Wednesday, August 31, 2005
The catastrophe that hit New Orleans was predictable, and in fact, it was predicted. A sufficiently strong hurricane, even one that struck a glancing blow, was enough to break the levee and flood the city. When I was a student in New Orleans, there was a story going around that during hurricanes the National Guard would patrol the tops of the levees, because the police from neighboring parishes would blow their neighbor's levee, so the flooding would happen over there instead of over here. No one is saying that's what happened this time, but they should figure out why the levee broke where and when it did, if the water topped the levee and then eroded it out, or if it was helped along by someone with a shovel or a bit of explosive. Don't think it can't happen. New Orleans for all its charm and beauty is one seriously fucked-up place. The looting is as much the spirit of the Crescent City as the jazz funerals and good food and les bon temps. Racism is a tradition. You can't walk around the city, no matter what your race or economic status, without feeling it. It's one of the first experiences for a visitor to the city who ventures out of the tourist sections.
Houston Chronicle: "As many as 23,000 refugees at the Superdome prepared to board buses and head to Houston's Astrodome today even as hundreds of others arrived from New Orleans on their own, exhausted and desperate, only to find they won't be allowed in."
A Nikon camera with built-in wifi should be a cause for partying, however, according to David Pogue, "it only thumps the earth instead of shaking it."
Brad Neuburg: "You are invited to try out the San Francisco Coworking space this comming Tuesday, September 6th!"
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Lines at Atlanta area gas pumps grew along with prices this afternoon as word spread of possible fuel shortages."
Staci Kramer is looking for a way to convert a wiki into OPML.
Tulane's website has turned into a blog.
Fair question: "How is it that today, nearly four years after 9/11, we have no cohesive plan to deal with the region's refugees, the potentially one million American citizens without work or a home or basic care?"
Comment: The writer above is absolutely correct that, if we were prepared, the response to the aftermath of Katrina would be further along by now. Responsibility however is not with the administration, it lies with the electorate. We had a chance to make last year's election a referendum on the politics of terrorism, to seriously evaluate our preparedness, if we really cared. If anything is learned from this, we have to think, we can't delegate. We need leadership that cares, not in a superficial way. That leadership must come from us. We have some very huge decisions to make right now, and many thousands of lives depend on how well we do. That said, I have few ideas of things we can do other than give money to relief agencies, which of course, we are doing.
Weather for New Orleans. High of 91, forty percent chance of thunderstorms. The airport is now open. Good news.
Times-Picayune on lawlessness in New Orleans. "What I want to know is why we donít have paratroopers with machine guns on every street."
They also report that the uptown Children's Hospital is under seige.
People's Daily: "As Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on Monday, experts said it could turn one of the United States' most charming cities into a vast cesspool tainted with toxic chemicals, human waste and even coffins released by floodwaters from the city's legendary cemeteries."
On CNN, Aaron Brown asks what the city will look like when the water recedes. The correct answer, which he did not get, is that the water isn't going to recede. The only way to get the water out of the city is to pump it out, after the levees are fixed. In the meantime, the water isn't receding, it's going the other way, it's rising.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Houston Chronicle report on the aftermath of Katrina.
NY Times: "Rescuing New Orleans will be a task much more daunting than any city has faced since the San Francisco fire of 1906."
The moment the magnitude hit me was when I heard that the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway had been destroyed. To put that in perspective, it would be like saying the George Washington Bridge in NYC was gone; or the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.
Consider that as many as a million Americans may be homeless. They tried to repair the broken levee and failed. The flood water in New Orleans is rising. The situation is getting more out of control.
Yesterday I said that New Orleans had averted disaster. It wasn't so. The disaster people have been worrying about for decades has happened. The governor of Louisiana, interviewed on Larry King, has no idea what to do. This problem is out of reach of spin.
American Red Cross RSS feeds.
What can we do to help Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama?
The New Orleans Times-Picayune has switched to weblog format for breaking news. Brilliant. It's inevitable that all news organizations will make this switch. They also have an RSS feed for breaking news.
Seth Godin explains RSS.
Ziepod is an "easy-to-use toolkit to reach and manage audio-based content published through podcasts."
Scott Rosenberg: "There's something to be celebrated about a small Norwegian software company that sticks to its guns, stares down the giants and keeps improving its product." Indeed.
OPML at Harvard? Waaah, I wish I was there! Between you and me, this is why I wanted to go to Harvard two years ago, to help bootstrap exactly what the Berkman folk are doing now. Maybe we can find a way to team up Harvard and the University of California?
According to the mayor of New Orleans, 80 percent of the city is under water, as deep as 20 feet.
NY Times: "Apple Computer and Motorola plan to unveil a long-awaited mobile phone and music player next week that will incorporate Apple's iTunes software."
Monday, August 29, 2005
SF Chron: "Google may not, in the end, crank out the best product or knock its competitors out of the ring. Its quick rise, even by Silicon Valley's overnight standards, has earned it a reputation as arrogant. Check its thin-skinned dictum forbidding employees from speaking to Cnet news reporters because the news service dared to Google the firm's president and print the results."
Dave Jacobs is walking for PKD.
The Conservative Party of Canada is podcasting.
Mike Keller, a resident of Biloxi, Mississippi, stands in the rain while mooning Hurricane Katrina just after dawn August 29, 2005.
Cringely: "What if search and PageRank and AdSense are Google's corporate apex."
NY Times photo review of Katrina.
Back in the Bay Area, everyone seems to be getting ready for the Web 2.0 conference, which of course I helped name. Hehe. Anyway, I would love to go but it's probably too close to the Greensboro blogging unconference. What a difference in perspective. Silicon Valley is still mostly about Silicon Valley. Wouldn't it be better if it were more about Greensboro and other cities that are reforming around the technology? How many people at the Web 2.0 conference have even heard of Greensboro, and what's going on there? Wouldn't it be great if the SF Chron and SJ Merc were adopting the technology? When they do, will they proclaim leadership, or will they learn from their North Carolina colleagues? Knowing Silicon Valley (as I do, there's nothing like coming back after being away for 2.5 years) they'll probably think they invented it.
Fall blogging events in North Carolina.
2/10/05: Greensboro in a podcast.
Dan Farber writes: "Some recent journalism grads working for the Sun Herald, the Mississippi gulf coast's newspaper, have an ongoing blog with some real-life writing."
The Blog Herald gets the scoop of the century. This site is finished. You can stop reading. It's now officially irrelevant. What a relief. I was getting tired of all that relevance.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Ernie the Attorney: "I tried to leave New Orleans today at 12:30 pm but after 4 hours of driving I had only made it 15 miles. I was alone and tired so I decided the safe play was to return. It's kind of sad when the 'safe play' is to go back and wait to be pounded by the gnashing fury of a Category 5 hurricane."
Kaye Trammel is blogging Katrina from Baton Rouge.
Pet Peeve: The name of the city in Mississippi is pronounced Bi-lux-ey, not Bi-lox-ey.
The NOAA is doing podcasts.
A couple of basic Mac questions.
Rogers Cadenhead is looking for people who are blogging Katrina from Louisiana or Mississippi.
Interesting that there are still plenty of rooms in New Orleans on Expedia, and the prices are normal.
NY Times: "The city is surrounded on three sides by water, and lies below sea level in a bowl-shaped basin. Pumps would fail if the storm surge of up to 25 feet overwhelmed the city's levees."
Hurricane Katrina is now a category 5 storm.
Live coverage of the hurricane from WWL-TV in New Orleans.
Fantastic: Scoble goes to Google
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Hurricane Katrina takes aim at New Orleans, a city that is dangerously vulnerable to a category 4 hurricane. It is entirely below sea level, when you walk along the waterfront, you look up at the Mississippi River. The city is being evacuated now.
SciGuy: "New Orleans will fill up like a fish bowl."
American RadioWorks: Hurricane Risk for New Orleans.
National Hurricane Center RSS feed.
TechCrunch: "Google Talk works and it looks and sounds cool. Itís now the 15th IM client on my desktop."
I'm going on a Labor Day car cruise on with Scoble & Son. Where to go, where to go? It's gotta be somewhere close to The Silicon Valley, like Monterey or Sacramento. Maybe Marin or Santa Cruz? A railroad museum? Fry's? Is there a new Spiderman movie?
Doc Searls: "I can't code, but I can make a helluva cappuccino."
Mary Hodder likes Google Talk, but...
Om Malik: "The record business is split into two camps -- one that wants price of downloads to stay at 99 cents, and the boneheads."
Speaking of the online music biz, here's why Kleiner-Perkins invested in Podshow. First, a caveat, this is just tea-leave-reading and wild speculation. OK, as reported here in June, Google has an iTunes clone in the works. Probably works great with cell phones, unlike iTunes itself which works great with iPods (of course). KP has the inside track because they have a Google board seat, and Doerr is architecting the whole thing anyway. Enter Podshow, which gets a sweet deal with Google to provide the first apps and content for their iTunes me-too, all the while in bed with Uncle Steve on iTunes. Instant mini-bubble, Podshow goes public, Adam and Ron retire to Miami, and KP pockets the profits.
Friday, August 26, 2005
I signed up for my Mac account -- scriptingnews at mac dot com. Go ahead and send me some mail. Haven't gotten iChat to work with Google Talk yet (tried, but got confused). Okay it's a pretty nice machine. Starting to grow on me. I wish I could tell it to treat the Control key the same as the Command key that would cut down the brain farts by about 98.23 percent.
Spanning Salesforce 2.0 "lets you track new and updated leads, opportunities, cases, escalations, and documents in Salesforce.com using RSS."
You know what would be really cool. An office in Silicon Valley that was open 24 by 7, with pizza and coffee, for open source projects. A patent-free zone. A place to work on open formats and protocols. The missing social pulse of the tech industry. I wonder if it would work, or if it would just attract homeless people. Thinking out loud.
Natalie Holloway. Bombshell news? How many Americans and Iraqis have died while the US media has been obsessing about a young woman who's missing in Aruba. Why isn't this a major story on one of the networks. I'd love to know how they made this programming decision.
Tim Bray: "95% or more of the population hasnít yet encountered DRM, and when they do, they arenít going to like it."
Megnut: "The Beatles broke up before I was even born."
Rex Hammock: "...a trajectory, not a destination."
Cory Doctorow: "PodShow is a new service that talks music labels into licensing their music for free playback on podcasts."
Marc Canter has an old picture of me wearing SF 49ers glasses and with a dumb grin on my face, and one of his twins in the background. You can tell it's an old picture because my beard is brown (not gray) and the kid is really young (they're tall strapping young men now, not really kids anymore). I had dinner with Marc on Wednesday in Berkeley. I've been reading his blog all along, about how he wants my help with microformats, and I would be happy to help if we could find some way to factor out the reputation-bashing. He said on his blog today that he'll help soften the blows when they come. A very small number of people have been able to keep progress at a snail pace. It would be easy to route around them, if there were a will to do so. Marc tells me that he has such a will. So we'll give it a try, first with something small and not too ambitious, and then see if we can build on that.
BTW, when the bashing stops, I'll stop talking about the bashing. And if you don't want the finger pointed at you, stop attacking and stop threatening people. Every day I hear new stories of more back-channel bullshit. Marc told me a few chilling stories, people saying if you don't attack Dave, we'll attack you. Something seems to be changing now. I'm willing to try coming back to the Bay Area, to try to create new formats, protocols, and processes for working together. But none of this can happen as long as the attacks continue. So if you get an email from someone who says they won't work with you if you work with me, you can point them to this post, and say they ought to have the guts to make a positive contribution, that you've had enough of people cutting good people down. Call the bullies on their cowardice.
In the future I'll be able to search for a laundromat within 5 miles of my hotel in the same shopping center as a Starbucks. When the load is done, the washer will send me an email. The user interface will be easy because I'll be able to pay with my ATM card which will already be linked to my blog, which has a mailto link.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Webzine 2005 is a "real world, face-to-face celebration of independent publishing on the Internet." September 24-25.
Rebecca MacKinnon: The World Reacts to Robertson.
Libsyn has published an OPML version of their podcast directory.
Geek News Central: "Good idea bad implementation."
What Rex Said: "I was confused by this at first, but then I remembered I grew up a Southern Baptist."
Doc Searls: "It doesn't matter if most 3G bloggers don't produce quotable stuff that changes the world. It does matter than they can, and that there are millions of them."
BTW I pointed to Scoble a lot last week because I was hanging out with him. That's often the way blogs work. Not sure why that signals the end of everything. I'm sure Scoble will get a kick outta that. Point to Scoble and... die!
2/18/95: "Every new website begets more websites. If I have one, I want my friend to have one, so I can point to it. And so they can point to my site. Someday I'll be able to walk a network of friendships, automatically knowing that each of us has mutual friends. It'll be cool."
Start the day over in Ed Cone Land. He's got some great stuff.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Pictures: Point Pinole Regional Shoreline.
Here's the official guide for today's hike.
Today's podcast is a story about Google and News.Com and Mexican kids who might make Eric Schmidt crack a smile, maybe even laugh!
My favorite sandwich these days. Go to a Subway. Six inch, whole wheat, ham and cheese. Go for swiss if they have it, pepper jack otherwise. Mayo and mustard on both sides. Cucumbers, spinach, hot, sweet and bell peppers, sweet onion sauce, salt and pepper. Perfecto! Leaves a nice hot burning taste from the peppers, and a satisfying veggie workout for the stomach. Not too full. Ready for action!
This is the kind of advice I've been getting from Mac users. Good stuff. You know, based on the rah-rah's from developers who are probably too scared of Apple to say what they really think, I thought everyone else thought Apple was the perfect company and the perfect computer. That's the downside of people being too scared to speak up, we get shitty information. How can we change this system, so that people aren't so scared? Or can we get Apple to thicken up their skin a bit, and learn to not punish people who have the nerve to criticize them. Blogs were supposed to fix all this. Frankly I think it hurts Apple to just have rah-rah public discourse and commentary.
In my experience the leading companies with super-thin skin: Apple, Google, and by far the worst -- O'Reilly. It's so funny people think they're so cool and not-evil. These are the biggest control freaks in the computer industry, again, in my experience. We were joking about Google at dinner the other night, with their policy of not talking to CNET because they had the nerve to print some public information about their CEO. We really need to do something about this. It's a gross ugly disease. Compared to these companies, Microsoft is positively laid-back. You can quote me on that. (And Google used to be the best. One person made all the diff.)
At this point there's a 87.6 percent probability that I'll spend the rest of the year and the first part of next in the Bay Area. I've found a nice apartment in Berkeley, right in the middle of things, in an area they call The Gourmet Ghetto. That means I'll be part of the Bay Area tech community again, but from a different geographic perspective. Berkeley is a People's Republic, just like Cambridge, Mass. It's near a big airport, that's a big difference from the beach in Florida which is three hours from Orlando, and two from Jacksonville. I'll be more mobile here. I've got quite a network here, ready-to-go. Will this be good for the OPML project, good for podcasting and RSS? Without a doubt.
I've been working with my father putting his book, The MBA Toolbox, on the web. He wrote it as a business school professor at Pace University in NY. He's retired now, but has experienced a creative renaissance in his work on the web. I'm really happy with the way the book came out and was happy to work with my dad on this project.
Scott Rosenberg: Google's Windows-only world.
Google's Instant Messenger. Big Yawn. Why should anyone care?
Wow, it seems I'm not alone in hating Safari, and nowhere near as alone as I thought in my dislike of Apple. Everyone says IE on Mac sucks too, and to get Firefox. So that's what I'll do. Report to come soon. Thanks everybody! (Wish I had known this when I ran into Steve Jobs on the street in SF. I would have told him to shove his arrogant superior attitude where the sun don't shine. Oh well.)
Tim O'Reilly explains why they put search engine spam on their tech sites. "Rome Hotels, Phuket Hotels, Jack Daniels, Cuban Cigars. Not terribly relevant to programmers, but certainly not completely irrelevant."
Meanwhile the O'Reilly guys are giving Phil Ringnalda grief (or trying to) for not checking with O'Reilly first before running the piece about their search engine spam. Apparently there's an "ethical discussion" to be had about this. Classic Republican neocon tactic -- change the subject, point the accusing finger at the source of your pain, and get everyone to talk about what a nasty mofo he is. Sometimes they even use a proxy like a former author who's embarassed because he criticized the boss. It's so utterly obvious what happened. Some random ad sales guy down in the bowels of oreilly.com got over-zealous in an effort to make his quarterly or monthly numbers books a few extra bucks from a seedy search engine spammer. All it would prove is that O'Reilly doesn't walk on water. I'm sure Tim still hopes he can pin this on Phil, or even better, me. (No I didn't call him to verify.) Heh. It'll be interesting to see how this thing winds down. Having caused me a bunch of grief in the past, it's actually fun now to watch the shoe on the other foot. Tim, hope you're enjoying it too.
Rogers Cadenhead: Pimping Your PageRank for Profit.
I just spent a few minutes playing with the Mac. Our OPML Editor needs a bunch of work, I can see that right away. I really dislike Safari, I so don't care for their choice of sites to feature and the feeds they chose are all the predictable ones. Where's the Home icon. I would love to be surprised and see some blogs in their default choices, geez, I mean they did get all this free IP from us, but they're so into big companies. I really really dislike Apple. Sorry if you love them -- I don't. Steve Jobs has a lot of nerve telling Dean that they're copying them, when they're doing such a poor job of copying us. Maybe I'll come around, but I kind of doubt it. Do they have a version of IE for this thing? I'd much rather use that than Apple's browser.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Apparently while I was being a tourist in Berkeley, Google was making their Jabber server public, maybe, or maybe some folks are leaking. Hard to tell. Jason Calacanis likes it. Phil Torrone was able to connect. I like that it's Jabber because my software knows how to talk Jabber. Should make some interesting connections possible in Instant Outliner Land? Time will tell.
Steve Gillmor: "Ray Ozzie becomes the first FOO to cross party lines."
Again, a lite-post-day, over in the East Bay, hanging out visiting friends. On Thursday I'll head down to the south bay, then -- not sure where the wind will blow me next. Maybe a massage retreat. Maybe Burning Man. Hmmmm. Maybe a Seattle nerd-out? I had a very interesting breakfast on Sunday with Ray Ozzie. Lots of ideas in the air. It's a good thing he was at the OPML Roadshow. Another idea in the air is a meta-BloggerCon, a very small off-site-size conference to discuss its future. Maybe that would be a good thing to do over Labor Day. Mary Hodder, what do you think? Doc Searls? It's definitely an idea to explore on the west coast or maybe in a distributed fashion around the globe.
Yankee: New England Foliage RSS Feeds.
Phil Ringnalda: O'Reilly search engine spam.
Alex Barnett has been having fun with Flickr.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Alex Williams nails it. "A place to call camp may be an actual artist/ blogger colony."
Pictures: Indian Rock in Berkeley, CA (With Sylvia Paull).
Wired: Barring None, Geek Camp Rocks.
What were your experiences at Foo and/or Bar?
Greensboro is hosting a blog unconference on October 8. I'll be leading a discussion on tools.
8/17/04: BloggerCon for Newbies. "We don't have speakers, panels or an audience. We do have discussions and sessions, and each session has a discussion leader."
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Scoble notes that Microsoft CTO, Ray Ozzie, was at last night's show. It's the first time Scoble has seen a C-level exec at a non-Microsoft geekout.
Dan Farber was at the Berkeley OPML Roadshow.
Rogers has posted the chapter on outlines from his Radio book.
Mike Arrington was at last night's OPML Roadshow in Berkeley.
Movie: The scene at BarCamp.
Pictures: Saturday night at BarCamp.
Sitting in my cube blogging the scene from BarCamp, the sounds around me made an interesting document. So I turned on my sound recorder.
Sylvia Paull was the host of tonight's OPML Roadshow in Berkeley, which was the biggest show yet, very lively, bright people, great discussion.
Jared Hanson was at the Berkeley roadshow.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Here's a movie of the crowd at the Hillside Club.
Scoble's blogging Barcamp. Sounds awesome. But I did the right thing, it turns out, by staying at the hotel this afternoon. Slept right through. Had weird dreams about Bay Area driving (I hate the drivers here, more on that later) and driving over the Triboro Bridge in NYC. Even though the dreams were vivid high altitude dreams (weird because I'm at sea level now) I feel very rested and ready to kick some OPML butt this evening. I think it's going to be webcast, if not just filmed. One way or the other there will be a record. Off to Beserkeley. See you on the other side of the bay!
Les Bain will be there tonight. Unfortunately Woz will not be there tonight, nor will Tim O'Reilly (he is welcome to come, of course). We're still hoping Ray Ozzie will be there, and I just heard that Wes Boyd who started MoveOn.Org will be there. Cooolio!
Great must-read column by Frank Rich in the NY Times.
Ooops, I just checked in with Mike Arrington who's over at BarCamp and he says it's quiet there until 3PM, so maybe I won't make it there after all. If I went at 3, I'd have to leave for Berkeley as soon as I got there.
Sorry for the light posts. It's been a whirlwind weekend, up in the city for meetings, then down the peninsula for family stuff, then in Palo Alto for dinner, never made it to BarCamp, too much schmoozing at dinner. Today I have to get some exercise, then head up to the camp, then back up to Berkeley, and on stage for the fourth OPML Roadshow at 7PM, followed by dinner with all the OPMLers. Whew. Tomorrow, I sleep, for sure.
Cliff Gerrish will be there tonight.
I'm in a coffee shop in Palo Alto with Robert Scoble, Steve Gillmor, Chris Pirillo and a bunch of other geeks. We're having deeply philosophical discussion. Scoble just said he's changing the name of his comments on his blog to The Mud Pit. Very nice!
Friday, August 19, 2005
Just talked with Matt Mullenweg. We're both going to BarCamp tonight in Palo Alto. I want to talk with Matt about doing an API between the OPML Editor and WordPress. He asked if that would just be the Metaweblog API, and I said, yes, it could be that, but that doesn't capture all the data that's in an OPML doc. I think we should look at doing an open API between these two GPL programs.
What Rex Said: "RSS is underhyped."
I snuck into the Blog Business Summit in San Francisco, we're getting a demo of Movable Type 3.2.
Bela Labovitch: "This is an early version of a search engine that exclusively maintains and searches OPML files."
At lunch today with Scoble and Dean Hachamovitch we spotted Steve Jobs leaving the restaurant. We all went out and shook his hand. Don't think he knew who I was. He was giving Dean shit about how they were copying all their features in IE7. It was fun!! Didn't get a picture, unfortunately.
Tod Maffin: "In my day job I'm a producer with CBC Radio. About 5000 of us were locked out Monday because of a labour dispute. I thought you'd be interested to know that I've set up a place for listeners to, essentially, still listen to their favourite shows even though they're not on the air."
Pics: Scene from Starbucks on Fourth & Mission in SF.
Om Malik: "Philadelphia is inching towards realizing its WiFi dream."
Kevin Newman: "It is true that coffee that is roasted for a shorter time to a lighter color has more caffeine than coffee roasted longer."
David Czarnecki: "That's about the best software/platform misspelling mashup I've seen yet."
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Pictures: Self-portrait wearing a Blojosxm t-shirt.
Can't get this song out of my head.
File this under unconfirmed but curious factoids. I heard, in a Toronto coffee shop, that mild coffee actually has more caffeine than the strong stuff. The barista said they roast the beans longer to make the coffee stronger, and in doing so, boil off a bunch of the jolt. I don't know if it's true or not, but I've been getting the milder stuff since and enjoying it more.
My comment spam keys file is getting pretty big. You're welcome to use it in your filtering of comment spam.
Peter Forret: "What's so great about a photofeed?"
Ed Cone: "You can blast away at Sheehan all you want, it doesn't silence the questions she has come to represent."
Tim O'Reilly: "Why we canít invite everyone..."
Scoble: "Tim O'Reilly taught me to live the Foocamp life and for that I will forever be grateful."
Me: I think Foocamp is a bad idea, esp now that we know that everyone has a veto, and if you dare complain you won't get an invite. That sounds like Stalinist Russia, or Animal Farm, not a free and open exchange of ideas. It's too much about pleasing one very quixotic and sensitive person. I'd like to see a list of people who are too outspoken to get an invite -- that would make a good group of people for an open retreat. Another problem is that they try to do open standards work at an invite-only event. Can't work. Forget it. It's like Davos, only much smaller and cheaper. In the end it's only as good as the guy who picks the people. If he lacks guts, the meeting is all about Gee whiz look who's here! And not about doing stuff. My opinion only. Of course I'll never get an invite, but if I did, I wouldn't go, as a matter of principle. I think if you go you're a tool. Hi Tim.
BTW, I have done three conferences that were open to everyone, and the most interesting people were the people I didn't know and therefore would never have thought to invite. Seriously. The stars of each BloggerCon were new people, to me. Of course some of the people we sought out were pretty great too! My philosophy is open the doors wide and see who walks in. Exact opposite of the exclusive invite-only format. Come to the OPML Roadshow on Saturday for an idea of how that works.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
8:45PM Pacific: Arrived safely in Truckee, CA.
Michael Markman: "I started my computer marketing career at Apple, where we made a fetish of humanizing the language and look of technology. If Apple -- in the latest version of its browser -- has no problem supporting RSS under the name RSS, I take that as a reliable measure of the fact that the term RSS is safe for human consumption."
Cameron gets it. "RSS is just what is commonly known." Bing!
Forbes: The Rise of RSS. "Take a look at the online sites of any major media company. You will see hundreds of these icons offering RSS."
Russell Beattie: "I must be a bozo!" Me too.
Thanks to the guys at the front desk at the Fairfield Inn in Sparks for letting me find a hotel using their Internet. They offered me coffee and cookies and were very helpful and enthusiastic.
Watch the myth that I am president of UserLand spread all over the place, because one reporter made a mistake, now it's being repeated. So much for the great fact-checking at professional publications.
Today's a travel day. I'm headed west from Park City. and expect to get half-way to San Francisco tonight, stopping somewhere in mid-Nevada, and zooooming into the Bay Area sometime on Thursday afternoon.
TechCrunch: "What a weekend great to be in the Bay Area." Amen!
It is going to be a great weekend. My parents are visiting the Bay Area from NY. Maybe we'll do a podcast. And the doors of Bar Camp and the OPML Roadshow, both in the Bay Area, are wide open. I'll be at both. Maybe even host a geek dinner at my favorite Bay Area geek dinner restaurant? Yummy!
PS: Exclusive events suck. Even so, I think we'll have one, but it'll be defined by the people who are not invited. Everyone else is welcome. It's just a joke. Pretty funny, eh? Hehe.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
I'm pretty sure my servers are infected with this worm. They've been rebooting all weekend at weird times.
Amyloo: "Eventually the meaning of a name comes around to equate to the thing it names, and sheds any other initial associations, bad or good."
Business 2.0: "What if Google wanted to give Wi-Fi access to everyone in America?"
Business Week: "Apple took too long to file a patent on part of its blockbuster iPod music players, so Microsoft beat Apple to it."
Chris Nolan: "Cindy Sheehen's timing is good. Her message clear. Her determination touching."
A story that begins with the price of Macs in Toronto.
BAR Camp, "an open, welcoming, once-a-year event for geeks to camp out for a couple days with wifi and smash their brains together."
I love Ponzi.
Re this Computerworld piece. First, I am not president of UserLand Software. That is a mistake. I haven't worked at UserLand for over three years. And I would like to retract and apologize for saying Microsoft and Google are being "childish." That wasn't fair and I shouldn't have said it. However there is new data in the story I wasn't aware of, and it makes Microsoft's rebranding even more inconsiderate and ill-advised, if the story is accurate, and that's a big if.
Blogger for Word: "Use Blogger right within Microsoft Word."
Feedster Top 500. "Each month, Feedster brings you a list of 500 of the most interesting and important blogs."
Scoble makes the rounds in Silicon Valley. A geek dinner every night.
Nick Mudge: "Just as early automobiles looked like horseless buggies, many news websites look like and work like their paper equivalent."
The last episode of Six Feet Under is coming next week, and you gotta wonder who dies. Yesterday it looked for a while like Claire had been killed, but not. Will there be spinoffs? How do you end a series like this without killing off the whole cast? I'm going to miss this show, really. But then they just announced this will not be the last season of The Sopranos, after all. Whew. It would have been too much to lose both in one year.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Podcasting News: "Podcast has been added to the OED."
NK News: Random Insult Generator.
Steve Gillmor: "If I have to choose between Dave Winer and Microsoft picking my pocket, I'll go with Dave every time."
Scoble: "It's so much easier to evangelize things that have a philosophy."
Greenspun: "What is the best way to get podcast items into the car?"
That's not what's actually happening. It's framing ipodder.scripting.com, which is where ipodder.org lived when I was running it (and paying for its upkeep and bandwidth, btw, not that they gave me any stock for helping them start up). I redirected ipodder.scripting.com to scripting.com after they moved it to their own servers. I guess somehow ipodder.org has reverted to its original content, it's an error, not a gift (although it occurred to me that Ron & Adam might want to square up, no such luck).
Roger Strickland: "I'm guessing the Podsafe Music Network is what Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia are really interested in growing." If that's it, then I'd fully support it, as long as they don't replace one set of ripoff deals with artists with another set.
What Rex Hammock Said: "Let me tell you about the time in 1996 when I asked a group of 300 business owners to raise their hands if they had their e-mail addresses printed on their business card. Less than ten did. I guess from that research, I could have assumed that e-mail was not catching on with people who run businesses."
On this day three years ago: "Thanks to the gang at O'Reilly for being such good friends."
Update: Still walking a consistent 40 minutes a day, still not smoking. Haven't lost all the weight I'm supposed to lose, but I feel reasonably well, and my numbers are decent. Sleeping at high altitude is, as always, pretty strange, the dreams are vivid, it's hard to get to sleep and stay asleep. Today it's a bit overcast and downright cold. Wearing a sweater in the middle of August. Three years later, we're back in a cold war with the O'Reilly people, I'm not sure what changed, but it was still nice to get the get well card and flowers from them, they were the only ones in the software industry that paused that way. I think it's probably because they lost one of their own to heart disease, and wish their guy had survived it, as I did. I still feel gratitude three years later.
RSS Extensions is a wiki for discussing RSS extensions.
Jim Moore: "Kleenex may have seemed strange at first."
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Digital Producer: Podcasting -- Art vs Commerce.
Last week two podcasting companies announced investments by venture capitalists and angel investors in Silicon Valley and Boston. The investors must have some idea what businesses the companies are in, but we're no wiser after the announcements. What do you think?
One of the cool things about being in the Mountain Time Zone is that Meet The Press comes on at 8AM. One of the cool things about being in the mountains is that when you wake up it's in the low 60s.
Scoble: "A few people get physically ill when they read my blog."
Doug Kaye: "Chris and his team have launched what may be the last of the old-time public-radio programs, and theyíve aimed it right at the middle of the black hole that will swallow them and the rest of public radio: the Internet and podcasting."
Scoble responds to my post of yesterday about Microsoft's naming of RSS. I guess I touched a nerve, and that's okay. Let's get it out in the open, I think we both agree that's the best thing to do, that's the weblog-ish thing to do. Unfortunately his post also unleashed some trollish abuse in his comments, so I'm going to respond here.
The XML icon on Scripting News has a tool-tip that's visible when you hover your mouse over it. It says "Click here to see an XML representation of the content of this weblog." The XML icon in other contexts has the same function, but it might show you OPML, if it's a better way of representing the content of the page, as is the case in a directory, for example. It might even be used, totally legitimately, to link to an Atom feed, as well.
It was chosen at least in part because your CEO, Steve Ballmer, was touting the benefits of XML to end users in the press and at conferences. It seemed weird to me that this XML thing was so popular, but so hard to find. I wanted to give it substance, that's why I chose this icon. Also because I didn't see RSS as the only format that would ever be used to back up HTML. As you know I urged Microsoft to just use the white-on-orange XML icon, as others do, including most of the major publications that support RSS and quite a few of the technology companies.
So, while you imply that this is an inconsistency, I want you to know that a great deal of thought went into it, and that decision was made long before Microsoft was involved in RSS, but at a time when Microsoft was very much involved in XML. Surely your company can understand this logic, and why not just support it so we can be consistent. That's an important point a lot of people miss, it's not just important that one company be self-consistent, so as to build a sensible model for users, it's just as important that we all get and remain consistent, as much as possible.
I have pointed out many times that there are two sides to Postel's Law, and both sides make sense. I believe that "be conservative in what you send" applies to all of us. New formats that do the same thing as old ones are not good because they are non-conservative. It's reality that we have to live with them, because engineers resist cooperating, but we shouldn't encourage it. And that goes equally for concepts we introduce to users. Users have only so much attention they're going to give to us. The more noise there is, the more we lose their interest.
So that's why, when Ballmer was pounding his fist on the table saying "XML all the way. XML, XML, XML," he put the ball in play, and I just picked it up and ran with it.
You know, Scoble, when you used to work for me, I asked everyone on our team to watch the movie Any Given Sunday, to show how much we need each other to be successful. No team can get very far with just one star. Sooner or later we're going to lose a game, because that's how it works, and if you don't have a good team, you have a hard time recovering. When I came to visit in April we decided to call what we're doing Team RSS. That's not a Microsoft thing, or a Yahoo thing, or a NY Times thing, or a Richard Stallman, Donald Trump or George W Bush thing. It our thing, and if it's going to work, you can't be the one to tell us how it's going to work. Sure we need leadership, but leadership only works if there's respect for the team.
And if you don't have time to watch the whole movie, check out Al Pacino's speech about dying for the inch.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
OPML Editor: How to edit a post from a previous day.
Reminder: One week from today, the OPML Roadshow in Berkeley, Hillside Club, 7PM. Open to everyone who's interested. Non-exclusive event. Also I've had numerous requests to live-screencast the meetup. If anyone can help with this, it would be a great addition.
Kevin O'Keefe is moving his company to Bozeman.
Julie Leung is serving Blogher Bouillabaisse.
Got a bunch of emails from venture capitalists who read Scripting News about the post re Libsyn. That's good. They ask why would Libsyn make a good investment. Answer: No matter what podcasting grows up to be, their service is going to be needed. And while I haven't met the individuals who run the company, I've seen how they've dealt with trouble, they're a class act. Summary -- they picked a starting point that makes sense, they run a high integrity business, and they treat their customers well. That's a business with a future, imho.
Amyloo: "Maybe it would be smart to have comments for a number of blogs in the same community relate to each other in some way, and live in the same place, accessible from one page."
Rogers: "A 400-foot tall waterfall has been discovered in a northern California recreational area."
12:30PM Mountain: Arrived safely in Park City.
Some at Microsoft complain they don't like the name RSS and propose to change it to something they like better. Then Scoble posted a note saying we had learned what CD and DVD mean, no one tried to change those names. Then, reading an article today about Yahoo making a $1 billion investment in Alibaba, a Chinese portal, I wondered why doesn't Microsoft try to change Yahoo's name. It would be easy for the browser to replace all occurrences of the string Yahoo with something like "Web Portal Based in California." And what about Google's name? Change it to "Search Engine with Aspirations in Operating Systems." Now that would be a lot clearer! It goes on and on. Change Quicken to "Commerce company we tried to buy." Oracle becomes "Larry Ellison's database company." Netscape changes to "Crime scene." The hits keep coming.
Then it struck me, like a lightning bolt between the eyes, what about Microsoft? Maybe that name made sense when it was run by geeks for geeks, but geez, now it's an international software monopoly. What's so micro about it? Let's see, what should they change their name to? (See the title of this post for a clue.)
Heh heh heh. Very funny. Microsoft can't change those names because they already mean something, and they'd get hauled into court and would have to pay damages to the companies for trying to undermine their businesses. Now, there's no one to haul them into court for screwing with RSS, which is too bad, because they deserve to lose this case, but they will pay a price, because all their hard work in RSS will be for naught. How can you claim to support a feature when the name of the feature appears nowhere?
They'll learn two important lessons. 1. Don't screw around with things you didn't create and don't understand and 2. If you're serious about working with a community of independent developers you need to build trust, and throwing your weight around stupidly is a good way to destroy trust and to keep developers far far away from you.
Pick your battles, Microsoft. This is a dumb one.
I can just hear the wheels turning at Microsoft, thinking how they'll screw me for daring to have an opinion contrary to theirs. This isn't paranoia, it's really how their logic works. I got to see this from Scoble, who is a friend, but also a member of the hive. He once said to me about some initiative that I was balking at, that Harvard will regret not supporting it because they'll go to one of our competitors. I had a good laugh at his expense, and because he's a friend, I shared it with him.
I told him that Harvard doesn't see things that way. The institution has been around since 1636, has a huge endowment, it's a winner, it's not going away. It's the Microsoft of academia, only more so. If you think Microsoft is arrogant, try coming to Harvard sometime.
In other words, there are some people you can't initimidate, because you don't control them, you have to work with them if you want their support, they don't respond to threats.
Doc Searls got the same pointer I did, to an article on Ad Age's website that suggested that advertising on weblogs may not work because the content on weblogs cannot be controlled.
Doc looked at it one way, basically agreeing with the premise (which I agree with as well, of course you can't control what's posted on weblogs), but I think missed the more interesting angle -- the assumption by advertisers that they can control the content in professional publications.
I've always believed this was somewhat true, that the editorial people read the ads in their publication. Sometimes it's blatantly true, I was once promised editorial coverage by the publisher of an industry magazine if I ran ads. The editor denied it of course.
Back in the 80s when I was spending $50,000 a month on advertising (kind of hard to believe, isn't it) I tried an experiment, changing the ad copy in two publications in very subtle ways, just changing the superlatives I used to describe the product. In one publication I said it was flexible, in the other I said programmable, for example. Sure enough, when the editorial came out in each pub, they used the adjectives I had used in my ads. Exactly the same ones. It was as if they wrote the editorial by massaging my ad copy.
Also it was amazing to me how often my ads ran adjacent to editorial about the products.
All these are indicators, but not proof, that advertisers have at least some control over what appears in editorial.
I even was on the other side of this fence, briefly, at Wired. No one ever told me what to write, but I was at parties where advertisers were present, and I did talk with some of them, listened to their pitches, but usually having listened to a pitch made me wary of writing about their company or product. It didn't mean I wouldn't write about them, just that I was more careful about it.
Friday, August 12, 2005
Fortune: Cashing in on RSS.
I stopped at a really cool rest area on I-15 between Idaho Falls and Pocatello in the middle of a 1000-year-old lava field.
5:50PM Mountain: Arrived safely in Ogden, Utah.
Dan Bricklin: What if VisiCalc had been patented?
Real Soon Now -- the OPML Community Server, the blogging software, membership system, file system back-end and directory displayer. The goal here is to make it fairly painless to set up and administer. I've been working on it in my spare time, between hiking and sight-seeing.
Growing pains at Libsyn. This is where some of the podcasting VC dollars should be going. There's a real business there.
The Hoisting Blues is another opml-newbie theme song!
Scoble: "Before 1990, who knew what a CD was? Before 2000, who knew what a DVD was?"
Thursday, August 11, 2005
I want a set of BitTorrent verbs that run in the OPML Editor.
Ethan Zuckerman: Blown Away by Blogpulse.
Looks like MSN has discovered the power of RSS as a shopping application. More confirmation of RSS as an advertising medium.
A new song: I've Been Workin' On My Outline.
Pictures: Bozeman to Idaho Falls, via Yellowstone.
I got an email from Sable Cantus, saying he's having problems subscribing to Morning Coffee Notes on Apple's iTunes.
Today I'm back on the road, driving to Idaho Falls.
It's been fascinating to watch Jon Udell slowly dropping his objections to podcasting and becoming an enthusiast and now even an evangelist. I remember doing a Gillmor Gang last summer from the press room of the Democratic National Convention, my head buzzing with all the potential of podcasting. I kept wanting Jon to get it, but he kept harping on the no bookmarks or linking thing. Every medium has its strengths and weaknesses. The great thing about podcasting is that you can take it with you, driving, running, walking, where ever, and just let your mind absorb ideas through your ears, which is a very nice way to get to know someone, very different from reading what they write. Where the written word only has the intonation the reader can infer (adding a lot of errors in doing so) and can be skimmed (lowers comprehension by orders of magnitude) the spoken word has great subtlety and subtext, and can seduce, cajole, wink, leer, lurk, and be lewd. Both forms of expression have their place.
Last night I tuned into Aaron Brown on CNN, as I try to do every night at 10PM Eastern. It used to be the last remaining real news report on CNN, but at some point this year, I think, they changed the format to be like all the others. One sensational story, last night it was a jail break and a murder in Tennessee, in May it was a runaway bride in Georgia, and spend the whole hour with pictures and interviews wondering how such an apparently normal person could snap and hurt a few random people in some random place. But people run away every day, many murders happen every day, at the same time there's a stock market, weather, international politics, sports, and by the way, we're at war. All this is relegated to brief summaries from another reporter, usually an attractive young woman, who Brown, who is a real newsman, or was, sort-of flirts with, even though we know he's married and has at least one child, a daughter, who's now a teenager. CNN used to be about news, and when that changed, it had one last bastion of news, and now that's gone. No one seems to be talking about this.
BBC: "Two-thirds of files being swapped on file-sharing networks are video, according to analysts."
Om Malik: "The podcast start-ups of today are like Wine.com today, while Bit Torrent is Cisco of the digital content revolution."
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Steven Livingstone suggests that the AJAX stuff people are so excited about is actually a lot like XML-RPC, which has been around since 1999. The thought had occurred to me as well.
Well blow me down, it looks like the opml-newbies have a theme song.
I went looking for hiking trails in Bozeman today and hit the mother lode. They've got incredible trails right through the middle of the town. This is a green city, totally done right. It's like Palo Alto in the Rockies, where they designed the place before the housing boom, so there's tons of gorgeous green space still there. The smells, the green, the creeks and wild flowers. What a place. I could really see living here. It's weird that there don't appear to be any Scripting News readers here. I haven't gotten a single email, where I was getting correspondence from people in even the most remote parts of Ontario and the Upper Peninisula in Michigan. With so much wifi and so many rich hippies, you'd think this place would be crawling with Scripting News readers. Maybe that's a good thing? Housing prices are quite reasonable compared to Cambridge and California, and there is the beginnings of some of the congestion, but just the beginnings. You can get out of town into spectacular open country in about ten minutes. And a Rocky Mountain ski area is just 16 miles outside of town. Winters are great here too. Haven't found, yet, what the temperature range is.
Just caught wind of this deal, sorry I missed it. Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia have backed Podshow. Apparently it was just announced today. John Doerr and Ray Lane on the board. Podcasting goes VC. No comment, for now at least.
And then Odeo follows with investments from Charles River and a long list of high-tech angel investors.
And Rex Hammock has turned this into a song.
Frontier Kernel: Important bug fix for outline-saving.
Phil Ringnalda: "If you like the sort of content Google News delivers, and especially if you enjoy making a political choice between RSS and Atom feeds, yay for you! Google News has feeds!"
I read this piece on the supposed revolution at the NY Times, and yawned. You'll know they're really jumping in when they let a blogger onto the op-ed page. I don't mean when they give a blog to one of their op-ed columnists, rather when they put someone who is rooted in the blogosphere in a position of power and authority in their midst, someone who can call the Times on their bullshit, in the Times. Until that happens they'll be cloistered, insulated, immune, clueless. I loved the quote from Sulzberger, btw, but it was bullshit.
I've now gotten three emails saying they recently let a blogger on their op-ed page, but that's very very different from having a blogger on their op-ed page. Give a blogger a guest slot, great, if you don't like the piece, you don't have to run it. But if you have a blogger there regularly, then you have to run what they wrote, and that would change the character of their editorial, it would make their regular writers think twice about taking the inexcusable shortcuts they take. Go back and look at the piece Pogue wrote about podcasting on the front page of their business section. They need some regular discipline, some checks and balances, and they aren't getting them. Another one, the ridiculous unanswered piece about software patents by Randall Stross. They've turned into Amateur Hour. Maybe they always were, and I didn't know enough to see it.
And of course let's not forget the big stuff -- they went to war with George Bush without calling him on his bullshit. They need some strong medicine, they've acknowledged it, but they refuse to take it. The stupidity of it is that it would sell newspapers, it would make them money, because they'd become much more interesting. They're just too scared to piss off their world famous reporters, who don't want to be challenged. They could make their paper interesting, but they don't want interesting, they want job security. That's their real problem, that's where they need to embrace the web, and that's what they haven't done.
Anyway, when I write something like the above I'm sure everyone thinks I'm angry, but that's not it, I'm impatient.
I think it's obviously wrong to call people names, like they do, all the time, so I try not to do it. I didn't say Pogue is a jerk or an idiot, I don't know why he writes such idiotic stuff and passes it off as journalism, and why the Times runs it on the front page of their business section. And why a historian like Stross doesn't do any investigation before spouting off on software patents as if they were something new that Microsoft invented. Geez Louise. Does that make you angry? Not me. It makes me want to shake them and say -- get your fucking shit together. I want to give them a talking-to like George C. Scott gave to the cowardly soldier in the great movie, Patton. We don't have time for you to learn how technology gets invented, you don't have a goddam clue, so get back to your basics you so proudly claim to practice. Edit out the idiocy and stop seeking revenge, how about seeking the truth, you know, like All The News That's FIt, etc.
It so totally doesn't matter whether you publish the bits on paper or scatter them over the net, it's the information that matters guys and gals. And courage. Have some. And use the new tools -- minds.
From the mountains of Montana, your earnest correspondent,
Spencer F. Katt
Brian Russell, a young man I admire, likes this kind of shit.
I bet Doc Searls likes it too.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Movie: A train moves outside Bozeman.
Pictures: A thunderstorm builds outside Bozeman.
Pod2Mob: "If you have a SprintPCS phone our software will stream a Podcast to it!"
Greetings from Bozeman, Montana.
Ed Cone quotes Tim Berners-Lee on blogs and wikis.
NPR: Discovery Makes Safe Return to Earth.
Reminder: OPML Roadshow in Berkeley, August 20, 7PM.
Pictures: Badlands in North Dakota; Yellowstone River in Montana.
First the news that everyone's pointing to today.
Now why I'm not giddy with delight over Google News's support of RSS.
It's the same reason I'm not giddy with delight that Microsoft decided to call their support of RSS "web feeds."
Big software companies, or BigCo's for short, just can't leave well enough alone. They always try to fuck with technology they didn't invent, for a lot of complicated reasons I've spent an entire career trying to understand. It's not powerful, or interesting -- it's childish and self-defeating, but it's evident in both BigCo strategies for RSS.
Like it or not Microsoft, the technology is called RSS. If you try to change that, for whatever reason, you will get routed around.
Like it or not Google, the format is RSS 2.0. Look at how your position is eroding. Go all the way, and just give it up, and accept the gift, the way it was presented, without trying to edit, revise, fold, spindle or mutilate.
That said, it's good to see both Microsoft and Google at least accepting RSS in part, if not wholeheartedly, as (for example) Yahoo has.
There's more to say about Google News and feeds.
I'm not sure it's very useful. Why? Well, try subscribing to one of their feeds in an aggregator for a clue. Each item doesn't map onto one story, it maps on to hundreds or thousands. Yet, in their feed they pick one that most exemplifies the class of story.
I immediately unsubbed, realizing "That's just Google News," a service that I don't use much because I had an aggregator before it existed and never saw a need to subscribe to their way of doing things.
So perhaps a different kind of client is called for, and maybe a new format, or maybe there's not really that much value in syndicating something that already is a digested form of syndication? I don't know, I'll leave that to others, because their support of RSS didn't make me into a user of their service.
I was talking with Steve Gillmor last night, and he said he was waiting to figure out what we're doing with OPML. I tried to explain.
Consider this map, showing the route from Billings to Bozeman. That's quite a leap of progress. Last year at this time I could have gotten my computer to show me that kind of route, but I had a choice, either do it offline, and get something with great visual fidelity (meaning it's easy for a human being to grasp instantly, because it's presented so visually); or do it online, and get up-to-the-minute-accurate results but not so visual. So things are getting better. I want them to get better faster.
Now consider this page page on Yahoo Travel with stuff about Billings, where I am right now, as I write this. It's got places to stay (not relevant for me, I already have a place to stay, and I like it), attractions for kids (again, not relevant to me, I'm an adult, traveling without children), everything but the information I want -- where is the great scenery, are there neat places to hike by the Yellowstone River (which runs adjacent to the town), what do neighboring communities have to offer, where can I get a healthy meal with local food that's fresh. Do I know anyone who's here right now, if so, who?
Go back to the map. Why isn't it highlighting the same things I'd like the Yahoo Travel page to highlight?
The answer -- it's only 2005. Give it some time.
But I'm in a hurry. So how can we get there sooner?
First, how could my computer know that I'm interested in neat scenic places to hike, especially hikes that last 1 to 2 hours, aren't too strenuous, and have great scenery and aren't overrun with tourists? Easy -- what do you think I've been searching for and how do you think I've been doing the searching. It knows because that's what I've been asking it for, in my fumbling way.
So it knows what I['m looking for -- does it have it? I think it does. People like me who were in Billings last month and last year and the year before, or who might be here right now, maybe even in the same hotel. Maybe I've been here before and did these searches and found a perfect place and now would like to find another. By now you must be thinking there's nothing profound about this, we all want that, and know it. That's right there's nothing profound, everyone wants this, just watch Star Trek or an Apple video from the late 80s or early 90s. "Computer, tell me where I should go today and what to do, right now, and make it so." This is our dream. This is why we're inventing computer networks, to give us nothing less than heaven on earth.
So, how? I think the answer is to put the tools for constructing data formats into the hands of users. We've been going about it all wrong, coming up with straight-jackets for users, and expecting them to conform to some set of rules that make no sense about how the characters should be encoded, when it's ideas and relationships to other ideas that we want to make it easy for them to express. In other words, we don't know how to capture this data that we want so much, so create a tool for expressing data that at least some people can use, and let them use it, and let them make it public, and then see what kind of crawlers people write, and then learn, and iterate, and try again and again until we're closer to having the information we want at our fingertips, to quote another visionary from another time.
I've been saying this over and over, forever --> create tools for the people with the ideas and then get out of their way. That's what OPML is about.
Monday, August 08, 2005
CBS: Want to be CBS's first podcaster?
OPML Editor: How to get your password emailed to you.
People in North Dakota and even in Montana talk like they're from Wisconsin, you know. With the round O's. And the sweet dispositions. Too bad it's so darn cold up here in the winter time. Of course now it's not cold at all. The weather is just about perfect.
Oliver Stor has blogged in OPML from his Palm.
Hey this is beginning to feel like a community, people are helping each other out. Like all communities with a future, this one has attracted bright, optimistic and helpful people. I know I'm juicing it with flow and link-love, but that's part of my job.
Dare Obasanjo: "The problem with 'Web 2.0' and other over hyped buzzwords is that 90% of the stuff you hear or read about it is crap."
Tod Maffin: "Scoble, I smell conspiracy here! We need you!"
Checking in from a random parking lot off I-94 in Beach, ND. Wifi is getting so ubiquitous and free on America's highways. What a change, in just a couple of years. I've yet to see anyone else using a laptop from their car, but that's coming sooooon. (Shortly after I wrote that, a young guy who looked like a Microsoft programmer (circa 2005) walked into the restaurant with his laptop open and a grin on his face. I smiled, understanding why he was happy, recognizing the pattern.)
Lisa Williams: "A good week to push forward on the OPML Editor Manual!"
I like where this guy is going. We can make that work for real.
BTW, we could use some people with Frontier and/or Radio experience on the OPML Editor support list. I think they're feeling shy, or need an invite, if so -- please consider this an invite.
Microsoft's new network of blogs is so hard to understand it's hard to understand how it could be of any consequence. What would matter, what would be killer, is if they flowed some of their hundreds of millions of page views per day through the existing blogosphere. The unwashed, unedited, politically incorrect, interesting, sphere of people writing about stuff they know and believe in. Instead they're creating a space of nameless corporate writers. Where is the interest in that?
BTW, it's curious that many of the same people who are critical of Microsoft, think that Apple, by casting individual podcasters as "indies" are pushing them out. Don't they see the disconnect? Because anyone can do it, interesting stuff is happening. Corporate content is corporate content, it doesn't matter what technology they use to distribute it. It's dumbed-down. It's dumb.
Phillip Torrone: How to get RSS on a SPOT watch.
Sad news that Peter Jennings has died at 67, as we await the return to earth of the troubled space shuttle.
The NY Times reviews last night's episode of Six Feet Under. I think they missed the most difficult and interesting transition, that of Ruth, the mother, who at first turns to drugs and denial, then negotiation, then acceptance (in an unusual way, she grooms the corpse of her dead first born son), and finally by resuming the role of mother and matriarch, one that she abandoned when she turned to the son who died after the death of her husband. Even the ghost of her husband gets into explaining her process, which was the richest, most complex, and was the focus of the whole series from beginning to now, two episodes before the end.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
I don't get it, why isn't Adam using BitTorrent? Why isn't Apple?
Is this bit about Google and News.Com true? They must have revealed something other than how much Eric Schmidt is worth and how much stock he sold. If so, what? If not, that data is relevant to Google shareholders, and it is a public company.
Hah. The NY Times printed the same information as News.Com. Will Google cut them off too? And of course they don't talk with us (they used to). I guess they don't like criticism either. Rah rah, they like. Definitely not a Web 2.0 company, not even a Web 1.0 company.
Doc offers some clues about radio listening on the prairie. Maybe I'll get up before dawn tomorrow and leave while it's still dark. I'm now on the Interstate highway grid, where the driving is super easy, day or night.
Lowell Sun: "Nobody outside of the fledgling world of the internet took notice when a computer programmer named Dave Winer began the weblog revolution in 1997 with his running online commentary titled, Scripting News.Ē
2:25PM Mountain: Arrived safely in Dickinson, ND.
Checking from Fargo (on the way to Bismarck) at 9AM Central.
Ray realizes that iPodderX has an OPML search engine. Cooooo!
I was out for a drive yesterday evening, and came up to a river, and thought "How neat, they have a river." But then I found out which river it is,. Last year it snuck up on me too. Old Man River is a little bigger down here than it was up north by US 2, actually quite a lot bigger, but still a shadow of what it becomes down south.
Pictures: The Mississippi River in Brainerd, Minnesota.
Dowbrigade: "Accused serial killer Joseph Edward Duncan has been keeping a blog."
Mark Cuban is starting to freak me out. Today he's saying that broadcast TV will never die. Never is too long for mere mortals to know. Time for some hubris over there in Dallas.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
3:40PM Central: Arrived safely in Brainerd, MN.
Look at how pretty this OPML site is.
Pictures: Duluth skyline from Barker Island in Superior.
I was going to launch the Jiwire Hotspot Locator to see if they knew about any in Duluth or Superior, and what do you know, there's a free open wifi link. I'm sitting in a parking lot, looking out at Lake Superior, with a great view of the Duluth skyline in the distance, outside the Barkers Island Inn & Conference Center. Gorgeous day. Very fortuitous.
I checked out the Inn, to see if it might be a candidate for the Wired Resort Network™ (it's in a kickass location) but it doesn't qualify. As soon as you walk in you are confronted with a huge reek of cigarette smoke. Aside from that, it looks great on the outside, but very 60ish on the inside. Needs a remodel and a thorough cleanout. I'm surprised they have wifi (for which I am grateful).
Kosso came up with an icon for changes.opml.org.
Da Tourist Trap is "one of the seven wonders of Yooperland."
I have to remember to put changes.opml.org in the right margin of Scripting News.
IBM has a podcast feed and a plain text RSS feed on its investor relations site. Look down the right edge. On the podcasters mail list, Gareth Trent suggests it might bother me that they used blue icons instead of orange ones. Just a teentsy little bit, perhaps, but I'm delighted that they're using the technology in such an effective way. Good work!
No matter what I say I offend someone. For example, yesterday I said I was plotting a route around the eastern megalopoli of the US, and someone writes to whine that it's too bad I missed Chicago, because it's a pretty nice city.
It happens all the time. The first 80,000 times it happened it got my blood chemistry going, but nowadays, it's a no-op. I said something. Of course it offended someone.
That's why the logical conclusion of mass media is nothingness. Or sameness. Management says they can't afford to piss anyone off. So the edict comes down to the media artists: Don't piss anyone off. So everyone has a veto, so no one can say anything. This leaves us open to being taken over by people who are good at saying nothing, but all the while doing something.
The need to do nothing is why Microsoft waited six years to do RSS, and why when they finally get around to doing it, to be politically neutral, they dumb it down. And they have their own internal naysayers to please. (And the only way to please them is to either agree with them, or do nothing, so you do nothing.)
I mention this just because I realized it, not to piss you off, by the way.
And I've been to Chicago. I kind of like the Cubs because they kept the Mets company in the cellar in the 60s, but I did my share of driving through it, going from Madison to NYC, you have to go through Chicago, and I did that a lot. And they don't understand pizza in Chicago, but they think they do. Heh.
Rex Hammock shares a bit of wisdom about laughter.
Here's my two cents. Most laughs can be translated into this simple statement: Ain't it the truth! When we laugh it's because something is so true (for us) in such a deeply felt way that our body erupts. When we laugh together it's because we share that feeling.
Friday, August 05, 2005
NY Times: "In 1992 in an incident well known in Texas, Mr Rove was fired from the state campaign to re-elect the first President Bush on suspicions that Mr Rove had leaked damaging information to Mr Novak about Robert Mosbacher Jr, the campaign manager and the son of a former commerce secretary."
David Berlind has looked into the wifi situation at Logan Airport.
I got a chance to catch up on my Rush Limbaugh today. It's been a while. He's telling people how great the economy is and how the liberals are such party-poopers. Hey I'm making lots of money in the stock market, it's been berry berry good to me. And I sure am a liberal. I just feel sorry for the poor schnooks who listen to his show, most of whom don't have any money in the stock market. Maybe they can sell their houses. But it'll be interesting to hear what they say when they have to pay back all the loans we're taking out to finance a weak regime in Iraq, one with no army, without much of a police force. I imagine they might wonder why their buddy Rush didn't talk about the deficit, and the war. I've noticed he doesn't talk about those two things. The war and the deficit. Oh what about China, Rush. Any news on China?
One of the big Friday night things-to-do in Ironwood is, if the sky is clear (it is) is to drive a couple of miles out of town and park and look up. Apparently the stars are especially good in this part of the world. I don't imagine that they'll photograph too well, so I'll have to try to describe it in words.
Permit me a personal comment. Today I noticed something. My hair is rapidly turning gray. I always knew it would happen like this. One month it would be mostly brown, the next month it would be mostly gray. This seems to be that month. Every time I look a whole other section is gray. So don't be shocked next time you see me. Hey it's not the end of the world. After all, Harry Truman's hair was gray.
Ray and I spent a lot of time talking about the podcasting directory when I was in Toronto, earlier this week. Although it has nothing to do with the directory, I was also there when the Air France plane crashed trying to land. I had nothing to do with that, I swear.
ComputerWorld: "Massport, the state agency that runs Boston's Logan Airport, is telling Continental Airlines to shut down the free Wi-Fi service it offers customers."
Blogrolling.com's 500 most linked-to blogs.
Today's drive is a tour through the upper peninsula of Michigan. It's about as long a drive as from Miami to Jacksonville, to put things in perspective. Or twice the distance from NY to Boston. Yet there isn't a single four-lane highway in all that territory. My goal on this drive was to avoid all the eastern megalopoli, and I clearly have achieved that goal.
At the other end of the highway is Park City, where I hope to spend a week before heading to California for the OPML Road Show on August 20, which is just 15 days from now. That means I could quite possibly do a meetup in Salt Lake City if there's interest.
As always, lots of good stuff in changes.opml.org.
Kosso has figured out how to do Flickr badges in OPML templates.
Tim Bray has come to dislike the term Web 2.0.
Om Malik says Jef Raskin should get design credit for Apple's new mouse.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Berkman Center is looking for a managing director.
Randy Morin has an OPML surfer app.
A note about instant outlining for the OPML editor community.
According to Kim Maffin, Americans are trying to get Sativex, a form of marijuana, from people (such as Kim) in Canada.
3:30PM Eastern: Arrived safely in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, USA.
Congrats to Doc on the award and the moohlah. Let's have a party!
The heat wave broke. It's 21 here today (about 70 F). Raining. Only going as far as the Soo today, but crossing over into the US, and heading across Michigan and Wisconsin and into Minnesota tomorrow.
Taegan Goddard asked me to say when I re-subb'd to the Political Wire feed after he removed the ads, so it only seems fair to say that I unsubbed today, and that's the last time you'll hear about it here. He brought the ads back, without notice, without permission of the readers. It's pulling my attention into his stuff, and dammit that's my aggregator not his, and not FeedBurner's and not his advertiser's (who I won't name here). I think advertising is so over, and it really pains me to see a visionary like Goddard go this way.
BTW, to OPML users, RSS Weather has OPML for all its geographies. Here's a link to their page for Ontario. Note in the upper-left corner a link to the "OPML file." Unfortunately they mistakenly use "title" in place of "text" so the headlines show up blank. Arrrgh.
For the next sixty seconds this station will conduct a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Holy guacamole, look who's the OPML Babe of the Day.
Lots of cool blogs on changes.opml.org.
4PM Eastern, arrived safely in Sudbury, Ontario. Didn't make it all the way to Sault Ste Marie. Yahoo Maps underestimated how long the trip would take (they usually err on the other side). I could have pushed it, but, well, I decided to be mellow. Pretty hot here.
Today's a big travel day. See you later from Sault Ste Marie, which they call The Soo here in Canada.
Jason Calacanis wants to shake up the Top 100. Why bother. Just blog what you find interesting, what you believe in, and everything is fine.
Next stop on the tour -- Berkeley, California on August 20.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Tonight is the Toronto OPML Roadshow, 7PM.
NPR: French Jet Crashes in Toronto; No Fatalities.
CNN: "An Air France passenger jet attempting to land at Toronto's Pearson International Airport overran a runway by 200 meters Tuesday, bursting into flames and sending smoke billowing into the sky."
Kellie Miller is a most agreeable person.
OPML Tutorial: How to add a command to the right-click menu.
Om Malik: "By tagging I am helping these scumbags..."
Dave Pentecost is hooked on OPML. Me toooo.
It was really hot yesterday in Niagara Falls, and I took my walk in the middle of the hottest part. Today in Toronto, they're predicting a high of 33 (91 Farheheit). Better get my walk in early.
Then the question is which direction to head from here. I'd like to go north and west, to go around the Great Lakes from the north, something I've never done before. Looking at the map, I'm not sure you can do this. Has anyone had experience going that route? It looks like two or three days, are there places to stop? (Answer: Yes. There are plenty of hotels in Sault Ste Marie. Two days should be plenty.)
Rex Hammock: "Bloggers spread mythology..."
Monday, August 01, 2005
Today's pictures: Niagara Falls.
And a movie of the smaller American Falls.
The reports from NASA about the space shuttle are starting to make me nervous. How would you feel if you were the astronaut who had to make the repairs? What if something goes wrong? What if he realizes at some point that it can't be repaired? I wouldn't want to be up there right now.
Here's a surprise, the OPML Roadshow will make a stop in Toronto, tomorrow night, 7PM. Spread the word!
Version 0.59 of the OPML editor is out, with three weblog appearance features. 1. You can control the number of days on your home page. 2. There are month links on the calendar. 3. The Last Updated readout is now expressed in the author's time zone.
Kosso: "No one reads this do they?"
Doc Searls: "Most conferences happen out here, where Silicon Valley is the center of things."
Mac Net Journal: "As always, the learning curve may hold me back from jumping on this new bandwagon - especially when I am buried in my work for the city, writing a history book, serving as president of the local Audubon chapter and organizing an art auction." An outliner can help you organize the work you're buried under.
Kevin Howarth: "A bloggers conference in Upstate New York in the summer or fall would delight the senses on multiple levels."
I just finished the history of the Johnstown flood, by David McCullough. I was only peripherally aware of the event, but it was the biggest news in the US since the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. More people died in the flood than on 9-11, and it was caused by human arrogance, the very richest Americans, including Andrew Carnegie.
Sylvia Paull: "The blog might do more for the emancipation of women than the invention of the birth control pill almost 50 years ago."
Rick Segal went through the archives of DaveNet, the predecessor to this site, and found some embarassing stuff from 1994 and 1995. Embarassing only because I blamed the VCs for greed. I think I was really just taunting them, trying to get them to see that the Internet had great potential as a human connection tool. For example, consider Billions of Websites, where I went contrary to the belief that there would be only three websites, like there were, at the time, only three TV networks. Or the Great Women of DaveNet or Holding Hands in Cyberspace. BTW, Sylvia Paull, quoted above talking about the milestone BlogHer conference, was one of the Great Women.
Kellie Miller is documenting OPML Editor macros.
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