-minute limit. Oy. That spoils the whole thing.)
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Insert standard disclaimer here.
If you want to say something to Podchef, stick it in your...
Replay Radio has become a podcatcher. And even better, I'm their featured podcaster today. Hey thanks for the love. I was a Replay user for a while, couldn't get it to run conflict-free on my laptop. It's great to see them support podcasting, it's a perfect fit for their users.
BTW, these posts come to you from the Flying J truck stop just south of the North Carolina border in South Carolina, USA. They have pretty good wifi, not great. I couldn't connect in the coffee shop, but am able to from my car. And it's not free, $20 per month. Not too expensive either. (And I didn't mind getting out of the coffee shop, they let people smoke in restaurants here. Yukkers!)
Back before MCN was a podcast, it was a blog post. I'd wake up with ideas, brew a pot of coffee, and go to the computer and transcribe. Today I return to the tradition.
Yesterday's podcast was about a tech CEO whose customer was "wrong" because he posted about a problem with the company on his blog. Read Jeff Jarvis's history with Dell for a clue about this. It's an echo of my trouble with Compaq, in 1999, which I called cruel and unusual punishment. "Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, check this out. You have less to fear from Sun, Netscape or AOL. Your worst enemy is in the corridors of Redmond. Go set up one of your own boxes. Do it all yourself. Your eyes will open."
I had similar experience with Dell, that led me to Compaq, and led Compaq to the dumpster, and surely will lead Dell there too, eventually.
Every company, not just tech companies, needs to have a presence in the blogging world, someone whose feet are planted both in the network outside the organization as well as inside. This is where the NY Times missed the boat with Daniel Okrent, they hired someone who could talk inside, but didn't act as a conduit for perspectives coming from outside (which is most of the world, even if it doesn't seem so from inside).
Only Microsoft and perhaps Yahoo have this. Even Google can't be accessed over the web, and definitely not Apple. Jobs's personal image is based on scarcity. Rather than listen to blogs, he tries to shut them down. To win on a bigger level, Apple will need a counterpart, someone from and in the blogging world, whose image is based on ubiquity not scarcity, like Scoble for Microsoft. Everywhere you turn, there's the Energizer Bunny, saying you're right, we suck, but we're trying to do better. Eventually he wears people down, especially people inside Microsoft, who then try the medicine Dr Scoble prescribes, and finds it not only tastes good, but it works. Of course Apple has such an alter ego to balance Jobs's, his name is Woz, but he's from a previous generation, and they don't listen to him any more than they listen to you or me.
A friend of a friend who works at Apple says they're aiming to be the next Dell. If Apple succeeds at overtaking Dell, and we see no reason why they shouldn't, their operating system may still dazzle, but users will fume. Until another Dell emerges, run by a kid from a dorm room, a kid from the 21st century, not one from the 20th.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Today's MCN is about Audible, DRM, Apple, podcasting.
Ha! I'm glad I put up that bit about Audible this morning, because the same idea is in a piece in tomorrow's NY Times by Randall Stross. "Apple's decision to add free podcast subscriptions to its store shelves creates potential problems for another supplier: Audible, Apple's exclusive supplier of more than 17,000 audio book titles for the iPod. At its own Web site, Audible sells the audio books, either a la carte or as part of a subscription bundle." Exactly. DRM-be-damned, if you won't provide the content the users want, the way we want it, then the users will create it for themselves. No wonder the big guy was so pissed! I love it. Then Stross predicts that podcast pioneers (that's gotta be me) will have our hackles raised. It's the other way around dude. The barriers came down. They ain't going back up. It doesn't work that way. (The ink-stainers always predict they'll put the genie back in the bottle.)
Ethan Zuckerman: "Africa’s a continent. Not a crisis."
The definition of too-good-to-be-true. Karl Rove was the source in the Valerie Plame leak? If only.
Six years ago today: "Can we agree on a single content syndication format? I've spoken several times this week with people from Netscape on the next step with RSS and scriptingNews formats. I proposed that we agree on a single format, and a loose way of moving forward in the future."
If you like the Beatles, and who doesn't, at some point you run out of new tunes, but maybe not so fast. After they broke up, they kept producing, John Lennon did Imagine and How Do You Sleep at Night, and of course there's lots of great Paul McCartney tunes, even the ones with Linda McCartney aren't all that bad, and George Harrison's career blossomed when he got out on his own. But did you know that there's a great Ringo Starr album, that's almost as much a Beatles album as Abbey Road or the White Album. Ringo is a great musician, but he had a gift for bringing people together, and his 1973 album has some great music. Try Sunshine Life for Me written by George Harrison. "Sail away Raymond, sail away." Other songs by John Lennon, Randy Newman and of course Paul McCartney. "You're sixteen, you're beautiful and you're mine." Also appearing on the album: Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, Steve Crooper, Harry Nilsson, Jim Keltner, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Marc Bolan, Klaus Voorman and Vini Poncia.
Notes about the category router that was released to OPML Editor testers today, with screen shots. Note that there are already apps that feed off these elements, notably Technorati's tag routing system. Someday perhaps Apple's podcatcher will watch for these.
DailySonic catches Apple caching our podcasts. Not cooool.
One year later, Marlon Brando is still dead. :-(
Here's some sexy RSS badges, Madge.
My bleary eyes read this headline as "Podmaster General..."
Doug Kaye's plan for IT Conversations.
I've started driving. This is coming from a truck stop in Brunswick, Georgia. And already I'm having flashes of insight that I only get when driving. Try this one out. When the guy from Audible attacked me (no other word can capture the aggressiveness) was he missing that I was more than just a customer who got tired of DRM -- I had created a new way of distributing audio that was immune to DRM. I wonder if Steve Jobs has figured that out. Maybe he likes it. In any case, it's getting to be time for driving podcast. Haven't done one of those since podcasting hit the stratosphere.
Also, I really need to get the community server component of the OPML Editor running on Unix. Talking with Rogers about this yesterday, I realized that it doesn't have to be a huge job, just port the Frontier kernel to Linux and you get the whole thing across with one codebase, and any improvements on Mac or Windows automatically port to Linux. Back in 1998 people were able to get the compiled binary to run under WINE, but now that Frontier is open source, that can be done much more reliably. I hope some Unix C coder decides to take this on.
Speaking of bridges, now that I've read David McCullough's history of the Brooklyn Bridge (great book, highly recommended) I look forward to taking a walk across the bridge on my upcoming visit to NYC.
Scoble thinks I missed the power of OPML and my editor. I kind of doubt that. Last night I started working on the category router. Wait till you see that one. It's pretty cool.
Friday, July 01, 2005
Today's Morning Coffee Notes podcast is about the process of creating format standards, the story of Microsoft and RSS 2.0.
It's looking like we'll have a meetup in NYC early the week of July 12, to demo the OPML Editor and talk about applications that are possible with the new tools. This meetup will be for users and developers. It looks like Ritchie Capital will provide the facility (on Third Ave in the 40s). Mike from Hacking Netflix is coordinating from the NY end.
Kosso has hacked his way into the background in the OPML Editor, with my blessing. He's in Monterrey, taking a geek break from his lovely California holiday.
BBC: "Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to serve on the US Supreme Court and a crucial centrist, is to retire."
Jim Posner thinks I'm the Ghost Dog of the blogging world.
Netcraft: "But what about security?"
There's a lot of buzz about the RSS fund being started by my former colleagues at Berkman. I'm glad for them because they deserve it. But people are saying it's the first fund that's focused on RSS, but that's not actually true. I spent the better part of an hour talking with Brad Feld at Gnomedex, he's invested in Feedburner, Technorati and Newsgator, and would probably say that his fund is exclusively focused on RSS. Today, to be focused on RSS is the same as saying you're investing in software and data products. RSS is the conduit, it's actually kind of hard to invest in RSS per se (it's a free good), but if you're doing stuff with data these days it's probably got something to do with RSS.
BTW, a couple of years ago, after having an excited talk with Jim Moore about starting a VC fund for RSS companies, I bought a domain to celebrate. This is one I won't mind selling to the highest bidder.
Adam Curry: “Subscriptions have dramatically increased across our entire PodShow Podcast Network, and I predict over the coming months that iTunes will introduce tens of millions of new listeners to the world of Podcasting.”
It seems Apple must have had one of these for AC.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.