Friday, September 30, 2005
On Niall Kennedy's blog, Jeremy Zawodny asked what OPML is for. I answered in terms that might make sense to a Yahoo. "Jeremy, you could think of OPML as a way for users to author structures that work like dir.yahoo.com. It's like blogging but for hierarchies of links. Another way of looking at it is that RSS is designed for time-based info, news; and OPML is for structures of information that change less frequently, where what matters is the relationship between ideas."
1/14/04: Guidelines for more powerful OPML.
Roger Benningfield has implemented category OPML for JournURL.
RSS Labs has an OPML search engine that does it in the Googlish way I described so many years ago. When it finds what you're looking for in an OPML file, it offers to show it to you as a directory. Simple, brain-dead obvious, imho. Of course the other search engines only know about HTML. In an age when there are billions of feeds out there, it's getting pretty lame to only read HTML, don't you think!
Podcast: The story of the TechCrunch Directory box on Scripting News, the OPML behind it, Robert Scoble, Niall Kennedy, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Arrington. "Users and developers party together."
In the rush yesterday I mis-spelled Matt's last name (instead of "weg" I typed "web"), and in an email asked for a change in the URL for the by-category OPML for the WordPress blogs. Both changes evident here.
Scoble sets a developer straight about the proper way to address users. Good work Scoble. The guy is just trying to FUD you. It's great to see a user stand up to that kind of crap. Judge technology by results, not arrogance. There's no shortage of idiots who want you to justify your wants to them. Google says "It's a coder's world -- we just live in it." That's just plain wrong. Hubris. We live in god's world.
I wonder if any of you remember the PFS products. There was PFS:File and PFS:Report. Then PFS:Write, they had a graphics program, and a spreadsheet called PFS:Plan. Then I tried to remember what PFS stood for, I'm sure it didn't mean what I thought it meant.
David Mercer, via email: "I think that the Google/NASA deal stinks to high heaven of all sorts of unfair advantage to Google. Everything NASA does should, as all non-classified things are in Federal Agencies, be public domain. Sounds like Google are trying to get a super-cozy sweetheart deal on collaborations that sound to me a lot like they will help their core businesses, which have nothing whatsoever to do with NASA or their mission. Which is unlike, say, Boeing working with NASA, as things Boeing develops have to do with what NASA is up to, not merely in the other direction."
NASA press release announcing deal with Google.
David has a point. As a US taxpayer, I wonder why my government is doing deals to help one technology company and not all technology companies. Who bribed who to make that happen. Further, I don't understand why Google's search engine doesn't understand RSS. Shouldn't they take care of that before they worry about space travel, if that's what they're doing? And why don't their competitors' search engines take advantage of the billions of feeds out there? Come on MSN, Yahoo, Jeeves, let's go, there's some butt to kick here. And they say this industry is driven by innovation. Feh. It's driven by press releases.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Mike Arrington: "We’ve created a directory, in OPML format, of every TechCrunch company profile."
Scoble: "I will switch to the blogging tool that outputs OPML automatically like what Michael Arrington did by hand."
Niall Kennedy created a template that teaches Movable Type how to produce categorized OPML per Scoble's request. And it works. Here's a screen shot of Niall's OPML in my outliner. And here's the same outline viewed through my directory browser. Ahhhhh. That's the sound of developers and users partying together. "You can get anything you want..."
Next up, I got an email from Matt Mullenweg saying that he's got every blog on wordpress.com supporting categorized OPML. It works. I was able to browse his OPML. "Walk right in, it's around the back...."
Today's song: "You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant. You can get anything you want. At Alice's Restaurant. Walk right in it's around the back, just a half a mile from the railroad track. And you can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant."
A year ago yesterday, Doc Searls predicted there would be hundreds of thousands, "maybe even millions" of hits on Google for podcast. Doc was actually thinking small, it turns out. According to Cameron Relly, there are over 61 million hits. How's that for a meme. Yo Adam, we actually created something. Feels good.
In February of this year, Rex Hammock explained how things like podcasting happen.
Is it just me, or does anyone else wonder about the propriety of a US government agency doing a deal with Google? Maybe there's nothing wrong with it, after all software companies sell stuff to the government all the time. But who's the customer here. Hard to tell.
Jeff Jarvis may need meeting space in SF next week.
Went over to see Mike Arrington, we talked about the new directory and came to an interesting place. It all would have been easier if WordPress, the blogging software he uses, produced an OPML file listing all the articles in his blog, according to the category they appear in. Then Mike took it to the next place. Once in OPML, he could do a more robust categorization. Two-way. Exactly!
From Scott Young comes news that a public beta of Manila 9.6 is now available.
With the new version of Flash out, it's time to renew the request for a weblog-viewer in Flash, with an integrated Edit This Page style editor.
Roberts was confirmed as Chief Justice. To be sworn in today.
Roberts is the name of a fancy supermarket in Woodside, CA.
Jacob Reider's history of medical weblogs going back to 1998.
Had a doctor's appt today with my GP -- I've been seeing her for 18 years. It was good to get back in the loop. Her 12-year-old daughter has a blog. I apologized.
On TV last night the Republicans were either swinging at the Texas prosecutor who indicted Tom DeLay, or calling Democrats names, or saying that Kay Bailey Hutchinson had similar charges leveled at her and they were dropped. I wondered if it occurred to them to shut up. Or maybe to talk about how important it is to have clean elections. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a rule juries must abide by, as long as I'm not on the jury, I can decide he's guilty whenever I want. That they yell, so loudly, saying nothing but dirt, responding only by trying to change the subject, says one thing to me. The trail leads to them. They talk about liberals as if they had a philosophy other than robbing us blind. We're fools for putting up with this, and the Republicans are the worst fools. It's long past time when a person with honor or integrity could support these people.
I just noticed something weird about the picture of the cast on The West Wing on their website. The Democrat candidate played by Jimmy Smits is included in the picture, but the Republican candidate played by Alan Alda is not. What the hell does that mean?
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Cliff Gerish says Web 2.0 is all about user interfaces.
What if Web 2.0 is actually about sex? What if you could choose -- a bubble in which some VCs get rich, or a bubble in which we all get laid? Come on, seriously now. Given a choice would you rather hang around a party listening to some idiot talk about target markets and business models or have wild sex with the partner(s) of your dreams?
We solved this problem in Radio, four years ago. Here's what we did. We didn't export subscriptions that required passwords in the OPML. Our feeling was that the existence of these feeds shouldn't even be advertised, and certainly not the "credentials." Never had a single user complain about this solution. The power of prior art.
John Furrier, in the comments on Om Malik's site, says something wise and fair: "Come on this is so simple.. Web 2.0 is the next version of the Web 1.0 -- it’s simply a better version than the previous version." That cuts through the hype, and opens the door wide and inclusive. It works for me, sign me up, I'm on board for improving the web. I'm not so chauvinistic about it to think it couldn't be improved. I guess what I object to is the clubby-ness of it. If you're not cool enough to be invited into the club you can't be part of the new web. That's totally unweblike, imho.
Screen shot of the OPML Editor viewing the DaveNet outline.
They're talking about a food museum for New Orleans. Now that's a kickass idea. I bet that would be a huge tourist attraction. Reminds me of an idea I heard at breakfast last Thursday. A guy sitting next to me said he was dating through a site called marriage.com. I thought to myself, now there's a place you could get some dates. Turns out I imagined that's what he said, it was some other site.
I missed this week's West Wing, so I fired up my BitTorrent client and downloaded the latest episode, and 25 minutes later I was watching it, without commercials. While I love the West Wing, and didn't want to wait for the rerun (to be aired months later) it's not right to get the show without commercials. So, why don't they offer a legal version of the show, for BitTorrent download, including commercials, maybe even special commercials for people who watch the stuff on their computers. Reading this article in BusinessWeek about the new company founded around BitTorrent, it seems like an obvious collaboration. BTW, I'd like to talk with the VCs who passed on this one, thinking that podcasting somehow obviates the need for BitTorrent. The two are very complementary, even essential to each other. The BT guys get that and are adopting RSS, but I gather that the VC-backed podcasting startups are missing this one.
Eirikso: How Bob the Millionaire became a pirate.
Here's something wierd and kind of depressing. Doc Searls quotes me, at length, but my name isn't there, and he links to some site named Joape which apparently is repurposing my writing. I'm sure Doc doesn't know this is my work, and I usually don't object to people republishing my stuff, but man, I really like to get proper credit for my writing and a proper link back to it. (My site is included in a list of "Associates" in the right margin, but the association is in their mind only, no one asked if I wanted to be associated with them.)
BTW, Joape is almost certainly a spam blog. Look at all the links for gas and electricity pricing in the "Associates" column. They all go to the same place. This is becoming more common, using RSS-derived content to game search engines as they try to detect fake sites. Any defense against this kind of spam is going to have to keep a database of content in RSS and know which is the original and which is a game.
Okay so Commander In Chief isn't the West Wing, but give it a chance. It's gotta be pretty good, with Geena and Donald as the stars. It's just getting started. A woman president. Of course. She kicks butt.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Kevin Burton considers a pending ping crisis. There is a solution to ping spam, but he's right, it will require more resources than are currently available to services running on a Labor Of Love basis. It's surprising that they're just tuning into the crisis, it's existed for quite some time. Today, for example, I spent three hours shutting down idiot ping spammers on audio.weblogs.com. The sites had no hope of making it through to the output queue, they didn't have enclosures at all, but someone must have realized "Hey there's another site that takes pings, let's flood them!" The solution is to use collaborative filtering techniques to figure out what a pinger's site is about. If it's about nothing, then segregate the ping, don't ever not include it, but provide higher quality output feeds that only include sites known not to be about nothing, if you get my drift. Anyway, I'm happy to report that we're making progress on a deal to implement this, and hopefully will have something to announce fairly soon.
Jeff Jarvis: Seeing the forest for the flood.
Rex Hammock observes a milestone in the evolution of podcasting.
Marc Canter's cell phone is sleeping with the fishes.
Dummies.com: "Both Dave Winer and Howard Dean are known for being, well, intense characters."
My blog has been nominated for a BOB award. If I win then I can say Scripting News is an award-winning weblog. That would be nice.
Elmer Masters is live-blogging the Duke podcasting conference, in OPML. Outliners are especially good for meeting notes.
iPodderX for Windows is out.
Wired: Podcasting Goldrush Is On.
Scoble: "Don't like our aggregator? Take your OPML somewhere else!"
7 years ago today: "By this time tomorrow New Orleans may be under water as Hurricane Georges creeps toward the Gulf Coast."
7/7/99: "Having witnessed the Internet turned into a battlefield, and assessing that at least half of the blame for that belongs to Microsoft, I am in no mood for another contentious, irrelevant do-or-die battle. This time around either Microsoft grows up and learns to be the statesman of the industry that it could be, or we'll do a Linus, and keep doing the work we love.."
Starting many many years ago, I urged Microsoft and other technology companies, to adopt a different poise with respect to the community of developers and users. Microsoft had outgrown its self-image of "scrappy upstart." In the mid-nineties, Microsoft was anything but that. Some phrases that might have made more sense: Lumbering Giant, Awkward Adolescent. Adjectives: self-absorbed, unfocused, off-topic, dangerous. Dangerous to it itself, and dangerous to everyone else.
Then, humbled by the antitrust trial and conviction, Microsoft sulked. At no point did it ever occur to Microsoft to do the one positive thing left to upstarts that become monopolies -- LEAD. Now, perhaps, there are signs that Microsoft may be becoming a leader. They can lead not through technical innovation, that's the province of scrappy upstarts. Their job is to identify the positive trends that lead to growth in their markets, they don't even have to be early in recognizing these, and then just support them, and by all means, don't get in the way. As I said, there are signs that they are beginning to accept this role.
I called this "statesman-like." A George Soroos of the software world. A Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, a Ford Motor Company, or General Electric. Bill Gates helping technology the same way he's helping health care.
In the comments of yesterday's post about my Yahoo visit, I noted that "Yahoo is rapidly becoming the statesman-like technology company I've been hoping would emerge. Too many tech companies throw their weight around, and try to act like scrappy upstarts, when taking the long-term big-picture view would serve themselves and the community much better."
I observed that I should say something about this on Scripting News, to commend them for starting to lead our industry, and to hopefully help create room for more inspired leadership from Microsoft, Apple, and maybe someday, Google. Steve Gillmor notes today that Eric Schmidt did an interview with News.Com. Good good good. There was no point trying to freeze them out. A mature statesman-like company can accept that not everyone agrees with everything they do, without lashing out like a spoiled powerless child, which often describes Google's posture, but certainly does not describe the company, with its $7 billion in cash, and a juggernaut of relevant products. Now we hope Google can approach the blogosphere with the same equanimity, and wouldn't it be wonderful if Apple found a way of working with us, instead of in spite of us. In other words, once one technology giant becomes a statesman, it's likely that they all will have to.
Tim O'Reilly posted a "meme map" that was developed at Foo Camp for the thing he calls Web 2.0.
Mike Arrington says it's not simple, he feels what's needed is simplicity.
I think we need honesty. Just as we need Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Apple to recognize their truth, we must deal with our own. We have abused the economic system and channeled money away from the technology we say we love, and into the hands of hucksters and carpetbaggers who promote complicated self-serving memes.
That the memes are complicated is no big surprise. It's hard work to make things really simple.
Note that the thing that's really going, the juggernaut that's powering the growth of the new applications of the web, isn't on the O'Reilly map.
Web 2.0 is really simple, it's RSS 2.0.
Monday, September 26, 2005
A report from my meeting at Yahoo last Thursday, where we discussed the user interface for subscribing and I was informed that Yahoo is making their user's subscription lists available in OPML.
I may have missed the season premiere of The West Wing (good thing there's BitTorrent) but I won't miss tonight's opening of Commander In Chief, starring my favorite actress of all time, Geena Davis, as the President of the United States. What could possibly be better?
Kudos to Danny Sullivan for straightening things out with David Berlind. Class act.
If you have any thoughts on the next generation of user-oriented blogging tools, please let's start talking about it now.
Jon Udell explains how to approximate a River of News in Bloglines. At dinner the other night Scott Rosenberg told me that this could be done. But that doesn't solve the problem for the 98 percent of users who think three-pane is the only way and would not be able to figure how how to hack it up. And Udell points out the method is less than perfect. Someday one of the current vendors will just copy the method used by My.UserLand in 1999, and cloned by Radio in 2002. Maybe if we had patented the River of News more developers would have copied it? Probably so. :
Jakob Nielsen: The Power of Defaults.
The editors of News Hounds are trying to train the trolls.
I'm getting tons of mail about the bit below. Let me say something very clearly. I voted for Clinton, but when he lied repeatedly to cover up, I urged him to resign so we could move beyond his failings. It's time for Republicans to have some self-respect and stop standing up for Bush. There's nothing to argue about here, no spin possible. Bush is very bad for us. Americans are dying because of his dishonesty and incompetence. If you can't see the problem, nothing I can say will help you see it. We need to solve this problem, we need to solve it.
I just re-read some of the stuff I wrote about Clinton and his crimes. What's striking about it is how far we've slid. In 1998 we were debating whether or not to remove a President (he was impeached and tried, if you recall) for doing something that's so tame compared to the crimes of Bush. I can't believe we're not doing something about it. The Congress is Republican-controlled, but the press must be also, otherwise why aren't we talking about making major changes in government?
Dan Gillmor says that communities are the losers as journalists are laid off at local newspapers. I say good riddance. These guys are so far from doing their jobs. We need a total house-cleaning across the board. This system doesn't work. A few years ago I tried to engage Dan in a discussion of the conflict of interest the press has, it's so huge it's like an elephant in the middle of the room, but they'll never write about it. They need to start explaining the role of the owners of the media companies in governance. I have a funny feeling there's a lot of dirt there, because we never look there.
Amyloo and Doc Searls on Aaron Broussard's Meet the Press appearance, which I wrote up yesterday. Especially important is Amy's perspective. "The MSM needs to say, "Now wait a second. So what's the important thing here? Did Bush breeze through his mililtary service? Yes or no. Did the nursing home resident die because the rescue coordination was screwed up? Yes or no."
Russert had a chance to put the Dean Scream in proper perspective, but went the other way. He had the chance to get to the core issue of the screwed-up CBS story about Bush's military service, to get the story back on track in time to teach us something important about our presiden, but he went the other way. And he had a chance to do the most real journalism of his career and keep the open dialog that came out of the Katrina disaster. He chose to go the other way.
But Broussard said as long as you keep giving me airtime I'm going to keep using it to expose your bullshit. And for that, Russert and NBC are in league with Brown and Bush. Part of the same team, determined to keep the discourse low and in Broussard's words, black-hearted.
I don't like what the conservatives do with blogging, they give what we do a bad name. We should be willing to go where ever the story leads. I called for Clinton's resignation, now it's time for conservative bloggers to do the same. We need a house-cleaning in the Bush administration, we need to get the cronies out and get competence in. Same goes for our journalists. They were culpable here. Had Russert and his colleagues pressed Bush on his military career, we might have avoided the disaster of Mike Brown by avoiding the larger disaster of George Bush. Time is right to ask how many other Browns are there? They're as dangerous as Osama bin Laden, and luckily we can root them out and get rid of them, we're not powerless. Russert should be our tool in this crusade, instead he's nitpicking and looking for an emotional joyride.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
I read Gillmor because I like the way he writes. My detractors say they hate me because I link to things sometimes with vague inexplicable statements that refer to an idea deeply buried in the piece I'm linking to. You have to actually read the thing I link to if you want to understand what I'm saying, and then after all that reading, my idea wasn't all that clever anyway. I like Gillmor's advice in that case, and sorry, you have to read his piece to get the advice.
I'm glad that Meet The Press is podcasting. I listened to this week's episode on today's walk. Absolutely wonderful moment when Jefferson Parish president Broussard said that Tim Russert had a black heart, and that they buried his friend's mother, not a box of Cheerios. He spoke for me when he told Russert that he was nit-picking, and yes he meant what he said, and you should try living down here for a while. It was wonderful wonderful wonderful. The best interview I've ever heard.
Engadget reports that record labels want a share of iPod revenues.
It's great that Adam has a wiki for his shownotes, now you can keep up with what he's doing even if you don't have time to listen to the podcast. I also noticed that they've changed the name of ipodder.org to indiepodder.org. Anyway, who else thinks that the connection between Doerr and Podshow has something to do with all the dark fiber deals Google is rumored to be doing?
Ben Goldacre: "The media create a parody of science, for their own means. They then attack this parody as if they were critiquing science."
A WSJ puff piece with Jim Allchin as the hero. It's the wrong story. Here's the right one. Allchin was the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke. Anyone looking at the situation from above could see that the dyke was springing dozens then hundreds of leaks. But it took a long time for all those little leaks to become a flood so Jim could claim to his pals that his leak-plugging techniques were working. Now they're humoring him before they give up his strategy, putting off the day when they turn into a nation of boat-builders, like everyone else.
Ed Cone: "People are requesting press passes for Converge."
Time: How Many More Mike Browns are out There?
Saw The Corpse Bride yesterday. Loved it. They use a film technique called stop-motion animation, using dolls and a camera. They are moved by hand a little bit, then take a picture. Move them a bit, take a picture, etc. King Kong was an early application of stop-motion. Chris Pirillo is a Burton fan too. Interesting variant of stop motion.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
I love the new Yahoo mail. It's rapidly becoming my primary mail system. Good spam blocking, great user interface, really works on all my computers/browsers. Gmail doesn't. And the Gmail UI is looking pretty pale compared to Yahoo's. Now we're in a sweet spot, possibly a very sweet spot. Two great development companies competing for our attention, and neither of them is Microsoft. Come to think of it, neither is Apple. Yahoo!
I found a workaround for a display problem in the Mac version of the OPML Editor and wonder if it works for others.
Also, last night while watching the coverage of Hurricane Rita on CNN and MSNBC, I did my first real programming on the Mac. Since my development environment is cross-platform, and since I was a Mac user for many years, the learning curve was practically non-existent. I found the experience very empowering. My first project was converting all the back-issues of DaveNet into a static archive. Most of the pieces were written in an outliner, so most of them can be saved in OPML. Not only do I want to create a permanent downloadable archive so this stuff doesn't get lost, it also forms a very large base of OPML documents for people to play with. This may be useful for people working on OPML search tools.
Friday, September 23, 2005
News.com: Microsoft's nightmare inches closer to reality.
BBC: Radio has its eye on podcasters.
9/23/03: "Only a tiny number of aggregators understand enclosures because there's never been a great source of enclosures like this one."
Danny Sullivan is unnecessarily personal in his criticism and David Berlind, who he ridicules, is actually right, which makes Sullivan's condescension even more unfair. Google doesn't include blogs in Google News, or at least that's what they claim. However, a lot of the supposed non-blogs they include are in every way blogs.
CNN: "A bus carrying elderly Hurricane Rita evacuees caught fire and exploded early today on a crowded Texas interstate, killing as many as 20 people."
Thursday, September 22, 2005
I'm having dinner this evening with Richard Stallman.
Lance Knobel: "My children's soccer league provides RSS feeds."
David Berlind: Shouldn't Google Alerts include blogs?
Grace Cathedral in San Francisco is podcasting.
Andrew Grumet: "There are new 2.2 beta iPodders up on Sourceforge."
Apparently there's a podcasting conference at Duke University next week. Just heard about it. Oy.
Ed Cone, a leading blogger who lives down the road from Duke in Greensboro, is first hearing about their podcasting conference, less than a week before it happens and after registration is closed. What's going on over there, and in the blogosphere, that we're hearing about an important event like this at such a late date.
I got an email from someone I don't know asking how I rationalize getting a preview of a Yahoo product privately and confidentially, when I criticize Technorati for having an semi-secret totally private "summit" about issues of public importance. I guess I just explained what the difference is. I get private product briefings all the time, and it's important to be able to learn what's coming, and to be able to provide feedback and guidance before new products and services are publicly availble. I agree it's a fine line, but life is filled with fine lines. Your mileage may vary, etc, etc.
For example, I'm learning all the time how we're all paying a high price for Apple's reluctance to trust leading podcasters prior to releasing iTunes with podcasting support. They reinvented so many things. It's possible they didn't know that we had already worked out ways to do the things they reinvented. I didn't even know they had a product on the way. Now we have to live with those mistakes, probably for years.
On an elevator yesterday in Berkeley, a man with t-shirt that looked like a school shirt for a state university -- it said "College Dropout." I asked if he was really a dropout and he said no, he goes to UC. Down a couple of floors and another young man gets on wearing a t-shirt saying, in large capital letters: "I fuck on the first date." He gets off a couple of floors down. I turn to the other guy -- I was going to ask if it was true, but I wasn't sure I wanted to hear the answer. We both laughed. I said I'm going to blog this for sure.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Om Malik says that Google's wifi service can be found in London. Is this how their rollout works, a global Easter Egg hunt?
Michael Watkins: "In crises ranging from the lax oversight of public companies that led to Enron, the systemic weaknesses in airline security and intelligence gathering that presaged 9/11, the dismal post-war planning in Iraq, and now the catastrophic damage wrought by Katrina on the Gulf Coast, our leaders have failed to mobilize to avoid well-recognized potential disasters."
Don McAllister: "A collaboration tool with no RSS in this day and age -- come on Apple, you’ve dropped the ball on this one!"
NY Times: "Three authors are contending that Google's program to create searchable digital copies of the contents of university libraries constitutes 'massive copyright infringement.'"
Mini-Microsoft: "Microsoft certainly needed a reorg -- something like a good, vigorous shaking of one of those snow-globes."
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
If Google really is doing a big nationwide wifi network then bless their souls for thinking so big. Someone has to do that big network. I mean, all our laptops have wifi now. Someday we'll have wifi access everywhere, why wait? The money we're spending on the war in Iraq could have done it. The money we'll spend rebuilding the Gulf Coast could have done it. If Google can leverage their economic power to give us the network we deserve, now, then I gotta say thanks.
Pinky: "Hmmm. Don't think I've seen that one."
Sure sign that Rex uses a poorly designed RSS aggregator. It shouldn't make you feel guilty. You should have easy access to news, and stuff you missed while you were away is nothing more than stuff you missed. Let the news flow by you and relax like someone sitting on the bank of a river looking for something interesting as you while away the time. That's how news works, and RSS is, emphatically, for news.
Microsoft public relations has RSS feeds. Subscribed.
Motley Fool: Why I Fear Google WiFi.
Rita is now a Category 2 hurricane.
From the FAQ of something called Google Secure Access: "The program can currently be downloaded at certain Google WiFi locations in the San Francisco Bay Area." I guess this means that Google is going to compete with Wayport, T-Mobile and Boingo.
NPR: Simon Wiesenthal Dies at Age 96.
Listening to Meet the Press this week was interesting, but this time not because the interview was so one-dimensional and horribly adversarial. The main interview was actually pretty good -- it was with former President Bill Clinton, who they call "William Jefferson Clinton." They cut him a lot of slack, which is appropriate I guess, for an ex-president, and he cuts himself a lot of slack too. He's a master of these things, much better than the current crop of politicians from either party.
Meanwhile I have no sympathy for Bush who a NY Times columnist I can't point to called Lucy to our Charlie Brown. Are we going to fall for it again? This is the guy who lied about WMD's yet never fessed up. He only took the blame for the screwup in the aftermath of Katrina because there was no way out, the story couldn't be spun, it was not just close to home, it was actually at home.
Anyway, all that was interesting, but what was really interesting was the discussion between the reporters at the end of the show. They were so smart and relaxed and having a real discussion about real things, for a change. They were talking about who was going to catch the blame for screwing up this and that. One of them said there are a lot of rocks and hard places in Washington these days. Brilliant! Then I wondered who was going to ask about the culpability of the press. How many ways did they screw up in the lead up to and the aftermath of Katrina? Weren't we watching them figure out, in real-time, how horribly vulnerable New Orleans was? Why weren't they ringing the alarm bells as Katrina turned into a Category 5 storm in the Gulf and turned toward a major city with lots of people so poor they couldn't evacuate? Did any of them know that the levees were so vulnerable? (Even after the levee broke.)
I was struck a few years ago when I found out that the major US networks all rent apartments permanently on St Peter's Square in Rome so that when a Pope dies they can have live camera shots of the mourning and the deliberation about the new Pope. So when big news is inevitable, like the devastation of New Orleans was, they pre-position resources, and are ready to go when the event happens. I'm sure all the major papers had already written their obits of Simon Wiesenthal. Hey maybe one or two has a little blurb already written about me. Nahhh. Anyway, back to the question -- why didn't they know, and why didn't they make a stink about it while it was happening? How many lives could they have saved? Better question, how many lives should they have saved?
No one will pay any attention to this question, it's just the old irascible gadfly again, that's how they rationalize it. But if bloggers don't ask the question -- who will?
Boing Boing has run an ad for A History of Violence in its feed 17 times in the last two days. That's as if a feed ran a post with a picture and repeated it 17 times. It was on the 17th time that I said enough, I've had enough of this.
I'm tired of being a lab rat for Boing Boing, their feed just doesn't have enough value to compensate for the distraction. They should just pay me to watch the damned show (if that's what A History of Violence is), I might even subscribe to their feed (assuming they have one), but paying Boing Boing to interrupt my news-reading with a "message" is not going to get me to watch. It did get me to finally unsub from BB.
On my walk yesterday I realized something. You can use RSS in un-RSS-like ways, and when you do, it stops being like RSS (of course). I think so many people are using crappy readers, and reading feeds with these junky ads in them (even more coming soon), that net-net the user experience is almost as if they had a bookmark manager in a web browser. For them RSS really doesn't do anything all that useful. I'm surprised they even like it!
As I've said so many times, RSS is itself an advertising medium. Boing Boing isn't set up to advertise anything, I guess -- although I imagine that the blog has helped Xeni get her jobs at NPR and ABC News, and helped Cory get his job at EFF and lots of option shares in companies that have made or might make him rich. Come to think of it, running ads for TV shows couldn't possibly be so lucrative as to let it interfere with their much bigger business model. Hmmm.
Monday, September 19, 2005
RITA: "Expected to reach hurricane strength later tonight."
Laura Rozen: "The NYT Select thing is a total catastrophe."
Seattle P-I article about RSS at the PDC.
You might have to squint to see the white-on-orange XML icon on Allegheny College's cafeteria menu page, but yes indeed, it has an RSS 2.0 feed, so you can find out in advance what they'll be eating. I subscribed to the feed because it's so futuristic. Via Syndication for Higher Ed, via Library Stuff.
I've been on Doc's case for years about bloggers participating in closed, private and/or secret events where information is shared with some, but not all. Today he calls Google out for inviting some bloggers to some kind of meeting, with a rule that they can't blog. There's something wrong and dirty about this. They benefit enormously from the open generosity of others. They've made billions of dollars and have concentrated a huge amount of power. How nasty is it then to not share that value with the people who brought them there, the authors of the Internet.
Best wishes to Halley Suitt who's in the hospital with chest pain.
A note to the people who maintain the Gillmor Gang podcast feed -- the channel-level title element is required. I suppose technically your feed is valid if it has an empty title, but it makes my aggregator unhappy. (Folders with empty names are frowned on by the operating system.) Could you please help me out and include a nice title, something like The Gillmor Gang, for example. Thanks. (While you're at it, the channel-level description is required as well.)
Rex Hammock: "Maybe now's not the right time to be inviting all those folks back into New Orleans."
There's hope for the free world. Here's proof. Phil Ringnalda caught a wiff of something amiss in an MS embrace of RSS, wrote it up, then Dare Obasanjo explains what happened, and stands up for RSS. He reports that Microsoft will now do the right thing (he works for Microsoft, at MSN). This is an example of something I've been writing about -- that while it's nice that Microsoft embraces RSS, and has opinions about its future, the opposite is also true. Further, the previously dysfunctional RSS "community" is now acting sanely, and protecting something that's good for everyone, the simplicity of RSS. Slowly, the weird trips are rolling back, people are starting to do the right thing.
FilmLoop is "free software that gives you the power to create new loops or join existing ones. Loops are strings of images that move across your desktop."
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Amyloo: "For right now, until somebody comes up with a better scheme, I'm still with Dave on this: let users see the XML"
Josh Bancroft was at the Microsoft PDC session on RSS, and says Microsoft is doing right by RSS.
Transcript of Jon Udell's interview with Bill Gates about RSS and other topics.
Face the Nation's podcast feed hasn't updated since Sept 4.
Kendall Clark: "There is considerable overlap between the Web, Web 2.0, and the Semantic Web."
The Web is real. The Semantic Web is an idea and Web 2.0 is a marketing concept used by venture capitalists and conference promoters to try to call another bubble into existence.
The hype is treating "Web 2.0" as more and more real, and the hypesters are getting further and further out on a limb.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Greetings from SBC Park, Club Level, Section 213, Row I, Seats 7 & 8., where the wifi is free and fast.
Here's a movie of the action from the park.
Rogers owns 804 shares of Hurricane Philippe.
George Ou: Is the Firefox honeymoon over?
BusinessWeek chose Scripting News as one of their favorite work weblogs. Thanks!
I can blog about Google's unbloggable community conference because I wasn't invited. Great community building Google. Exclusive events suck. I guess News.com wasn't invited either. I probably wouldn't have gone anyway. I don't think bloggers should go to public events they can't blog about. What's going to be discussed there? You and I won't find out, and that's the way Google wants it. But what's puzzling is that their competitors are invited. So they don't want to keep the information from them, it's just the public they want kept in the dark. Geez Louise, isn't stuff like that illegal?
While I'm at it, the "summit" next Wednesday, at Google, is still a bad idea. It should be open to anyone who wants to participate, and it should be bloggable, and it shouldn't be called a summit. How arrogant of Technorati to think they can decide who goes to a summit. Feh. And it shouldn't be at Google. It would be so easy to get a classroom, or a conference room at a library (they're free in Berkeley, probably in Mountain View too) or even at a local branch of the Bank of America. Doing it at Google will stifle the conversation, and help reinforce the very bad idea that the tech world revolves around them, one that I'm sure they don't mind pushing, but why should we support it?
Also a little advance planning would have made it possible for me to participate, but I have an all-afternoon meeting in the South Bay on Wednesday, so unless things can be rescheduled I'll probably keep my appointment, and skip the summit. I have a feeling I'll be able to read about it on the blogs even if it's not bloggable.
Now that the PDC is over, I also gotta say it was disappointing to not have had a place there, after seeing so many people were invited, and to have my work featured so prominently. I even asked for an invite.
It seems the tech industry cares more about not being criticized than in building something that works. That certainly describes Google, and I was surprised to find out it also describes today's Microsoft. I would have been happy to work the hallways at PDC, maybe even speak. Maybe someone on their Team RSS can explain. Was it an oversight? Did anyone ask if I should be part of the RSS conversation at PDC? It left a really bad feeling, and not much of a basis for working together in the future. I'm behind the curve now, I don't know what they're doing with RSS, I find myself in the awkward position of having to tell reporters who ask what I think that they know more about what MS is doing in RSS than I do. I wonder if anyone in Redmond thought about that. Scoble had the presence to pick up the phone and call on Tuesday, but that was the extent of communication from Microsoft about the PDC.
I've been back in the Bay Area for about a month now, I left because this is a company town, and the penalty for not being onboard is exclusion. It still is that way, only more so. I'm hoping I can exist here, outside of the context of this bad blood, enjoy the weather, and be picky about who I spend time with, and only work with people who aren't scared of a strong idea or two, or in knowing what someone really thinks. A bunch of scared people run this place, and you can't make love out of fear.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Titleist, a company that makes golf balls, clubs and accessories, now has RSS feeds. Really smart. Golf is a conversation, and if you make golf balls, you want to be part of the golf conversation. The golf part of RSS is largely a void in 2005, so if you're Titleist, why not move to fill it? It's cheap. An example of RSS-as-advertising; much more powerful than advertising-in-RSS. Why pay someone else to hitch a ride in a conversation, when you can host it yourself? Much more cost-effective, and appreciated by customers. People don't like intrusive marketing as much as they like finding commercial information they're looking for. As Doc Searls says, there's no demand for messages. But there is demand for golf balls, says Titleist. Both are right.
I cross-posted on the Really Simple Syndication site, it'll be interesting to see if Memeorandum picks it up. Like Scoble, I find it's changed the way I think about blogging. Not many of these tech gadgets do that.
PaidContent interviews Martin Nisenholtz of the NY Times.
BusinessWeek profiles anonymous blogger Mini-Microsoft.
Bret Fausett: ICANN Adopts RSS...and Podcasts!
Once upon a time there was a fictitious continent named Postelia, and it had a wonderful network of trains. You could go anywhere you liked, every town had a station, and there were subways too, every neighborhood had a stop, and you could get from the main rail line to one of the sub-lines, and through a complicated set of "peering arrangements" your pass on one line would gain you entrance to the other. It was very convenient to get around in Postelia, and inexpensive too. While America, Europe and Asia were choking under clouds of gasoline exhaust, the skies of Postelia were clear. Birds sang, children played and life was good!
To make the system even more terrific, there were conventions. If you went into a station you'd find that there was a pattern. The low numbered tracks were for inter-city express trains, the high-numbered ones were for tourists and students and went to resorts or places of historic interest. The odd-numbered tracks went north or east, the even-numbered ones went south or west. There were hot dog stands on tracks whose numbers were divisible by five, and news stands on tracks whose numbers were divisible by 12.
And at every station, on Track 24, there was a Traveler's Aid station. That meant that if a Postelian lost his wallet while traveling, or got tired and needed a place to sit down, they could go to Track 24, where they would find someone with a helpful attitude and a hot cup of coffee. Some tourists knew about the Track 24 convention, and those that didn't could find the information in one of the many tour guides. Or they would learn about it if they asked someone on the train where to go for help, or if they stopped a friendly policeman, or asked a vendor at a hot dog stand. Most people didn't know about the Track 24 convention, but the people who helped people, did. The information wasn't known by many people, but it was widely available. A subtle difference.
And that concludes our story for today.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
One day later, here's the net-net on Google's blog search.
Technorati is "organizing the second Web Spam Summit taking place next week at Google's headquarters in Mountain View." You know it would be nice if this were done at a more neutral site, not sponsored by one vendor and hosted at another's headquarters. That's got to influence the way the discussion takes place. How about getting Stanford to host it, or UC-Berkeley. That's one of the things universities are good at. In any case I'm going to try to be at this discussion.
Classcaster is a "blogging system with podcasting built-in."
Engadget: Apple files for “iPodcast” trademark.
The Trademark Blog found a registration of "podcast" in February.
AP: Yahoo Overhauling Free E-Mail.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Exclusive preview of Yahoo's browser-based email based on Oddpost.
NPR has a podcast about the Roberts hearings. I caught a bit of it yesterday and it was really interesting. Surprisingly so.
Forbes is looking for, but hasn't found the profits in podcasting.
Paolo spots Googlebot reading his RSS feed.
search.blogger.com: "Search blogs from all over the web."
It's also available at http://blogsearch.google.com/.
Google Blog Search search query for "google blog search."
It appears to be searching the RSS feeds. Based on a little experimentation with recent content, it's not very useful as a search engine for this weblog. If a post doesn't have a title it doesn't seem to see it. It actually picks up posts on my ancillary sites better than those on this site. Example. It's good that they support RSS output (it was sure to be a frequent feature request) but once again they ask the user to make a choice of output formats, they really need to get this -- users don't care. And they're breaking Postel's Law.
They might want to look at the weblog search engine for Scripting News, an application of the Google API. Really they shouldn't depend so heavily on blog posts having titles. Really need to give this some thought, I think you punted too early.
It's good that they're using weblogs.com output, and give it credit in their FAQ (something Technorati, for example, doesn't do, preferring to claim credit for our work). Speaking of Technorati, okay, Google's blog search isn't perfect, but now there's a benchmark to compare against. It sure performs well. Let's see if they can keep it running (my guess is that they can). Politically, Google is making the user pay for their religion, so that's a point in Technorati's favor. Neither company is much-loved in the community these days, but in balance I trust Google more, which is pretty amazing, considering how small Technorati is. We knew the day would come when Technorati would have to compete with Google. They could have prepared much better for this day, imho.
Scanning some of the Memeorandum-gleaned links, Google's should do a better job working with bloggers. We do more than publish summer salad recipes and Harry Potter reviews. If any bloggers were briefed in advance, none gave it a thorough look. Also, the timing is obviously designed to steal some of Microsoft's thunder. Maybe we could move beyond that. We want to look at what Google is doing, for sure, so please give us a chance to do that, even if we won't write puffball pieces about your work, and let Microsoft speak too. Maybe even let them have a week to communicate their product strategy.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Jon Udell interviews Bill Gates in a podcast.
News.com has a Gates interview too, not a podcast.
BBC: Google getting its Microsoft man.
Scoble called to say that RSS was all over the Windows Vista demos at the PDC today. It's nice to get a call like that. It's not like Apple called to say they liked RSS when they copied and pasted it all over their OS.
Gadgets are a "new category of mini-application designed to provide information, useful lookup, or enhance an application or service on your Windows PC or the Web."
Gartenberg on the new Office 12 user interface, RSS support.
Dan Farber has some screen shots of the new UI.
German Car Blog: "You can now connect your USB powered MP3 player filled with your personal choice of music to VW cars."
Richard MacManus reviews the new Memeorandum.
Britt wants one for Katrina.
Staci Kramer: "I approached Gabe about doing just that nearly two weeks ago. We went back and forth about the idea; his chief concern was whether a hurried effort would add enough to the conversation about Katrina."
I had to set up a bank account in Massachusetts because Scripting News, Inc is a Massachusetts corp. The bank made many mistakes setting up the account, especially the Internet part of the account.
So here I am, 3000 miles away, and the people on the other end of the line are talking about who's at fault. Some say it's another guy at the bank, some suggest it might be my fault (hard to imagine, I just showed them the corporate documents and answered their questions truthfully). But blame isn't what I care about. A bank is something you put trust in. I want to know my money is safe.
Now we put even more faith in our government. They run everything, including the banks. And the nukes. And the levees in New Orleans. And the war in Iraq. So when Bush says he'll take responsibility for what's his fault, that's not good enough. I want it to work. After I'm dead it doesn't matter who's to blame.
Thanks to Apple for making such a shitty browser, and forcing me to learn to love Firefox, now I have a way out of the spyware quagmire on Windows, without very much discomfort at all. Read on...
Last week I found myself in a new apartment, a permanent address at last, and a laptop that's so riddled with spyware as to be unusable. While watching Katrina on CNN and MSNBC, I ran all the spyware removal tools I had, they're known to work, but then I couldn't bring myself to launch MSIE, because that's how the spyware comes back. Then I had an epiphany. I didn't use Firefox on this computer in the past because it was so strange, so different from MSIE as to be jarring. I put up with the spyware in order not to be forced to do the uncomfortable. So I installed Firefox, and I use it on two of my three computers, happily, and the spyware-infested laptop is now a spyware-free laptop! Happy days.
Sometimes you have to sneak up on yourself to get something done.
It's a good place to edit your blog, on a cloudy Tuesday in Berkeley. Just enough activity to provide inspiration without being too distracting. And the coffee, even if it isn't the best in the world, is fresh and plentiful, and the Internet works. And across the street a man who looks like an ape with sunglasses smokes slowly, in the same place he was yesterday. Slowly smoking. Not going anywhere. Just standing there looking like an ape and a man at the same time, smoking, slowly.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Scoble has been raving privately about two new services from Memeorandum, for months, but hasn't been able to talk about it publicly, until now. The two services are Tech Memeorandum and Political Memeorandum. "Memeorandum chews through thousands of blogs in minutes and tells you what's important. It does this every few minutes. It is dramatically faster than I could ever be. It's all machine based. No humans involved," says Scoble. I'm looking forward to checking it out.
Microsoft PDC session on the future of RSS. Maybe RSS has something to say about the future of Microsoft. Not a joke, not even slightly. If Microsoft wants to accomplish anything by using RSS, they have to let RSS use Microsoft. It's not enough for MS to embrace RSS, they must let RSS embrace MS. I don't think this has really sunk in over there at MS yet, but I have hope that it will.
I'm having coffee with Don Hopkins -- one of the programmers on The Sims. He says "every object has a bit that says whether it's burning or not." Pretty coool!
The Jerusalem Post is hosting blogs with Manila.
On Friday I asked where are the mainstream news podcasts.
Om Malik reports that eBay is buying Skype for $4.1 billion.
Jon Udell's departure checklist.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
BTW, when people ask what RSS is, I say it's automated web surfing. We took something lots of people do, visiting sites looking for new stuff, and automated it. It's a very predictable thing, that's what computers do -- automate repetitive things.
Continuing the discussion about technologies with weird names, consider Wifi. What does "wireless fidelity" mean? Who came up with that nonsense phrase and why? There are TV commercials that talk about wifi, so it's become pretty mainstream. While we're at it, what does TV mean? Vision over tele. Hellllo. Okay, one more, what will we call EVDO? Do you know what it is? Some people who think RSS isn't a good enough name for RSS throw around the term EVDO as if everyone knows what it means. Remember that TV commercial about wifi? They talk about "wireless broadband access." What do you suppose that means? Oy.
Stan Krute on blogging of the Roberts hearings, which start tomorrow.
I could only watch two minutes of Meet the Press before the disgust came back. Russert is doing what he always does, tries to twist the soundbite into an admission of hypocrisy. New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin doesn't have the lawyer's gift that former prosecutor Rudy Giuliani does. "Is it really racism?" Russert expresses doubt, asking over and over for proof that decisions were made on a racist basis. The answer is in another question. If the dying tax-paying grandmas were white do you think they would have been left to die? I don't care if a Republican actually said out loud that he or she hates blacks, the actions speak for themselves. We live in a sick country with a sick governing process, and that sickness definitely includes the press.
Scott Rosenberg has a talk with his past self.
ABC News Nightline, a daily news broadcast, is a podcast.
Steve Gillmor: "There's nothing up Bill's sleeve."
Four years ago, you know what.
Doc Searls on 9/11/01: "I need to pick up the kid from school soon. This morning he wanted to know why his parents were crying. We couldn't begin to explain."
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Joe Beda from Google checks in on connecting to Google Talk from Radio, but I don't think we have SSL running in there, if not we're out of luck, for now at least. Maybe this is one of those times when being GPL will help us muster the developer resources we need.
Scott Rosenberg: "...a juggernaut of dysfunction, headed for the ditch."
Two nightly news shows available via podcast: NBC Nightly News, PBS NewsHour. Thanks to Bob Stepno for links to both. Here's a guess why these shows are available via podcast and the NPR news shows are not. NPR is protecting their affiliate stations, giving them an exclusive on distribution. The two TV shows are only distributing audio, so they aren't undermining their current distribution network. I think it's short-sighted. It seems to me that NPR is in the news business not the radio business. Long-term they gain nothing by protecting the radio form, they just encourage competition in podcast-space from television-based news organizations.
Podcasting Couch has feeds for Air America radio shows.
Has anyone tried using Radio's built-in instant messaging verbs to talk through Google's Jabber server?
The Contra Costa Times has a feed for Berkeley news.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Where are the mainstream news podcasts?
Tariq Sharif: "I want to tell you about the Phishing Filter in IE7."
Rogers: Technorati's F'ing Ping Thing.
Some guy who lost his home in Katrina told Dick Cheney to go fuck himself. Cheney thought he was talking about someone named John.
A blog from a Katrina survivior in the Houston Astrodome.
Bob Doyle: The First Podcast.
Time: How Reliable Is Brown's Resume?
Four years ago: "Ballmer isn't on the first page of Steves." Still true.
Rogers Cadenhead: "The Louisiana Superdome is less than two miles from a bridge that leads over the Mississippi River out of the city."
Another piece of data has now come to light. Parts of metro New Orleans were hit by the storm surge. Water levels in most of the area rose more gradually, but in St Bernard Parish, the water rose eight feet in one hour. Had the whole of New Orleans been hit the way Chalmette was, many more people would have died, hard as that may be to believe.
Stephen Baker asks if Technorati is making deals to get ping data first.
Science: "There are times when scientists would prefer to be wrong."
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Tony Perkins: "There was a television show in the 1960's called F-Troop about an incompetent band of post-Civil War troops stationed at Fort Courage, somewhere west of the Missouri. Having been forced to deal with FEMA and other government bureaus these last few days, I am reminded of this sitcom, except this is no comedy."
Pfizer is offering free drugs to Katerina survivors.
Brent Simmons reviews user interface trends on the Mac.
Scoble interviews Microsoft founder Bill Gates. If I were him I'd ask if he reads Scobleizer. And of course I'd like to know if he reads Scripting News. And it would be cool if he asked him some hard questions, like this: If you had a choice would you be running Microsoft of 1976 or Microsoft of 2005? What advantages do Google and Yahoo have over Microsoft? Does the largeness of Microsoft ever get you down? Now, of course it's hard to interview a guy of Gates's stature, especially when he signs the paycheck of your boss's boss's boss's boss's boss's boss's boss.
Jeff Veen wants to know who will build Web 2.0.
Berkeley is home to political wireless networks.
Vint Cerf joins Google. "See you on the ‘Net!"
Maybe Vint will convince Eric, Sergey and Larry to talk with News.com.
It's cool that there are so many movie theaters in Berkeley.
On this day four years ago we had no idea what was in store for us three days hence.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
An amazing Netflix experience. Yesterday at 4PM, I dropped two movies in a mailbox in Berkeley. They were addressed to Netflix in Daytona Beach. This morning I got an email saying they had been received and this evening they mailed my next two movies, claiming they'd be here tomorrow. Wow.
Boing Boing now has distracting graphic ads in its RSS feed. So far it's just making it hard to scan their blog posts, but if it starts interfering as I scan others, I'll unsub. It'll be the second feed I said goodbye to because of annoying item-level ads. It's Feedburner again. Why they don't give users a way to opt out of these ads is beyond me.
News.com: "Apple Computer on Wednesday rolled out a cell phone capable of playing music and accessing iTunes."
They also announced a new iPod.
Steve Domas: "I just couldn't take it and went down to N.O. today. And I'm very heartened. Uptown, Warehouse District, and CBD are dry."
Scoble: "Steve Gillmor has this whole industry wrong."
The problem with authority these days is that they love themselves more than those they serve. George Bush praises the bureaucrats, you're doing a great job Bob, so are you Mike. Keep up the good work Pete. But wait a minute. People are dying. Are they doing a great job too? I guess if we interviewed them they might not say that they're too busy right now to talk about who or what killed them. Maybe they wouldn't be so happy with the president, maybe they wouldn't find his excuses very convincing. Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans is an exception, maybe he wasn't always so, but he is now. Same with the Times-Picayune. Times of major need can shake foundations and change things and wake people up. Too bad these things don't change before the levees break.
Rogers Cadenhead: "I awoke this morning to 40 mph winds from an outer band of Tropical Storm Ophelia."
All day yesterday I wondered if the world had finally come to its senses and denied Apple the huge unfair public relations advantage it has garnered by turning every secretive announcement into a rumor festival. I thought their announcement was yesterday. Maybe they're getting the same treatment of other technology companies, I wondered. I even went into an Apple store. And a Cingular store. No sign of anything new. Hmmm. Foolish me, I was off by one day. Hurricane or no, the rumor mill is churning. I refuse to get caught up in the foolishness. I refuse, I say. Then why am I pointing to a BBC article with speculation on what Apple's announcement might be? Arrrrrgh.
Steve Gillmor: "What, you say, no word processor?"
Oprah Winfrey: "This should not have happened."
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Mark Bernstein: What Ended.
Today's purchases include a new Apple mouse, and Sims 2 for the Mac. Don Hopkins, one of the Sims authors, says that the Sims for the PC requires special graphics hardware that apparently my machines (a Sony and a ThinkPad) don't have. Hopefully my Mac is capable. I also bought a new Linksys router to go with my cable modem.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune has been a total inspiration. Their coverage of Katrina has been a milestone in journalism. Great stuff. Proof that necessity is the mother of invention.
A Morning Coffee Notes podcast begins with a song, and then gets around to a rambling discussion of New Orleans and what has changed not just for the people of the Crescent City, but for all of us.
10/21/02: How to redirect an RSS feed.
Audioblog.com finds investors in Japan, Korea and China.
The cable company got my Internet working this morning, so now I have my own line to the outside world. Today marks the first day in a long time that I begin the day with a live net connection and nowhere to go. No four hundred miles to drive. Only one meeting, and it's on the phone. I have time for a walk, and healthy eating, an afternoon nap, and back to work on software. I have a great view of the Berkeley hills from my office window, every bit as stunning as the view out my window in Florida. Look forward to some pictures of life around Berkeley.
WSJ: "New Orleans's kids now have a better shot at getting a decent education."
Houston Chronicle: "The 70,000-unit apartment glut is disappearing."
Mike Watkins: "Don’t write one line of code, not one XML spec, until you’ve worked a week in a Red Cross call center on family reunification tasks."
Scott Rosenberg: "Let there be some accountability."
Monday, September 05, 2005
Editorial: "Today's New Orleans may be the first virtual city."
Interesting BBC editorial asks if Katrina has saved US media.
Jeff Jarvis: Recovery 2.0: A call to convene.
Rex Hammock: "Political persuasions, like the earth, can be round."
Scoble reviews my car's navigation system. (The toll-road avoidance feature is an option that can be turned off, but it defaults on, which is probably wrong. It was wrong for me, since my first trip was from St Augustine to the Orlando Airport, which involves a toll road, if you go the most direct way.)
A podcast duet with my navigation system, 6/11/05.
This is really puzzling. Yesterday the Charlotte Observer OPML file worked with my software, but today it's broken. If anyone from the Observer has a clue, I'd love to hear what happened. Thanks!
Scott Rosenberg: "No one knows how many thousands are dead. A minimum of hundreds of thousands are homeless. And Bush and his men are passing the buck. It doesn't get much lower than this."
This document "defines the People Finder Interchange Format, which encompasses both a data model and an XML-based exchange format for sharing data about people who are missing or displaced by natural or human-made disasters."
Boston Globe: "What's special about podcasting, though, is how it makes it simple for individuals or companies to express themselves and, if what they have to say is interesting, enlightening, or clever, to earn attention. You can point someone to a worthy podcast through a link on your blog, or an e-mail to a friend, in a way you could never point them to a snippet of radio. That's powerful."
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Houston Chronicle: "New Orleans police killed four looters who had opened fire on them today."
Rex Hammock links to various Katrina people-finder databases.
Watching Larry King, seeing how helpless people are at finding out the fate of family members, it's pitiful that we information technologists have not marshalled the systems to distribute information about survivors of the aftermath of Katrina. Following up on Doc Searls's War On Error concept, below, we ought to solve this problem as quickly as we can for Katrina and then deploy systems that make this work much better for future disasters. It's 2005, we have mastered the technology, now let's deploy it, with the intent of competence and success.
Doc Searls: "In the War on Error, people will need to take the lead. Governments will need to follow or get out of the way."
The Day: "The hurricane that struck Louisiana was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming."
Times-Picayune: "The breach in the 17th Street Canal levee that had put the city of New Orleans underwater was essentially closed early Sunday evening."
Hi-rez satellite pics of post-Katrina New Orleans.
Pics: Monterey, Pebble Beach, Carmel.
Army Times: Troops begin combat operations in New Orleans.
Patrick wonders how he'd spend $1 billion if he had that much money.
Scoble models modern blogging attire.
But it isn't in the top 20 for Syndication. Huh?
NY Times: "The French Quarter has been spared the worst of Hurricane Katrina's winds and sitting high enough to have avoided the flooding."
Nola.com, the site run by the Times-Picayune, has messages about hundreds of people still trapped and dying in New Orleans.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
This is what Scoble looks like when he blogs.
On CNN -- US Supreme Court Chief Justice William Renquist has died.
And here's a podcast we did. It's got a very simple theme.
Check this out. The Podfeed podcasting directory is now available in OPML. Awesome. Here's a screen shot of the outline being viewed in the OPML Editor. And here's an HTML rendering of their OPML. I bet the folks at the OPML search engine will be indexing it shortly. Hot damn!
NOAA: "MARIA NEARING HURRICANE STRENGTH."
According to the Houston Chronicle, the French Quarter has not been damaged by flooding, the Garden District and St Charles Avenue were heavily damaged by wind, and also has not flooded. From Google's satellite shots, much of Uptown, where Tulane and Loyola universites and Audubon Park are located, is not shown. .
MPR: "Thousands more bedraggled refugees were bused to salvation Saturday, leaving the city of New Orleans to the dead and dying, the elderly and frail stranded too many days without food, water or medical care."
Scoble has links to Google Maps with satellite imagery of post-Katrina New Orleans.
Houston Chronicle: Some evacuees say they won't return.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Times-Picayune: "The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway sustained no major damage from Katrina’s storm surge, the bridge’s general manager said in the first official report of its condition."
Houston Chronicle: "Four days after Hurricane Katrina struck, the National Guard arrived in force today with food, water and weapons."
Audio of WWL-AM interview with New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin.
Time Magazine in 2000: "If a flood of Biblical proportions were to lay waste to New Orleans, Joe Suhayda has a good idea how it would happen."
Forbes: Will Katrina ground airlines for good?
USA Today, in 2000: "New Orleans, a city of nearly 1.4 million people, sits below sea level, as much as 8 feet lower than water in nearby Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River and its delta, where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico."
Doc Searls: "When the dead are counted, most of them will have been poor."
Jason Lefkowitz, via email: "Bill Moyers' PBS show NOW did an entire program on the subject of 'what happens if New Orleans gets hit by a category 5 hurricane' in 2002:"
Scientific American article in 2001: "A major hurricane could swamp New Orleans under 20 feet of water, killing thousands. Human activities along the Mississippi River have dramatically increased the risk, and now only massive reengineering of southeastern Louisiana can save the city."
AP story in 2003: "The levees built to keep the Mississippi within its banks all but stopped the floods that used to lay down new layers of soil over the land."
MoveOn's hurricane housing matchup site.
On last NewsNight yesterday, Aaron Brown corrected President Bush who claimed that no one could have foreseen the collapse of the levees in New Orleans. Brown said that two reporters at the New Orleans Times-Picayune had foreseen it. I'm sure that's true, but it didn't stop there. CBS 60 Minutes had a segment on the issue, not sure when it aired, but it was some time back. It featured a federal bureaucrat in New Orleans, a very colorful guy, who explained eloquently how precarious the situation was. I saw the show and it made a very clear impression. That's why I was covering Katrina from the New Orleans perspective long before it was a national story. It looked like the scenario that 60 Minutes warned of, and in the end what happened was exactly what they predicted would. I've tried to find the piece, but haven't found it yet. If you can, please send me a pointer. We need to find this guy.
In the background are all the other preventable disasters that have been predicted. Recently, I think again on 60 Minutes, I saw a story about a key vulnerability in New York's infrastructure -- the subway system and the rivers it passes under. If there were a breach in one of the tunnels, say a bomb exploded, not ncessarily a big one, and caused one of the tunnels to fail, letting in water from the East River, for example. The entire system would flood, quickly, possibly killing thousands, and turning the city back to the time before the subways. Like New Orleans's levees, this technical innovation allowed the city to grow, from a relatively small concentration of homes and businesses in lower Manhattan, populating the rest of Manhattan and the boroughs -- the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens. Staten Island, which is still relatively unpopulated, has no subway connecting it with the rest of the city. People who argue that we shouldn't rebuild New Orleans would probably say we shouldn't rebuild New York either. Now, the city could be protected against this disaster, with walls that close automatically when there's a breach, and stay closed until it can be repaired. As far as I know, nothing is being done about this vulnerability.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
NewsHour: "The editor of Scientific American magazine explains how the levees broke and what crews can do to plug the holes."
Don Park has before-and-after sattelite pictures of New Orleans.
BBC: "New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has issued a 'desperate SOS' for thousands of people stranded with no food or water at the city's convention centre."
Brendan Greely: "Since Sunday, hundreds of evacuees from New Orleans have arrived in Lake Providence and the surrounding area."
NPR's podcast directory. Looking for the OPML...
I've had a chance to think about the US Open tennis tournament going on in NYC, and I am very angry about it. How dare the citizens of NY, who received so much help from the rest of the country, host a sporting event, while this tragedy is unfolding. September 11 was an instant event, it destroyed a large complex of buildings and killed thousands of Americans, but it was over quickly, and except for emotional damage, the city went on exactly as it did before. This is so much bigger, it effects so many more people, and its effect will be felt for the indefinite future. New York must stop right now, and reflect on exactly how it can now come to the aid of the rest of the country. It is completely inappropriate for a sport tournament to be going on now, while so many are suffering, while so many are dying.
It's not as if California can afford to look the other way, either.
The president is going to the wrong place tomorrow. New Orleans is where the problem started. Yes, there are still people there who need help, desperately, but the help they need is to be removed from New Orleans. Now Mr President, where will they be moved to? After they move, they won't be going back to New Orleans anytime soon. No planning is possible there. Touring New Orleans is looking in the wrong direction, back in time. That's just plain dumb. Go to Houston, go to Atlanta, Jackson, go to places that are habitable, and start working on getting these Americans, most of whom voted for you (how different from NYC) into homes befitting Americans. We need to figure out how we're going to house over a million homeless US citizens. I think now you have to very seriously consider removing our troops from Iraq, and bringing them home to the US, where they can build housing for the people of the United States. I don't think the dwindling support for the war will last through the next few weeks, as the dire state of our country sinks in with the populace.
Dan Conover asks a question that's much on my mind too.
CNN: Americans opening spare rooms to evacuees.
Rex Hammock: "Nashville is becoming a destination for people leaving those areas. There are lots of folks here opening their homes to friends and relatives."
Good morning. I'm watching the continuing television coverage of the Katrina aftermath (which needs a new name, some have suggested diaspora). Already nearby cities are turning away refugees. You have to wonder how far the refugees will travel. Will the problem spread throughout the South? Beyond? And what about mercy for the people, where are they going to go? How would you feel if you were a refugee? A woman on the I-10 says angrily that she's a taxpayer, but no one is trying to save her life. These are Americans! Meanwhile, sports events continue. The Director of Homeland Security preaches preparedness. Ads on TV urge us to buy huge recreation vehicles and to attend home decoration shows. Buy a new deodorant, switch to a new cola. Americans are dying, right now. Nothing like this happened in the aftermath of 9/11 and that disaster was much smaller than this one. A small part of a big city was destroyed. In this event a large US city is being ravaged. The disaster is continuing. The national response is wholly inappropriate. I think we have to get ready to welcome the refugees into our homes, to absorb the population of New Orleans and the surrounding area into the rest of the country. It's clear that's where we're headed.
NY Times: "The president appeared a day later than he was needed."
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