Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Steve Gillmor points to a three-part podcast discussion between myself, Steve, Dan Farber and Mike Vizard about lots of stuff. The best part is where I told Dan I was his worst nightmare. Emailing with Adam Curry today, who's been listening to the discussion, he says his favorite part is where I said that horse and buggy drivers used to have jobs too. Good for a few laughs, for sure.
New York's John Heillemann explains Google's face-off with the book publishers. "The dispute is about more than books," he says and that's exactly right. And it's not just about old media either, they want to suck up and repurpose our stuff too. I've been saying the same thing to everyone who will listen. Their fight with book publishers is just the opening act with their fight with all media, and our interests and theirs (Google's) are opposite.
BTW, just for kicks, ask the EFF to put something in their rights of bloggers document that explains copyright for bloggers. They won't put it in because Google controls them. Ask. See if they'll do it. If they will, I'll retract the claim.
So how could Google be so utterly evil when they employ such enthusiastic and idealistic people? I don't know. You see this at lots of Silicon Valley companies. The guys in the board room have cold hearts, but they spin a good yarn, and get good people to keep their servers running.
Now that Yahoo and Microsoft have explained their RSS strategies, Richard MacManus is looking for Google to have one too.
Jim Amoss: "We want word from Washington that a great American city will not be left to die."
New Flickr set: "I drove around New Mexico in July 2004, considering it as a place to move to later in the year. Did my first road podcast on this trip."
Yahoo hit a home run last night. Very low key, quiet little invasion of RSS Land, in a very thoughtful way. This is the advantage Yahoo has, almost no one feels threatened by them, so they can turn on a few hundred million RSS readers in one step and it makes the top item on Memeorandum without anyone expressing any fear. An enviable posiiton.
John Battelle almost gets there today in figuring out where the limits are for Google. First, Microsoft is not the prior art, Netscape is. What was their failure? They didn't create opportunities for other tech companies to lock them in. That's where P/E comes from in the tech world. You need a growing community of businesses who depend on your survival to keep you growing. The leaders at Netscape didn't get that they had a wonderful platform -- HTML and HTTP. Instead they tried to create a new one, Java, and that was wrong. They died for that sin. I think Google misunderstands that their platform is advertising, that's a temporary transitional thing, the real platform is (doh) Search. Why do you think I called for their competitors to clone the Google API without the limits? Because I gave up on Google ever figuring this out. But there's still time. They could open up their back end and let the entrepreneurial juices work toward locking them in. It's too much to expect Microsoft or Yahoo to figure this out, btw (although I will support either of them the instant they do). I will also let you know if Google decides to live instead of cashing it all in. The only way to escape Netscape's fate for Google is to unlock the door and let other developers build components that run in and build on their cloud, without limits.
Apparently Microsoft has announced Fremont, which is their foray into online classified advertising. Remember I said that Google Base wouldn't be without competition? This is what I was thinking of.
NY Times: "The Grateful Dead's decision to stop a Web site from offering free downloads of its music has fans threatening to boycott the band's recordings."
One year ago today, Brent Simmons wrote of the virtues of XML-RPC. To be clear, the XML-RPC site is not on a UserLand server, it was at one time, but not now (as if that mattered). Too much is made of personality differences, frankly it's an excuse offered when people don't have any pragmatic reasons to reinvent. Why change the names of things that are well-known? I was struck that in the DNA world, humans and mice share 99 percent of their genetic structure. God didn't see the need to change the names of things, so why do Sun and IBM? Microsoft has embraced RSS, why hasn't Sun? Why hasn't IBM? Or have they, and it's just a few of their employees who make it seem otherwise? (Answer: They have.) What about Google? XML-RPC is part of the working set. It's in use all over the place, quietly helping things be compatible. It's earned its place. It's time for people to stop using the fig-leaf-size excuse that they don't like certain people. It's pretty obvious that's not much of a reason to make things incompatible.
An analogy. I don't like shrimp. Never have. I've tried eating shrimp, but I just don't like the taste. Same thing with crawfish and lobster. No matter how you dress it up, I don't like shrimp. Last night at the Yahoo party they served a huge variety of shrimp dishes. Everyone but me (it seemed) was enjoying the food. I didn't stop the event and say we need to all move to a different bar in a different city because I don't like the food being served here. I appreciated that I am not the only person there, and I'm used to working around this peculiarity of mine (which I recognize it as, not a fault of others). This is what adults do when they don't like something or somebody. They don't whine and call people names and try to stop the party.
Mike Arrington reports from a Yahoo press briefing in SF about RSS last night, which I attended. They're including a nice smallish RSS reader in their Mail app. I had seen it before, and it's a River of News aggregator. The food was good, the company excellent. I got to meet Om Malik, and had a good talk with Anil Dash, who tells me that TypePad has some very nice OPML support.
I've received a bunch of email about yesterday's last post. I do provide a fair amount of background information in the previous days' posts. I am a customer, paid full retail price for both Macs and the iPod. All have their factory default settings for connecting iPods to Macs. I don't owe Apple anything. FYI, I had exactly the same experience when I connected the iPod to my iBook when I was in NYC, on Thursday, but this time I was watching carefully to be sure that I didn't click OK to any dialogs giving it permission to delete all the content on the iPod.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
8:50PM Pacific: Plugged the video iPod into my desktop computer in Berkeley, and watched very carefully as it erased the contents of the iPod without confirmation. I didn't accidentally click OK giving it permission to erase all the content on the iPod, it did it without asking. Amazingly bad user interface.
Lance Knobel on Tom Friedman and the invention of podcasting. Analogously, who wrote Tom Friedman's latest book? No one, it just popped off the printing press.
Interview with Josh Kinberg on the origins of video blogging.
I know what Rex is saying about Apple and its likelihood of success as the digital hub for the home, but I can't overlook the likelihood that this product will suffer from the same attitude that causes iTunes to delete all my music without a way to get it back other than getting on an airplane and flying across the country.
On the other hand, there's always a silver lining. Once your memory is wiped clean and the backup is far away, you can always use the Internet to find new stuff to distract you. This time my discovery was Amanda Congdon, Rocketboom, and the stuff they sample. There's an active creative community around video blogging, Steve Garfield's stuff is great (and visible through Rocketboom) and Amanda is funny, irreverent and charming in a weird and nice way. At times she's almost like Chaplin, she's trying (a little too hard) to be Jon Stewart. But they know when to shut up and let the story take over (like the video of the Halloween parade in NYC). I watched all of November's podcasts over the last few days. Now I find myself looking forward to the daily installation. I'm subscribed. And the video iPod, flawed marvel that it is, got me to look. So Apple continues to have the power to focus attention on things worth focusing on.
Sorry no pointers, but Sun and Microsoft look so irrelevant squabbling with each other. Like two fat over the hill wrestlers trying for a revival. Meanwhile Apple is busy creating new user experiences. Has Office jumped the shark? Yes, around 1990 or so. No one cares. Except you guys, of course. I know why Sun keeps trying to bait Microsoft, but one wonders why Microsoft keeps taking the bait. Maybe they both yearn for the old days when the press covered every salvo in the great Java Wars of the 90s. But the users moved on and the reporters lost their jobs. It was a bad investment. Would have been better to stake out new user experiences made possible by ubiquitous networking, like Apple did, like we did.
Monday, November 28, 2005
TiVO has just taken what I think will turn out to be a huge step in the right direction. The same technology that allows users to skip over ads they aren't interested in, can now find ads they are interested in. I predict that this is going to be as big a feature as the other one.
Jim Moore: "Madison Avenue meets Craig's List!"
This issue, btw, was exactly where the philosophical split was between Adam Curry and myself. I reasoned that podcasts, unlike TV or radio, were only available on devices that could easily skip over intrusive messages, and therefore commercialism would evolve in a different way, with the constraint that the commercial info had to be welcomed by the user. We wouldn't be couch potatoes or eyeballs (or earballs, I guess) -- but that didn't mean all of a sudden we weren't interested in buying things.
Timely piece in the SJ Merc, interviews CurryCo CEO Ron Bloom. "There's a $32 billion war chest invested in radio advertising," he says. Wrong answer, Ron.
Raymond Kristiansen has a screencast that shows Scoble how to open his Bloglines subscription list in the OPML Editor. There's another way (sorry I didn't remember this at first). It pays to review the docs every once in a while.
Johannes Ernst summarizes a consensus that may be emerging for identity.
LA Times: "We thought we'd better be specific, so we prayed for hot dogs, because they could be cut up to feed a lot of people," Fay Jones said. "About the time we said 'Amen,' a guy drives up with a truck filled with 2,600 hot dogs. That was the beginning of the miracles around here."
David Mercer compares OPML to Gopher.
Here's the part of the Darwin exhibit where they talk about the Pope.
Lots of food for thought in my meeting on Saturday with Nick Denton. They're big users of blogging software at Gawker, and Nick has a lot to say about where it should be going. One thing he says should be easier is images. He's right, and I can see that sooo clearly, having switched platforms recently. We both realized that there's opportunities for lots of new widgets for weblog authors, but no standard easy to use platform for integrating them. I noticed that WordPress doesn't even give the user a way to edit their site template. This is a major step backward. Both Manila and Blogger gave this power to users, in 1999! Hello. Earth to developers. You're not supposed to take features out. Products are supposed to bloat, not disappear. We need to get back to work. We've been spending too much time fighting over who gets to reinvent what's already been invented. I think it's high time for some new standards. Next time someone tells you to throw out something that's working, tell them to invent something new or shut up.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
I went to the Darwin exhibit with the parents at the Natural History Museum in NY earlier today. I was struck by a panel in the last part of the exhibit, the inevitable "What about Intelligent Design" question. They had a quote from Pope John Paul, that I think is the rational middle-ground. He said he accepts the theory of evolution (obviously, its validation is all around us everywhere we look, on our faces, in our bones, in the drugs we use to cure disease), but that doesn't invalidate god, even the Christian god. He says Darwinian theory accounts for the physical world, but to understand man's soul we must look to god. Right on. I think the Pope got it right. To me, god is the box where I put the answer to mysteries I don't understand. That helps me get into harmony with most of the rest of the human race who don't pretend to understand everything in existence.
Where I part from the established faiths is that I don't claim to know if there actually is a being that is responsible for all that I don't understand, but I'm pretty sure that isn't a very big difference. Whatever gets you through the night -- that's my philosophy. If it helps you sleep to believe that there are answers to these questions, more power to you. Just don't legislate your beliefs, don't force them on others (ie don't force them on me!), don't make them wrong for believing differently from you, and I'm happy.
Scoble wants to use Bloglines and Newsgator with the OPML Editor, and in doing so baits the flamers who never seem to tire of railing at and about OPML. Oh if only they'd get busy inventing something new. It's not news that all formats that are deployed have things you can criticize them for. In that sense it's a lot like software. The only perfect formats are the ones in your imagination. And I wish Scoble would stop inciting the flamers. There are non-inflamatory ways of asking the questions he asks. I've discussed this with him many times, and have concluded that he wants to be embroiled, and that makes him as bad as the flamers (even though he's more fun to hang out with, by a wide margin). At this point I imagine that even some of the flamers are getting tired of this little back and forth. I hope so! Go see the Darwin exhibit for an idea of the challenges in front of us. It'll make the flaws and the flames in and about a humble little format seem more acceptable, I think. Perhaps. I hope.
Interesting item on Boing Boing about the Grateful Dead and online music, with comments via Memeorandum from Radio Free Blogistan and Library Stuff. Lots of spin on the story, not sure what the truth is. I've asked a friend who's a Deadhead to look into it.
John Roberts (of CNET) doesn't want all his feeds to be full text. Me, I prefer if they are, but I'm not a hard-ass about it. If they have good summaries, that's okay too. What I really dislike are the feeds that contain the first 128 characters of each post and then make you click a link to read the full post.
Mark Cuban explains why iPods don't come pre-loaded with lots of music. I had a similar question about the video iPod, which comes with absolutely no video on it, not even a Pixar animation, or even a classic commercial from the past. You'd think that sponsors would be willing to pay money to be one of the first things a user sees when they boot up their new video iPod. The subject came up in my lunch with Nick Denton and David Galbraith at the 2nd Ave Deli, yesterday. Nick says it's also about licensing. Every time a commercial is played, a royalty is due the musicians and actors. I still don't understand, but it sounds right anyway. :-(
Rex Hammock saw Walk the Line, a movie about Nashville (where he lives) and liked it. I saw it too, and felt the same way. Pretty good movie. Who would have thought Johnny Cash could be the subject of such a compelling story.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Notes to first-time-user JCD: 1. You can change the header graphic, and if you edit the template, remove it altogether. The picture of Harry is just to get you started. See the docs for the blogging tool. 2. You can use an external editor to edit the OPML. There's nothing special about the OPML editor. If you prefer to use a different tool, just save the files in the same place (and leave the OPML Editor running, it's got the code that pushes the stuff up to the server). Where is that place? Choose Open www Folder from the Community menu and look around. Works the same on Mac and Windows. I agree the outliner could use improvement. It's GPL. Download the source and have a go, or hire a programmer to do it for you.
Jeff Jarvis tells Yahoo and others to hand over "his" attention data.
Media Life: "While Cooper may have wowed audiences reporting from New Orleans, he's off to a poor start anchoring CNN's revamped primetime news show." Just bring back Aaron Brown and all will be forgiven.
Oy I have time to kill in NYC, but I'm lazy and it's cold. Such problems!
Phil Jones: "The art of software creation is to discover interesting sweet-spots which capture the syntactic commonality between a lot of different things people want to do, while adding useful constraints that simplify the task, and just enough semantics to make the whole thing plug into the real-world requirements of users."
I had a great dinner last night with my parents. Wish we had podcast some of it (some of it was uncastable). Whatever. My dad has a bunch of different blogs, the one he seems to care the most about, though, isn't a blog at all, and has no RSS feed for people to subscribe to. Lots of people have sent mail asking why, and I say it's not up to me. The author doesn't want to make it a blog. I asked him about this last night, and he said it was a blog, he adds stuff to it all the time. I tried, but some things are hard to explain. Anyway, this morning he wrote a great piece, a confessional, as if written by our President, explaining why he did what he did. It's on a blog you can subscribe to.
Lisa Williams, who's doing a fantastic job of covering the OPML developer and user community (subscribe here) is happy to get the OPML Editor working with her WordPress site. I must say that the WordPress experience has been very gratifying. There have been some difficulties with non-wordpress.com installations, there appear to be limits in their XML-RPC handlers, but a nice little sub-community is booting up. We'll figure out what the fixes are, in due time.
Kosso is playing with OPML as a way to author multimedia apps. (This post was here last night, but I added the wrong link. This is the correct one.)
J Wynia samples RSS feeds, mixing in Yahoo's search API, producing an OPML list.
Friday, November 25, 2005
EirePreneur: Why OPML is winning.
I'm looking for videoblogs or podcasts in MP4 format.
Thanks for all the recommendations. I'm downloading stuff and trying it out. First observation is that Rocketboom has it made. AmandaCo should get $28.5 million from Kleiner Perkins. NerdTV may be the IT Conversations of video. And don't forget Better Bad News!
Wired: "Whereas Microsoft infamously smothered new and open standards, Google is famous for supporting them." I don't know why people say that about Google. (I do know why they say it about Microsoft, but they've turned 180 degrees.) Google is the lone standout, still fighting against RSS. Why they're concerned is obvious, RSS helps users get information without an intermediary. In a world with fully-efficient RSS flows, the need for a search engine at the center of all Internet traffic is lessened.
Jeremy Zawodny had a bad experience with iTunes yesterday too. You know, reading his story actually makes me feel better. The bad part about it is that I was looking forward to watching a movie on this little hand-held marvel. Watching a movie on the subway in NY and seeing what people think. Apple is very seductive. But also flaky. The joy of it will wear off, for sure. And when the initial experience is so disappointing, you gotta wonder if the whole thing is worth the trouble. The same thing happened with the Apple laptop and the desktop I bought. But then it also happened with the Sony Vaio. But it didn't happen with my new Toyota earlier this year, or my Lexus, which I bought in 1999. Both worked flawlessly. It seems the computer industry hasn't gotten to the stage yet where it can really deliver delight to users. Maybe we spend too much time trying to fuck up the user experience. I think of that when I see pages with fifteen different formats that all do the same thing. Why? There's no need for it. How many of those types of battles were fought inside Apple that resulted in the super-shitty experience I had and Jeremy had. Maybe we need to take a step back and start thinking a bit about how this kind of bullshit keeps us from growing.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Arrrgh, I plugged my new iPod into my old Mac and lost everything on it. Never got a confirmation dialog asking if it was okay if it wiped out the music and audiobooks that I painstakingly took hours of my time to set up. Never mind that the originals are on the other side of the United States. Honestly, how dare they design software that's so brutal?
Adam Curry wants to get an OPML subscription list from iTunes. I've heard it's possible, I'd like to have a look too.
Even vegetables have tags in 2005.
New Flickr set: Microsoft's Jean Paoli visited at Berkman.
Raymond Kristiansen: "My OPML file is one of my greatest assets."
Danny Ayers asks Raymond the question that XML geeks always ask about OPML. And Raymond gives him the answer I always give (but it's great they can hear it from a user now). "There are tools." Users don't care about formats, they care about getting their ideas organized and out there. OPML does that for them. I remember explaining that to Edd Dumbill five years ago, and he then wrote about it on XML.Com and ridiculed it, saying OPML had "secret hidden powers." If you make software for users, there's no mystery. OPML is unique in that the application, outlining, existed before the format. So unlike most XML formats, it's not stuck waiting for tools.
Mark Pilgrim wrote an excellent tutorial for Mac users explaining how to rip a DVD for viewing on an iPod. I tried it out last night, it works. Thanks!
Click on the turkey...
Happy Thanksgiving today in the USA!
Lillian Kreisle, whose name I'm sure I'm mangling, was my first book keeper at my first company. She was a generation older than us young whipper snappers, we were in our 20s, and determined to make a place for ourselves in the world. She might have been impressed with our vigor, but she was not impressed with our manners. She gave me some advice that I'd like to pass on today.
"Instead of hitting people with a hammer, use a feather instead," she said. For example, instead of telling a customer that you won't give them what they're asking for, say you can't, and then explain why. There's often a gentler way to say no.
This holiday is about giving thanks, which is a bit of a paradox, because giving thanks not only feels good for the person being thanked, it actually feels as good or better for the person giving the thanks. Usually forcing yourself to do something is not a great thing, so try out Lillian's method on yourself. With a feather, ask yourself to give thanks to the most unusual thing you could possibly give thanks to, and when you do it, thanks turns into forgiveness. No pain no gain, they say, and the inverse is often true -- the things that hurt the most often teach us the most too.
I think what Lillian was saying was even greater. There's something missing in much of the relating we do with others, with our family, our friends, our business associates, and that's kindness. So today is one of the handful of days that we set aside to honor everyone and everything, the greatest gift you can give is just that, being kind. A little extra patience. See it from their point of view in addition to seeing it from yours. Think what they give, even if it isn't always given with kindness, and add more kindness back the other way. Think how you can be kinder, and then do it again.
Maybe in addition to Thanksgiving, we should have a new holiday, Kindgiving! That would be cooooool.
I always try to write on Thanksgiving Day, it's one of the best days to write because it's a day when writing can do the most good. People let you get away with more schmaltz than most days. Truth be told, I'd happily write about this stuff every day, but people wouldn't be in the mood. So I pull out all the stops on this day.
Thanks for listening!
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Progress report on the connection between Wordpress and the OPML Editor (in a Wordpress post, of course).
Hey the Wordpress tool is working so well, I thought I'd release the source. Caveat: No support. If you have a problem, post a comment and maybe we'll figure out what's going wrong. Let's have fun!
David Czarnecki has Blojsom working with the OPML Editor.
Hacking Netflix: "When did AOL become cool again?"
I bought the video iPod today. It's great. Can't wait to watch a movie on it. (Postscript: An anonymous reader sent me a gift on the iTunes music store, Alice's Restaurant. Now that's just plain nice. Thanks, whoever you are.)
TopTenSources publishes "a daily 'Top 10' site of the best newsfeeds on the Internet." Each day's list is also available in OPML, and I've linked it into the Community Directory in the right margin here on Scripting News.
Hey there are now twenty feeds in the Web 2.0 Workgroup. There must be some kind of karmic balance to the universe. When there are thirty, maybe we'll be at Web 3.0? Hey.
Got an email from Jim Moore saying his dog ate his cell phone. He says it really happened. Wow. Yesterday I heard an interview on NPR with English teacher and novelist Frank McCourt, saying the most creative writing were the absence notes students wrote for themselves. He assigned them to write excuses for famous people like Richard Nixon and Lee Harvey Oswald.
I hate to say this but I think I'm going to buy a video iPod today. I went down to Best Buy yesterday and got the demo. I was pretty enchanted. I hate Steve Jobs for getting me to do this, though. :-(
Adam Green: "That is his strategy: nag until defacto."
Adam's a really smart guy, and I'm glad he's blogging. So much stuff to add to his posts. My two role models for evangelism are Bill Gates and Guy Kawasaki, two very effective promoters of ideas. I'm sure Adam will appreciate this story. I ran into Gates at a Comdex in Las Vegas in 1985 or 1986. He was already an icon, and being in his presence was a bit intimidating. Now a lot of guys in his position would use that advantage to dominate, but not Gates. He nagged me to do a Windows app. There's no doubt my support was far from a deal-maker for him, but his persistence impressed me. A good evangelist wants to win over everyone, or almost everyone. I suspect Gates was actually kind of happy he didn't have to work with Jim Manzi.
Re the heads up below, I was able to get it working in short order. This will probably only be of interest to about a dozen people, but it's important. Now the OPML Community Server is completely self-contained, it does not depend on an external server for static serving. I've posted my notes on the server itself. Even if you don't care, could you click on the link to make sure you see the page, with a picture of Harry Truman at the top of the page. Many thanks!
This week's Frontline about Katrina and politics was, of course, fascinating. It turns out the big issue in disaster response is an idea that's also very big in our world. They need their systems to be interoperable. Some cities buy body armor for their dogs before they get their systems to work together. That's the biggest reason people die, they say.
Heads up to people in the OPML Editor community. I'm pretty sure I've figured out how to easily get the OPML Community Server to work on port 80 without having to do an extensive test round, with no other web server required. I had hoped we could entice some people from the Frontier-kernel list to pitch in, but I won't hold it up. I think I should be able to post a howto on this before the end of the week.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Podcast: OPML meets Attention.
Next Flickr photo set --> Randy Green's car.
Niall Kennedy: "I created a Simple Sharing Extensions exporter for NetNewsWire followed links as a proof of concept."
Dmitri Glazkov thought this picture of Al Franken at last year's DNC was "classic."
Ponzi reports on her vacation with Chris in Maui. Perhaps I'm enjoying their vacation more than they are.
I'm heading to NYC for Thanksgiving; to prepare I'm listening to WNYC on the Internet, and getting the east coast's weather reports. It's quite a shift in perspective, being here in Berkeley where it's still t-shirt weather. The flowers are in bloom, everything smells so beautiful. They're getting ready for snow back east! Better dress warm.
Scott Rosenberg: "Right now, I am uncomfortable with what Google Base seems to be all about -- piling tons of information into containers owned and operated by a company that is less than fully transparent."
Yesterday, I said I'd say what's next here today. A bunch of things, the world outline, a.k.a the Googlish way to do directories. Also, an open architecture search engine, so special-purpose search tools have a way of getting to market without being bought by Google. These things would open up the flood gates for creativity and new Internet applications and knowledge-sharing. Also, to get there, we'll need a lightweight identity system that interoperates cross-vendor.
Last year on this day: How to extend RSS 2.0.
Does Wordpress.com support the Metaweblog API?
I don't see eye-to-eye with this analysis of the growth of RSS. Costolo says that in October 2003, RSS was synonymous with blogs, for many. Hard to argue with that, because I don't know what "many" means to him, but I can't imagine anyone thinking they are synonymous (maybe he could have found a better word). I feel that RSS was always a meeting place between publishing and blogging, a place where both exist and compete on a roughly level playing field. In 1999 when my.netscape and my.userland came online, I'd say published media was way ahead of the blogging world, then we caught up, but they kept pace. I think the big turning point for RSS came on March 20, 2002, when the NY Times was published in RSS. But the tech industry generally ignores its users, in this case the publishing industry, and that turned out to be a big mistake. The techies thought 2003 was Year Zero (as Costolo says), but at that time the publishing industry was busily following the Times, deploying RSS 2.0. In any case he's surely right that podcasting is much bigger in 2005 than it was in 2003.
Scoble explains Doug Engelbart's purple numbers. In the comments, Jeroen Sangers says no CMS generates them, but that's not true, the tool I use for Scripting News does. My method works better than Engelbart's, I can insert a new paragraph in the middle, and even move them around without breaking external links.
Mike Arrington: Companies I'd like to Profile (but don't exist).
Scott Rosenberg: "[Murtha] has sources and connections in the Pentagon, and when he talks about how urgently we need a new plan, you can bet that this is what he is hearing from inside the armed forces."
Monday, November 21, 2005
Russell Beattie: "I'd like to see them embrace a simple data formatting spec as well, so that arbitrary data (like dates, strings and numbers) could be embedded into an RSS Item and syndicated as well."
Jean Paoli (of Microsoft): "Together with Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, the British Library, Essilor, Intel, NextPage, StatOil and Toshiba, we are co-sponsoring the submission to Ecma, the international standards body, of the Microsoft Office Open XML document formats."
Hey I have a Wordpress blog now. It was pretty easy to set up. And the price is right.
Congrats to John Palfrey, who was just appointed as a full professor at Harvard Law School. Such a young man, so many accomplishments, not the least of which is he's my former boss (though he doesn't admit it) at Berkman.
Adam Green: "Microsoft and Google are being maneuvered into a massive game of chicken. I'll show everyone my Office data if you'll show your search data."
Mike Arrington: "New companies will be built on the back of SSE."
Sebastien Laye: "Developers deserve an API to build applications on top of the next generation search engine."
Microsoft has unveiled a new proposal called SSE, which stands for Simple Sharing Extensions for RSS and OPML.
In 2005, RSS-based aggregators have been around for six years. They come in all sizes and shapes, some inspired by mail readers, others are "River of News" stream browsers; some run on the desktop, on laptops; some are centralized, some decentralized. Some run on PDAs and cell phones. If ever there was an idea that there would be one way to read RSS feeds, one application that would be right for everyone in every circumstance, certainly that time has passed. People need to share lists with others, and with themselves. When you subscribe to a feed at work, the aggregator at home should know about it too.
So we need some way to share subscriptions between different applications, between vendors -- we need an way to do that that works when the lists are small, and one that works when the lists grow large. Most important, it needs to be open, and in order to be really open it has to be simple, so that no vendor can use their large size as a way of keeping smaller competitors out of the market. We've seen that when this happens innovation stops. Let's learn from our past mistakes, and not make it so easy to dominate a market. Compatibility should never be a reason to choose one product over another. Let performance, features and price drive the market, not the obscurity of the wires connecting the apps together.
Amazingly, this philosophy is taking root in the software business, thanks to the leadership of wise people like Ray Ozzie, who I've known for almost twenty years. As you can tell from reading the archive on Scripting News, we haven't always seen things the same way, but I've always had enormous respect for Ray as a technologist and because he's a gentle and thoughtful person. There was an outliner in Notes, but I remember very well sitting in an audience hearing Ray tell people about it, and then calling me out as one of the people who blazed the trail for his work. It's so important to recognize each others' accomplishments, because that's how you build trusting relationships.
In technology, so often the technical solution is completely obvious to everyone. Why then is progress and cooperation so elusive? Because so few people take the time, as Ray does, to listen, and then to appreciate the contributions that others make, even those who work outside the organization you're part of. That's the spirit of the announcement we both are making today. I can talk about how Ray and Jack Ozzie, and the people at Microsoft, have taken something I created, and have created a solution to a problem we all have today, one that's going to get more serious in the future. Listen up, and see how they did this, because this is technology at its best. This is is technology working.
This is how I got into XML in the first place. It was another Microsoft person, Adam Bosworth, who persistently and gently nudged me into working in this space. The result was what we're working with today, now the ball has been picked up by Ray and Jack Ozzie. They didn't work at Microsoft when Adam was pushing me. Now he works at Google, who could, with a single act, ratify this work and instantly make it a standard. Such power! One wonders if it will be used. The same power lives at Yahoo and Apple.
In 1996, I wrote: "Here's an invitation to truly embrace the creativity of others. Instead of beating your breast about how great you are, try saying how great someone else is. Look for win-wins, make that your new religion. Establish a policy that nothing will be announced unless it can be shown that someone else will win because of what you're doing. How much happier we would be if instead of crippling each other with fear, we competed to empower each others' creativity."
Now, in 2005, almost ten years later, we may be grown-up enough to actually work this way. Microsoft's new approach to synchronizing RSS and OPML, using methods pioneered in Ozzie's earlier work, and keeping the "really simple" approach that's worked so well with networked syndication and outlining, combines the best of our two schools of thought, and this creativity is available for everyone to use. It's a proud moment for me, I hope for Ray and Jack and the rest of the people at Microsoft, and perhaps for the open development community on the Internet.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Tomorrow morning, watch this space for a new namespace for RSS and OPML from a group of designers at an important company. I'm looking forward to hearing what people think, as we continue to move forward.
In an email today, I wrote: "Why wait to anounce a consensus. That's always been the problem. I had my first meeting about identity in 1997. We haven't really gotten much further in eight years. The way to go forward is to stop planning on saying we agree, rather to start saying we agree."
NY Times profile of Sidney Verba, the head of Harvard's library, working with Google. This is an example of the kind of communication Google itself should be doing, instead of pushing us around, talk plainly and truthfully. It's a complicated issue, and we're not stupid. It would be so easy to turn the naysayers into supporters, but Google lacks the respect to talk with us as if we're intelligent.
Steve Gillmor: Time is on our side.
This is why the death penalty is wrong, because we kill innocent people, in the name of justice.
Lisa Williams: "I subscribe to hundreds of feeds, verging on 1,000. And I don't feel overwhelmed."
Like everyone else, I track hits of all my sites, and one thing they tell me is that I don't pay enough attention to XML-RPC, at least based on the amount of attention it gets for me. It's a big-flow site, almost as much as Scripting News, if you can believe that. It's the fifth hit on Google for XML, ahead of some pretty famous sites. It's by far the number one reason people go to the DaveNet site. I guess I pay too much attention to the critics who say that XML-RPC isn't good enough for them. I think those people may have other motives, something we used to call Not Invented Here, which means they'll dis it if they didn't invent it. Maybe it's time to dust off some of the good stuff in XML-RPC-land.
Scoble hosts an Open Sushi lunch in SF today, 1PM.
Adam Green says that 2006 is the year the web will explode. Interesting theory, hope it's not true, because when Google tries to host my content, how much you want to bet they'll also change what I say by adding links to things they like (for example ads) and removing unnecssary links (for example, the ones I put there). And maybe if I write a post that talks about Eric Schmidt's hometown (I think it's Atherton) that somehow magically that post won't appear. Or, perhaps my site won't be included at all, by some mysterious algorithm (like Google News) not deemed worthy of inclusion. Hey it's just one guy writing it, after all. This would be a very bad development, so bad it should be made illegal, quickly, before they actually do it.
BTW, in case you were at the HBS conference yesterday and caught my panel, this is what I was trying to say about the lack of maturity and vision in Silicon Valley. First, an example outside the valley. In 2001, Microsoft made a play to be the identity system for the Internet. Not just "an" identity system, "the" system. Technically it was probably very good but no one even considered using it. Why? Because it involved a lot of trust, and Microsoft had blown it, totally. No one in their right mind would trust a company that tried to cut off the air supply of a developer, deliberately. Now Google is probably going to try to do some hosting of our content, much like they're trying to host the content of the print industry. I suspect their arguments will be roughly the same as their defense of that program -- basically "Who the hell are you to tell us what to do."
BTW, this brings us around to the EFF, which now claims to be supporting the interests of bloggers. Well they miss this one very basic point. We're inevitably headed for a faceoff with Google, just like the one with the book publishing industry. I think it's pretty clear that the EFF will be defending Google, not us.
Mike Arrington summarizes our panel at the Harvard Business School conference yesterday.
New Orleans Times-Picayune: "Americans wanted the oil and gas that flow freely off our shores. They longed for the oysters and shrimp and flaky Gulf fish that live in abundance in our waters. They wanted to ship corn and soybeans and beets down the Mississippi and through our ports. They wanted coffee and steel to flow north through the mouth of the river and into the heartland."
Having just discovered his blog, I have some catching up to do.
On the Google API: "It would serve Google right if their API became a standard, and others allowed it to actually be used by everyone to make money, not just Google."
Saturday, November 19, 2005
For discussion: A way to identify the owner of an OPML document using the address of a web page. It's lightweight, yet powerful, and gets the job done while reducing spam.
11AM: Just arrived at the Harvard Business School conference, in Palo Alto. We're watching a guy on TV, speaking in Cambridge, I imagine. He's the CEO of Blackberry. Fascinating story. He's describing how a back-door-sell works. I didn't know that's how they got started. The wifi here is pretty good, free. We're at SAP, right next to Xerox PARC.
Today's podcast is about advertising and TechCrunch; and a lightweight approach to author identity and OPML.
Jeff Jarvis asks important questions about Google Base.
Amy Gahran is going to do the Women in Podcasting list in OPML. This is a good application for OPML, and the updating process she describes is a good use-case for the ownerId element described in today's opml.org post.
A two-page fax from Markos Zuniga (DailyKos) and Michael Krempasky (RedState.org) sent to members of Congress on November 9, apparently on behalf of bloggers, requesting an exemption from campaign finance law. Let's look into the ideas behind this, and who will profit from it, and why. It's not clear to me if this is something we should support.
NY Times: "If Google is allowed to go down this path unfettered, he added, copyright holders will have no way to stop others who want to do the same thing, perhaps with greater financial harm to authors and publishers."
Recall my whining post on Wednesday this week.
Turns out Firefox has a cryptic but powerful preference system, accessible by entering about:config into the address bar. This is an important bit of information I didn't have.
And then there's a pref called "browser.urlbar.clickSelectsAll" that is set to default false in Firefox 1.5. If you double-click on it, it changes to true, and when you open a new window, voila, I get the behavior I want.
Now, does this survive a restart? Let's hope so.
And imho, the default is wrong. I've gotten tons of email on this, and have conversed with a few people, including a couple who claim to be on the Firefox team (no reason to doubt them, of course). They say it changed in 1.5 to be consistent with the Mac UI guidelines, people cite Camino as being correct, and they want Firefox to be Camino-like apparently. To which I say it's great that Camino is there, and that makes it possible for Firefox to be consistent with itself, on Windows. And I hear that even Apple breaks the UI guidelines when it makes sense to. They're meant to be guidelines, not orders -- UI design requires judgement, it's an art, not a science.
And yes, I do know there are times when you need to take part of a URL, but it's relatively rare compared to the number of times you need the whole URL.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Check out the discussion around Nick's post on Technorati. Lots of tea-leave reading, lots of it insightful, some not so insightful. The important thing is the ideas are now in circulation and we're talking about pragmatic applications for attention that are possible today. Now there's more stuff in the pipe, from some places you're not expecting it, but when you see it, you'll slap your forehead and say "Of course, I knew that was coming." The end of the year is going to see lots of new stuff from lots of interesting places.
Ray Ozzie is blogging again.
Steve Gillmor: OPML, Audible, and Attention.
Nick Bradbury: An Attention Namespace for OPML.
Sorry for the light posting, the Internet access in my Virginia hotel was out, and there was no time at Dulles to log on. I'm in Detroit with just a few minutes between flights. I'll check back when I get to California early this afternoon, Pacific time.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
OPML.Org: "I've been steadily getting inquiries about extension mechanisms for OPML. I think it's now a good time to start discussing this."
New header graphic. Anita Wilhelm, illustrating the spirit of TagCamp in Palo Alto on October 29. Notable because it's the first graphic I produced on the Mac. Took about an hour, but I figured out how to use Graphic Converter Pro, which is pretty nice, but not quite as easy as ImageReady. The good news is now I should be able to do new little graphics in the margin. Ever since switching to the Mac, I've just been snarfing old ones from the archives.
Dvorak: "Content theft is here to stay and the big media companies are going to have to get used to it." Maybe they should start by not calling it theft, or piracy, and understand that bits are not exactly like other kinds of "property." Maybe it's wrong to think of them as property at all, before we devalue all the other kinds. Think about it. The world has changed. Soon all the people who were born before Napster will be old and then we'll be dead. The kids of today don't see it the way we were raised to see it.
More proof that Mike Arrington is at the center of the known universe (don't worry Mike, you'll be in the banner of Scripting News pretty soon now). The Riya launch party at his house in Atherton tomorrow night may well be where the announcement is made that Google has acquired them. Who knows, but it's the talk of the town, even though I'm in DC, and Mike himself is on a plane now heading this way. Funny Forest-Gump-like world we live in.
An important fix to close a security hole in the OPML Community Server. If you have a server running, and if you haven't modified the code, at the top of the hour it should have updated, and you should have the fix already installed.
It's been three years since I worked on the release of a server project, the last one was Radio Community Server. Shortly after that I got really sick, and as a result left the company, so it's still out there, but amazingly it still works. I downloaded a copy this morning to see how we dealt with this same issue. I was kind of curious and (a little anxious) to think that this issue might have slipped through and not been noticed for three years. Not to worry, the hole had been closed there too.
Closing a security hole is like dodging a bullet. You could say it's bad news because the hole was there, but experience has shown that new server software always has security holes. It's a good thing when a hole is closed, not a bad thing.
Phillip Pearson reported this one. He did it perfectly, as he always does. Phillip is one of those guys who you want to work with when you get a chance to. I was very happy to see him get in the loop on this project.
So, we got by this one, and there will be others for sure. There will also be performance issues, and crashes, and bad design we have to live with because of Rule 1 and Rule 1b. You don't know what they are? Aha, just wait.
It's great when people get back in the loop, but of course some people never will. I miss Terry Teague. Now that I'm using the Mac more or less full time, it would have been great to have his help in dealing with Mac software issues. But Terry died earlier this year, proving once again that there's no time like now, don't put off to tomorrow what you think of today, because eventually there will be no tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
From the Google Base FAQ: "Google Base will accept bulk uploads in TSV, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0 and Atom 0.3 formats. This means that content providers who already have RSS feeds can easily submit their content to Google Base without requiring much additional work." We need to find out more about this. Also check out this post on Bill Burnham's weblog, he implies a lot more RSS support already in Google Base. I don't see any evidence of it (not to say it isn't there). He says "RSS has now graduated from a rather obscure content syndication standard to the exautled status of the web's default standard for data integration," which is a little over the top, but interesting perspective. Silicon Beat profiled Burnham earlier this year. More links and comment here.
NY Times: "Sony's new portable audio recorder aims to be both tiny and mighty, with its built-in condenser microphones and four-gigabyte media storage."
Yesterday we did a test of the second installation of the OPML Community Server, and the test went well. There was a report of one problem, but this was a problem with the workstaton software, not the server. So I'm now ready to go forward with the second part of the experiment, testing the deployment of the server itself.
Amyloo: "About the community server, what's happening is Dave is getting ready to push the little fellow out of the nest."
Now a bit of advice. Let's go slow. There will be problems, don't set too aggressive a timetable if you're ready to run a server. Set a goal of December 1 to deploy. Or if you want to be even more certain of success, make it January 1. I've learned these lessons the hard way. In the rush of excitement people often make committments that are hard to keep. Make plenty of caveats, and pray to Murphy.
7:50AM Pacific: Checking in from Gate 25, Terminal 1 at SFO. Excellent TMobile wifi here. Checking out weather reports, there's a storm moving into the east coast. Not going to be an easy trip.
Listening to NPR on the drive to the airport, I heard an excerpt of a speech President Bush made in Tokyo about China. He says the Chinese people want freedom, and they want to publish and read the Bible and practice religion without the government getting involved. I imagine how that would translate if the tables where turned and it was Hu Jintao talking about the aspirations of The American People. Maybe he would say we want a chance to work in a growing economy and to study communism and read the works of Chairman Mao. This led me to the conclusion that the religious right are the American equivalents of communists. They make us sound silly and stupid. Petty. Ridiculous.
I also had a thought that we should have a Constitutional amendment that made it impossible for the President to go to war, even with the approval of Congress, unless there's absolutely no other choice. This means the Supreme Court could declare a war unconstitutional. It's the only answer to the the whining excuse for a President we have now.
I got this idea listening to him whine about the Japanese and how they have the right to not stay in Iraq. Why would they stay in Iraq? I wonder what his pitch sounds like. Feature and benefit?
I'm using the old version of Firefox on my laptop, and it confirms my impression that they took a feature out of the browser in the latest release that I want back.
If you single click on the URL in the address field, the whole thing is selected. That's the old, correct behavior. The new behavior is to give you a caret and make you manually select all the text. But it's so easy to select part of the URL if that's what you want (when exactly do you want that, btw). As a blogger selecting URLs in that bar is on the path to my linking to something, and I fight against anything that makes that path longer. The Firefox guys just did that. Why?
I'm off to the airport in an hour or so, headed to Washington, DC for a dinner celebrating the deal with VeriSign. I'm bringing my iBook G4 with me. First trip with a Mac. They have wifi in SFO, and maybe in Phoenix where I make a connection. I have plenty of time tomorrow to help people get their servers up. Let's have fun everybody!
TechCrunch is on it. "It's like a 1985 dBASE file with less functionality. It's ugly. It's centralized content with less functionality than ebay or craigslist."
My spin's a little different. It's a new bit of functionality, a cell in the matrix filled-in. It's one possible solution to a problem the industry is working on. It's competition for companies that probably thought they were immune to competition.
Even if it's less than dBASE, that's still something. Haven't people been talking about the Office suite as a web app, isn't this the beginning of one thread of that?
It's microcontent without the schemas.
For Semantic Web people --> validation!
Except if you thought the Semantic Web required RDF.
Where's the API?
And finally, watch this area, Google probably isn't the only one working here.
And of course it's #1 on Meme-O-Randum.
I thought I owned so many cars, turns out there's only 11.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
My new OPML Community Server installation. "It could be the beginning of something pretty cool."
Right after posting about the new community server, the power went out. I had to go to Starbuck's to get online, and of course there's a problem with the release, not impossible to work around, but I can't get the fix out because it's on the desktop computer, and it doesn't come to Starbuck's with me, so there's still a reason to have a nice laptop. Anyway, there's always someone interesting at Starbuck's, today it's David Bunnell, founder of many PC industry magazines including PC Mag and MacWorld. Great to see him, he lives in Berkeley too, we're going to have lunch.
Pic: David Bunnell at Starbuck's in Berkeley.
David is CEO & Editor of LongLifeClub.
I also recorded a new Morning Coffee Notes just before the power went out. You can hear the kickass windstorm we were having. Here's the liner notes. "A podcast to commemorate the second OPML Community Server which came online. And don't forget that people have to use the wacky DRM scheme you come up with. Real people, just like you or your mom, or the guy down the street."
I just updated to Firefox 1.5RC2. First, they ignored my font preferences, just when most sites had started being readable thanks to the preference that Martin turned me on to yesterday. Instead of sans serif font, everything is displayed in a small serif font. Looking in the Preferences, everything has been moved around. Reading the help docs is impossible while using the program. So you have to try to memorize the instructions and then close the help window.
Cori Schlegel notes that only four of the companies presenting at Under The Radar have RSS feeds.
Brian Jepson (via RSS): "Can you figure out what any of these companies do?"
Stephen Baker of BusinessWeek asks if he should post the first draft of an article that's being rewritten. I say yes, of course.
Lisa Williams wrote an essay about the experience of creating a local newsblog on Pressthink.
TechCrunch reviews Yahoo Shoposhpere.
Just heard excerpts from Bush's Alaska speech. Okay man, even if we grant you that the Democrats are spineless bastards who didn't have the guts to challenge you over the war in Iraq, you still lied and lots of people died and are still dying, and Iraq is a much worse mess today that it was then. There's no way out of that one.
BTW, see the sign on your desk. You're the President of the United States. Stop whining so much and get the job done. I thought you were supposed to be some kind of leader.
An essay on NPR yesterday, I'll look it up later, makes the distinction between power and leadership. We have lots of powerful people, but we need leaders.
At lunch yesterday with Ethan Diamond, a developer at Yahoo, who has personal qualities that make him a leader, I said that Yahoo has the opportunity to be a leader. I believe that, more than Microsoft, more than Google, both of which are powerful, both of whom, tragically -- are not leaders.
Sometimes I think leadership and power are almost inverses, or at least different dimensions. Leadership is a voluntary thing, power is forceful. Churchill wasn't loved, but he guided Britain through the war. As soon as the war was over, he was gone.
I find I don't love Giuliani, but I do love NYC, and I appreciate what he did for the city. I guess I like that he put on a Yankees hat, knowing that it would piss off half the city, saying this isn't politics as usual, I'm not going for the middle, not in times of challenge. Wearing a partisan hat, but yet loving the whole city marks leadership.
I find my thoughts going back to New Orleans over and over. Cokie Roberts went home, and found a city with no blacks. She did see a few children, and that gave her some hope, but mostly its a city without children too. They say the swamps of Louisiana are dying. They will have a Mardi Gras this year, and a Jazzfest. But the schools haven't opened, and won't for a long time. Who will cook the food, play the jazz, dance in the funeral. Who will love New Orleans? Who will lead us?
Monday, November 14, 2005
A new Morning Coffee Notes for your listening pleasure.
For background, read this post about when a podcast is a podcast. Very good question. I have an answer, on the cast.
Marie Cares, i a email says ew Jersey goveror-elect Corzie looks a lot like me. She's the secod perso to say that, ad I really like Corzie ad fid that quite flatterig. For 10 poits guess which keys o my keoard are't workig.
The next Flickr set are pictures from the first day of my cross-country drive in March 2003.
231 people have signed on my Frappr map.
Shelley Powers would like some money to go somewhere nice to take pictures. Where do I send the money?
Here's a fun way to show progress to the OPML community.
Netcraft: "Yahoo confirmed that it is developing a service to publish and host podcasts. The show was also awash with rumors that a similar project is in development at Google, and it seems logical that Microsoft's new push into web-based services will eventually include a podcasting component."
Amyloo suggests an OPML game. I'll play but it'll take a bit of time to get it together. I've owned a lot of cars.
Washington Post: "America Online and Warner Bros Entertainment are planning to put thousands of episodes of once-popular television shows like 'Welcome Back Kotter' and 'Chico and the Man' on the AOL.com Web site, where high-speed Internet users can view them for free."
Meet the Press was infuriating, and great, as usual, this week. But this time not quite so infuriating. I had not heard Bush's Veteran's Day speech until yesterday. He should try picking a fight with the members of his own party who are deserting. Trying to make an issue of Kerry and Edwards, again, is as tired as Kerry and Edwards. The 2004 presidential campaign was a low in US political history, but a high in the history of President Bush, like the employee who leaves one company for a competitor and raises the average IQ of both. Sad, sad, sad. Nowhere but up from here. BTW, no ads on the podcast, I wouldn't mind if there were, but it's nice to go from one segment to the next without pause. Maybe they'll keep it that way?
Patrick Scoble: "If I ever get a Mac I'm switching to Firefox."
Greg Yardley presents the case for commercialization of audio with nothing extra added.
In response, there was no other format other than MP3 that could have worked. We could have labored long and hard to find a format that wouldn't have worked, or just gone with what was obvious. The charm of podcasting is that not very many people had to be convinced in order for it to bootstrap, and it required the kind of investment that two modestly cashed out entrepreneurs could afford without thinking too much about it.
Even so, it took four years to happen.
For an idea of how such things work, I refer you to the observations of Rex Hammock, social commentator. And thanks to Yardley for leaving out the character assassination. That's what made this discussion such a fiasco.
Let's discuss the technology, the application and the users, and leave it at that.
And then there's Keith and the Girl which is a mashup of Madge Weinstein, Dawn & Drew, and Howard Stern. Hadn't heard this show before.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Reuters: "Dell is trying to spice up its image by shaking Apple Computer's hold on hipness, but it may be tough to match its smaller rival's flair."
Most-wanted feature for Firefox. Per-site font size settings. In other words, offer to remember how I have set the font for each site. Some sites are just plain unreadable unless you set the font size huge. But doing so makes every other site you view in that window too big to read. Failing that how about a setting that tells the browser to ignore what the site says about font size and always display text in the font and size I tell it to. Basically the web is and has been broken forever. Maybe one of these decades we'll get around to fixing it.
When people come to me to write code for them that runs in the OPML Editor, they may think I'm the only person who knows how to program in this environment. Not true. There's a whole mail list of them. Ask nicely and they might help.
Alan Lööf is a 93-year-old blogger from Sweden.
News.com: "Microsoft will update its security tools to detect and remove part of the copy protection tools installed on PCs when some music CDs are played."
AP: Web savvy seniors embrace blogs.
Om Malik: "One of the reasons podcasts have gained in popularity is because they use more maleable and open standards aka MP3 and are easy to create, and easily portable, regardless of the device."
iPodder Lemon changes its name to Juice Receiver. "Apple went after us..."
I usually don't quote flamers here, but these comments by Mitch Ratcliffe, in a rather longish response to Jeff Jarvis, Staci Kramer, Om Malik, Doc Searls and myself, says everything wrong about who I am and what I do. Here's the quote.
"As primarily a writer who has stumbled into doing technology design and development, but who would very much like to be a writer, again, Dave's perspective is the height of hypocrisy, a kind of anti-creative view that has no place in a society that claims to desire to reward people who work hard to create value. Writers, musicians, filmmakers and all their creative peers work hard to make great 'content,' but guys like Dave seem to think that if, unlike software, which he has tried to charge for over many years, someone wants to be paid, then he's going to simply go around their rights as the creator."
Of course, I began my career as a software developer, in the late 1970s, developed outlining and presentation software, successfully, long before I was a writer. I developed the first blogging systems, RSS authoring and aggregation tools, a distributed web services platform, and quite a bit more. I have sold millions of dollars in commercial software, and if I advocated piracy, I would indeed be a hypocrite, that's why I don't and never have. I don't think my credentials as a software developer are in question.
Further, I'm quoted inaccurately, because I said it was unfair, but it's still true, that they have to compete with the free channels of distribution for audiobooks. And dammit, I spent hundreds of dollars with Audible, and how does that qualify as stealing? I think it makes me a customer, and deserving of a certain basic level of respect from the vendor and its consultant.
There are a bunch of people who have, in the past, tried to make a business out of trashing me, but that seems to have stopped, thanks to the success of the things they were trashing me for, and the failure of the things they were promoting as alternatives. Mitch apparently hasn't heard the news. Singling me out for abuse should be, and I believe is, bad strategy, and bad representation for his client, Audible. They both owe an apology for this abuse. I don't expect one from Ratcliffe (although I would accept it) but I do expect one from Audible.
Reading Ratcliffe's rendition of my vision for podcasting makes me want to set the record straight. Luckily I have several podcasts which do that quite well.
Start with the Pisa podcast, a half-hour speech I gave to a conference of technologists in Pisa, Italy in May of this year. It starts slowly but it does get there, linking together podcasting, blogging, unconferences and people's media.
You might also try one or more of the thunderstorm "godcasts," done during random thunderstorms on the patio of my rented house in St Augustine, FL. They are examples of what I'm talking about. Creative broadcasting, with the kind of investment a person can afford.
Check out the breakfast podcast I did with Betsy Devine in a Cambridge restaurant.
I know some people think it isn't important, but I want to carve out and reserve a space for people to be creative for each other. We have a cultural disease, the belief that only plastic imitation people have a place in the media. I believe in something different. I love the creativity of real people, and the creativity of the people I love. I want the flaws, that's what makes it precious. I don't care about your business model, that doesn't mean you can't have one. But I want to be sure you don't roll us over just as we're getting something interesting going.
I used to have these fantasies with my old friend Adam Curry, that we could serve as examples for kids, that they don't have to be perfect to be wonderful. I thought Adam, with his perfect looks and stage presence, would be a good poster child for this, and his early pre-podfather podcasts were good. Maybe we can get back to that after the business models run their course, which I believe they will. That doesn't mean you can't give it a try, but forgive me if I promote something different, podcasting for love, not money.
As has recently been re-discovered, we have a word for this, a beautiful one, that we will come to appreciate again, in new ways -- amateur. Believe it. I read in the NY Times a few weeks ago that 20 percent of pre-teens in the US have weblogs. Wow. That's a big deal to me. Yeah, they talk about the stuff that kids care about, and that's cool with me. I even have a friend, an 11-year-old, whose blog I subscribe to. I'm delighted every time he updates. I want more.
When I see people like Ratcliffe work so hard to discredit me, I believe they will also work just as hard to invalidate the hopes and dreams of the people who are making this new media real. They have lots of dollars, and they have people sold to some extent that you have to be plastic to make a difference. I'm here to say that's not true, you can make a difference, an important one, just being yourself. I make that point by doing it myself.
I had great teachers. I'm going to quote one now.
Scoop Nisker: "If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own."
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Harvard Law School has an "official" blog for admissions. "This blog is intended to make the admissions process at Harvard Law School more transparent."
Okay here's something random that's nice about Mac OS X. It has Apache pre-installed, and it's easy to figure out how to use it. Just go to System Preferences, Sharing panel, and turn on the personal web server. It leaves behind a cookie crumb trail for you to follow, and the URLs they give you work. This is something they do well at Apple. Seems they must have a Dept of Cookie Crumbs, maybe even a VP-Cookie Crumbs.
Cringely: "The documents from Bill Gates and new Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie were clearly supposed to be leaked."
Dan Rosensweig: "We read stuff written by people we don't know that's edited by people we don't know."
Two years ago today Bryan Bell said goodbye to the cactus design for Scripting News.
Yesterday's coverage of the Audible announcement exposed a conversation that was coming, and it boils down to the question in the title of this piece. The answer -- if you're not using MP3, you're probably trying to make podcasting into a replay of previous media.
The thing that makes podcasting special is that it is accessible to everyone, not just companies with huge production budgets. Even the NY Times, stodgy old media conglomerate that it is, noticed this (early too, likely because it wasn't a threat to their business, like blogging was).
By design, podcasting took a poison pill at the very beginning of its life that made it impossible for the corporate types to subvert it without fundamentally changing what it is. That's why I was sure that Audible wasn't doing podcasting.
Basically MP3 can't be rigged up to serve the purpose of advertisers, and that's why I love MP3. And only MP3 provides the portability and compatibility that users depend on. Any other method will force them to jump through hoops that they will resist. If so, then podcasting isn't for the advertisers. They keep insisting that it is, and that we old timers are just resisting the inevitable, but honestly they're wrong -- they should learn a little technology before they tell us how it is. I've taken the time to discuss it with them, and look forward to the post mortem when we look at why what they tried to do didn't work. It's not likely, but maybe then they will have found some new respect for technology.
Google has shown that the text web can be monetized, but maybe only for a little while. That's what I think is going on. They've built a web that historically the Internet undoes. An advertising broker isn't that different from a stock broker, travel agent, a real estate agent, reporters, all the intermediaries and distributors that the Internet has already disintermediated.
Has Google invented a way of negating gravity or are they providing a bridge from a dying way of doing business (intrusive "messages") to a new one, where commercial information flows to people who want it, who welcome it. And podcasting, because it was built on a technology that resists this kind of monetization, may never be harnessed this way, even temporarily.
Yesterday I said that podcasting wrecked their business, and perhaps that was a bit over the top. But Mitch Ratcliffe says they're doing great (amazingly citing the AP article linked above as evidence), and I think, in balance that's over the top too.
I think it's pretty obvious that they've got some serious competition from podcasting. They used to be the only way to get the kind of content you can now get through podcasting. NPR used to use them to distribute their stuff, now they go direct. And even if it's not fair, the audio books they sell are also available as free downloads elsewhere.
I spent the better part of last year trying to envision a business built on podcasting, and didn't come up with anything that I believed in. That means inevitably that I don't believe in Audible's business either.
And yes, I had a public argument with Audible's president earlier this year. I was trying to say that I liked their products, even though, because of the DRM (and a disk crash) I had stopped using them. He got angry about that, but as a customer, and I did pay hundreds of dollars to his company, I don't have to embrace his philosophy of authors and publishers. This is the kind of conversation I have with execs at all kinds of companies, and the ones that have long-term staying power listen, they don't argue.
There's been some low-grade flaming over the "disruption" memos, leaked here and elsewhere earlier this week. Was Dave being used, unwittingly, as a PR tool? Did Microsoft know that they would leak? Some people didn't even bother asking questions, they claim to know the answers, and they often aren't very flattering to yours truly. So much for the scientific method.
FWIW, here's my speculation. If Microsoft ever was so naive as to believe that its founder and CTO could write memos that are distributed widely through the company and not leak outside the company, they surely aren't that naive now. Therefore, they probably review the documents carefully before they are distributed to be sure that they don't contain any truly sensitive info. Remember, they live in a world ruled by Sarbanes-Oxley, shareholder lawsuits, forward-looking statements, etc etc. Did lawyers review Gates' email and Ozzie's memo? Likely. Did the PR people? Of course. It's quite possible that they were treated like State of the Union speeches, with drafts circulating among top management and various people asking that messages be put into the memo for this constituency or that. These are highly polished and thought-through documents.
Further, did you ever stop and think why documents are leaked? Did you think they fell off a Fed Ex truck in front of my house? Come on. Someone or some group of people, inside Microsoft, wanted it to be made public. Why? Well, this is pure speculation, but here goes. It was always intended to be public. The surprise, this time, is that it took so long to leak. It usually doesn't.
Friday, November 11, 2005
A roadmap for my work on OPML reading lists for RSS.
TechCrunch: "In the time it took me to write this profile, Tagworld added another 1,500 users."
Michael Air explains how hard (and expensive) it is to get an XML icon on his Typepad blog. He suggests it might be political, I really hope not. It's not a good idea for companies to have politics when it comes to things like this.
Audible announces they've got a way to tell how many times a podcast has been listened to. I can't imagine how it works unless: 1. They modify the software that runs on everyone's playing devices and also magically give them all the ability to phone back to their servers, or 2. They've decided to change the term podcasting to mean "the shitty DRM-based service that Audible provided before podcasting wrecked their business." Now it's possible I missed a third alternative, if so, I'd love to hear what it is; but for now I'm bettin on #2.
Mitch Ratcliffe explains. Apparently it was both #1 and #2. Now that's impressive, if only for the audacity. The users aren't that stupid, imho, and Audible's approach has so many problems for users. (Predictably his response is all invective and personal attacks. Go edit your piece Mitch, and wash your mouth out. I don't have a conflict of interest, I just have an interest. Sheez.)
Rex Hammock: "Forbes apparently can't quite connect the dots between 'social media' and weblogs."
Internet News: Amazon Gets Patents on Consumer Reviews.
The dinner next Friday in DC is cancelled, the signup wasn't that great, and there's an event in the Bay Area I want to get back for.
Kosso has a message for OPML node managers.
New Flickr set: "On Sept 8, 2003, Chris Lydon and I went to small campaign event with John Edwards in Derry, NH."
Scott Gatz: "If Yahoo's gonna win, we need to take our 10 years of experience and launch our own Yahoo 2.0 well before MSFT and GOOG know what's happening." Yes.
Richard MacManus talks about The Big 3, and there is a trend to think about three companies -- Google, Microsoft and Yahoo -- as the leaders in online. But I don't think that really works, because well, there are three more that are probably just as powerful as the others, but in different ways. Who are are they? Why don't we make this a game. For 15 points each, which three companies are also leading? (And when the question is asked that way I can't imagine many people won't be able to name them.)
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Amateur is a good word to describe the work of most bloggers. The root of the word is "love," an amateur is someone who does it for love. The Olympics used to be all-amateur, which implied high-integrity. We've been using the term in the blogosphere for at least five years. Further, the model that's being pushed as Web 2.0 is the core of the How To Make Money pieces I wrote in 2000 and 2001. There really are still some fresh ideas in those pieces, I wish more people would listen. It's not about nickel-and-dime ads. Really. I swear. Google is building on a shoddy foundation. Don't go down that path without taking a look at where the real money is being made.
Press release announces new NPR podcasts.
Jeremy Zawodny, who works at Yahoo, says that Google is Yahoo 2.0. Very clever, and there's a lot of truth to it, but watch out, that's not a very good place to be. That's how Microsoft came to dominate the PC software industry. By shipping (following the analogy) WordPerfect 2.0 (and WordStar, MacWrite and Multimate) and dBASE 2.0 (by acquiring FoxBase) and Lotus 2.0 (also known as Excel). It's better to produce your own 2.0s, as Microsoft's vanquished competitors would likely tell you.
This Jeopardy clue must have given Adam major "wood."
Frappr shows you where we're from. Already 112 Scripting Newsers have signed up. You can be the next one!
Sylvia heard Mitch Kapor speak in Berkeley yesterday.
New Flickr Set: Pictures I took as a blogger covering the July 2004 convention in Boston, MA.
This is punful at so many levels.
I had lunch yesterday with Paul Grabowicz and Scot Hacker from the UC Berkley School of Journalism. A lively conversation about lots of things. At one point I said that the Cluetrain Manifesto should be required reading for every J-school undergrad. Hacker said I should teach a course in the Cluetrain. which I said was flattering but they need to talk with one of the four guys, although I sometimes fancied myself as a fifth, in the way perhaps that some felt they were the Fifth Beatle. I flatter myself too much.
Then the Good Doctor himself tunes into a very mysterious and funny piece written by Steve Gillmor, about yours truly and why I seem to pay so little attention to attention (not true, I attend to almost nothing else). Now I don't think Doc knows that yesterday's podcast provides a whole host of clues for the curious researcher. Not one, not two, but enough to call it a host. Just a half hour of listening and all is revealed. Almost all. We do not name names.
Let me know when you've listened.
Songs to go with last night's podcast.
Turkey in the Straw, a midi.
Randy Newman: "You got to pick 'em up just to say hello."
The Who: "Imagine though the shock from isolation, when he suddenly can hear and speak and see."
This is the bit I was looking for (it was in another song): "Do you hear or fear or do I smash the mirror?"
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Exclusive: Full text of Gates email, Ozzie memo.
Podcast: A tour of my new Mac and other hardware and an ode to Steve Gillmor, a warm and wonderful human being.
Dan Bricklin: "I'm working on a new product called wikiCalc."
I was interviewed for the public radio show Marketplace.
Financial Times: The Microsoft memos revealed.
Wired: "This is going to be the Woodstock of podcasting."
Reading Ernie the Attorney's blog, I wonder if New Orleans isn't the best place in the world to live in 2005. Think of it this way, how many times in our lives will a city get a chance to completely restart? And New Orleans is a great city. Red beans and rice. Crawfish etouffe. Louis Armstrong. Professor Longhair. Dr John. St Charles Avenue. Carnival.
NY Times: "Microsoft must fundamentally alter its business or face being at a significant competitive disadvantage to a growing array of companies offering Internet services, according to memorandums written by two of the company's top executives."
Seattle P-I: "In an Oct 30 e-mail message to Microsoft's top executives, Gates made it clear that he considered the new Windows Live and Office Live online services, announced two days later, only the beginning of a major shift in the company's business."
Rex Hammock: "Is it just me, but don't these Gates and Ozzie e-mails sound like they were cribbed from Robert Scoble's weblog?"
Cringely: We've Seen Microsoft's New Live Strategy Before.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Join my Frappr group. It could be fun!
Chris Wine: "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese." Hmmm.
Raines Cohen is also a meme engine. And the official poster child of this blog. Seriously. I've known Raines since he was 11 years old. He moved an apartment with a bed and a dresser from Oakland to Berkeley, on a bike! He's an extremist, an idealist, and an extremely nice person. And he dresses like a nut!
Scripting News dinner in Washington area, Fri Nov 18?
Today was a breakthrough day on a project I'm working on around Reading Lists. I wrote one hairy piece of code that I suspect many others will write (and I bet Nick Bradbury has already written). Had to take a nap after doing it. Whew.
Sounds like an interesting debate at the NY Public Library on Nov 17 about Google's plans to scan copyrighted books into their search engine. Heavyweights from the book publishing industry and Silicon Valley face off in a battle to the death. Just kidding. Will it be webcast? Podcast? It'll be interesting to hear why (if they can explain it) it's opt-out instead of opt-in. And why they don't have to respect copyright. Glad they're having the debate in NYC and not Mountain View.
ResearchBuzz suggests that perhaps Google will remove some of the limits on the Google API.
Cory Doctorow: WiFi isn't short for Wireless Fidelity.
Heather Green suggests that Cory may want to re-read his own post.
On 12/20/03 a bunch of Berkman-Thursday folk went to New Hampshire to see the campaigns of Wesley Clark and Dick Gephardt. A real West Wing experience. As I was moving stuff onto the hard disk of my new honker Mac, I came across these pics (and a bunch more) and decided they'd make an interesting Flickr set. (It's remarkable how pictures transport you back so well. I miss the time I spent in Cambridge.)
Seattle P-I: "The P-I's circulation declined 9 percent over the past six months while The Seattle Times' fell 6 percent."
Monday, November 07, 2005
Here's the scoop on HyperCamp. We don't have a venue, date or topic yet, but we're working on it.
I was looking up movies on Google for a new test file for the OPML Validator, and noted that they now have showtimes and reviews. Nicely done. I heard Bill Gates quoted as saying that their search results will eventually catch up with Google's. But that's not the game. I'm sure he remembers Ken Olson, who (probably) said that eventually their desktop computers would be faster than Apple's. I'm sure they were. Didn't matter. Everyone was using Macs. (For a while at least.) Now I imagine Bill thinks he's going to do to Google what he did to Apple, but I don't think so. We're developing usage patterns that will be hard to break. When MS comes up with a service that I lust for that I can't get on Google, then we might have something. But tail-light-chasing won't cut it here. I got my habits, and Google keeps giving me more. There are things on Yahoo I can't find on Google. Until today one of them was an excellent aggregation of movie reviews and showtimes. But Google just made it easier for me to use theirs. I don't like that Google is sweeping up so well. I want Microsoft to bet the company like they did in 1996. But they seem to lack the will to do it.
I stumbled across an archive all this stuff from the 90s that I thought I had lost. Here's a collage I did when the motto of Scripting News was "It's even worse than it appears."
Another improvement to the OPML validator.
TechCrunch: "I've been tracking a number of sites that offer Flickr-like services for video."
Later today (Monday) I'm going to outline a new idea for conferences that's been hatching not just in my head, but among BarCampers, TagCampers and MindCampers.
It's not a BloggerCon, not an unconference, but it's not your normal panel-speaker-audience thing either.
It's over quickly, in twelve hours starting at 10AM and ending with a 10PM cocktail party, and maybe dancing.
It's organized, not free-form, there is a schedule, a grid, but instead of people going into the hallway to converse it's all in one big room with the conversation at the center, and lots (I mean lots) of Internet connections.
In a way it's like a big press room, but it's different too. I call it HyperCamp, it's coming to San Francisco, soon; I'll explain the concept here on Monday morning.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Here's that rarest of things, an anonymous leak. "NPR's podcast portal version 2.0 comes out tomorrow. Now that's progress for a public institution. Release early, release often is making it's way to new places."
Okay, here's another tease. I bought a really cool domain, and I have an application for it. And they say all the good domains are taken. Seems that none are. Haha.
ClipShack is a video sharing community.
A new feature this morning for the OPML Validator.
I want the OPML Editor to open my OPML files.
Seattle Mind Camp pics on Flickr.
Before I head off to breakfast (another OFGN deal) I want to share something amazing.
First, with the help of the OPML Geeks, I was able to get the classic environment running.
Second, I got MacBird running, so I should be able to tweak up the dialogs in the OPML Editor on the Mac. But much more interesting, I got MORE 3.1 running on this honker, and it's fast and nice and pretty! Wowowowo. What a trip down memory lane.
My exploration continues with MacBird.
I found a whole bunch of sample cards, that's cool, but when I try to run them it complains that it can't find Frontier 3.0 or greater. How weird, because the OPML Editor is running, over on Mac OS X, and it's much more advanced than Frontier 3.0, but MacBird doesn't know anything about it. It's like a time capsule. So then I went looking for a classic version of Frontier on the web, and found the download page for Frontier 4.2.3, but the link to the download is 404. Then I found this directory, which I remember creating way back when (1997), thinking that someday I might want to loop back to an earlier time. Good work, and thanks to whoever at UserLand for keeping the folder there.
Doc Searls: "Meanwhile, I'm taking a run at using the OPML editor, which I've been wanting to try. I may be calling for help on that."
I assume that's the Mac version. If so, it's still pretty raw. But I'm making little tweaks all the time. It's gettin betta, but it's still beta.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
A proposal for a new OPML nodetype, include.
Calling all Mac geeks. I want to run a classic app on my Mac. I now have the required install disk. I try running "Install Mac OS 9 System Support," it says: "You cannot continue. There is nothing to install." An error message only an existentialist could love. I give up. All I want to do is run MacBird. Arrrgh!
Here's a milestone. Having been in the business for decades, and having made VCs lots of money (and once the other way around), this is the first time in memory that a VC actually said thanks. Let's hope it's a trend. It's better to get paid for your hard work, but if you can't get any money out of them, I'll settle for a little appreciation.
Amy Gahran on OPML and outliners.
NY Times: "Internet search, like personal computing in its heyday, is a disruptive technology."
1995: "The Internet makes your hair greater."
Friday, November 04, 2005
The 3-hour audio of Microsoft's Tuesday press briefing, with comment from Dan Farber, Steve Gillmor and myself.
Press release: "By a margin of 53% to 42%, Americans want Congress to impeach President Bush if he lied about the war in Iraq."
Let's meet for lunch at Google on Tuesday.
This is a good idea and one I saw coming. My thought was to put video games in bars that optimized traffic lights in a city for maximum flow to route around tie-ups. Plugging human intelligence into software systems is a very neat possibility. Now let's hope Amazon didn't try and patent it.
TechCrunch: "Last week Odeo did get its studio product out. It's visually appealing. But it is so feature poor that it's effectively a non product."
Microsoft: "We will only support feeds that are well-formed XML."
This keyboard is the worst thing ever.
Something really stupid. When people disagree with you, they can't just disagree, they have to say you're a bad person, or you're lying or you're flaming or whatever. Microsoft has a bunch of people these days who relate this way. It used to be possible to discuss software with Microsoft people, in public even, without the ad hominems. It's a sure way to change the subject. To me it's a sign of intellectual weakness. Okay you don't like me, I'll survive. Now let's get back to how to be more competitive, or make the software work better, or support developers who want to use your platform. The good news is there are still some people left over from the old days, I ran into one of them on Tuesday. I couldn't believe he was still there. Reminds me that Microsoft used to want to win. Maybe there's an element that still does?
Postscript: I should have known that this would confuse the good people I work with at MS and perhaps elsewhere. Basically if I haven't said something to you, I'm not talking about you. I don't like to point to flames because that encourages people to flame. I don't want to give them the flow. Now here is a big deal. I got a new keyboard, and it works! Happy at last.
Bob Perez writes that I won't remember him, but how could I forget. He was one of the true believers in Apple Evangelism in the 80s, and most effective. I didn't know he went to Harvard Law School. I wonder if he knows that I was at Berkman. Loops keep closing. Mike Arrington forwarded an email from a guy who was bothering him. Small world. The guy used to work for me, at Living Videotext, at the same time as Bob Perez was at Apple. I used to tell Scoble that he reminded me of him (in the best way). Arrington cc'd me too. Both were the outstanding smart true believer marketing guys at their respective companies. I hope they meet someday. Sparks would fly. (Not sure if he wants me to mention his name, so I'll err on the side of caution.)
Bonus: Bob is developer #4 in this picture of Apple developers circa 1989.
Scoble: " I like this disruption game a lot!"
Josh Ledgard thinks Mini-MSFT could be Steve Ballmer. Interesting, but not true. I am Steve Ballmer. Wait, no, I'm Mini. No, I'm confused.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Dave Luebbert on the reasons to clone.
Todd Bishop shares two views of Microsoft Live.
First pictures of my new Mac. I added some pictures of the screen saver. It's really something else to see an ordinary picture displayed on this 23 inch cinematic display. Not sure if "cinema" is a technical term or just a feeling. But it makes me want to watch a movie on it, so I guess that's cinema, eh?
Frederico Oliveira: "We don't really need to wait for Microsoft or Yahoo."
Steve Gillmor: Office Dead.
This is the first post entered on my new Macintosh. It doesn't drop characters. The keyboard is a bit awkward, wish it were the same layout and size as the keyboard on the iBook. I imagine it might be difficult to use both. The screen is very nice. Haven't had a chance to experience the raw performance of the machine yet. Pictures to come shortly.
Randy Charles Morin says that MSN already supports an interface for search through RSS. Yes, I knew that, of course. I lobbied hard for it, and they did what I asked them to do. But Postel's Law says we should be liberal in what we accept, and this is one of those times. Do we know for a fact that the RSS interface does everything that the Google API does? Further it should be possible to simply change the domain in a Google API app to something like api.microsoft.com, and have it "just work." This is not without prior art for Microsoft. It's how Excel competed with Lotus 1-2-3. And how Fox competed with dBASE, and if you want to go really far back, how MS-DOS competed with CP/M. Plug-compatibility is the way to make developers relax, and develop. Of course it's good that MSN supports RSS. But that's not enough. Google is the leader in search, just like Lotus was the leader in spreadsheets. Microsoft is the leader in many other things. If it really wants to challenge Google, first they have to acknowledge Google's leadership. That's the way this stuff works.
Greg Yardley: "If you want to kneecap the market leader, you have to reduce switching costs to zero." Exactly!
Jeff Jarvis: "Saving journalism isn't about saving jobs."
Dion Hinchcliffe: 10 Issues Facing Web 2.0.
NY Times: "57 percent of all teenagers between 12 and 17 who are active online - about 12 million - create digital content, from building Web pages to sharing original artwork, photos and stories to remixing content found elsewhere on the Web. Some 20 percent publish their own Web logs."
RossCode says: Clone the Google API, Microsoft!
Last year on this day: "Next time, be careful about nominating a guy who gives a great concession speech."
In the discussion after Hurricane Katrina I heard a scientist talk about global warming and how the fate of New Orleans awaited coastal cities all over the world. He said something profoundly simple. It doesn't matter if your city is three feet below sea level, or if the sea rises three feet, the effect is the same.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Let's make the Google API an open standard. Back in 2002, Google took a bold first step to enable open architecture search engines, by creating an API that allowed developers to build applications on top of their search engine. However, there were severe limits on the capacity of these applications. So we got a good demo of what might be, now three years later, it's time for the real thing.
NY Times: "CNN ousted its longtime prime-time anchor, Aaron Brown, today in favor of Anderson Cooper, who has received extensive media attention in the wake of his widely publicized coverage of Hurricane Katrina." Ouch. Saw this one coming. Newsnight was the only regular news show I would watch. Anderson Cooper is a putz.
Brian Benzinger reviews FilmLoop.
David Mercer on the sorry state of search APIs.
Geek News Central says Yeah! to the proposal that the Google API be brought solidly into the 21st century. I'm surprised more people haven't pointed to the proposal yet. In some ways it's a Turing Test to see if there's any IQ points behind all the Web 2.0 hype. That is, if you think the web is a platform, and search is an important part of the web, why are we willing to settle for a mere demo of What Could Be in search APIs. Look at it another way. Google gives me 2GB for my mailbox. (BTW, thanks, no sarcasm.) Why not give me a measly million search queries over the Google API, so I can do more than entertain my friends and family? How about letting me build a (gasp) real application on top of search? How about it!
Joel Spolsky: "The Marimba Phenomenon is what happens when you spend more on PR and marketing than on development. Result: everybody checks out your code, and it's not good yet. These people will be permanently convinced that your code is simple and inadequate, even if you improve it drastically later."
An example of how Microsoft's positioning is confusing the media. "Microsoft has announced plans to offer an online version of its Windows operating software, going head-to-head with archrival Google in the field of cyber applications." I didn't hear anything about an online version of the Windows operating system, although it's certainly understandable that the press would say that's what it is because they called it Windows Live.
From Frank Shaw, Microsoft spokesperson: "The wireless went down because of the connectivity issue that caused the problem for the demo, and was not brought back up because of concerns it would be repeated. Microsoft provided the wi-fi in the room because it was the right thing to do, regardless of what people were going to say during the presentations."
As usual Mary Jo Foley gets the story. What is Office Live? It's not what you think it is. And what is Windows Live? Ditto. If you want an accurate positioning statement, the Live stuff is an early version of my.yahoo.com, with a very nice small business hosting site (that's all that Office Live appears to be) and a promise of open APIs that Windows supports. Some of the Windows Live features were pretty well buried in the demos, they should have been up front at the beginning, why they buried them is a mystery. And they really need a demo god at Microsoft. These guys can make exciting software seem really boring. They need a sense of razzle-dazzle. "How can they see with sequins in their eyes?"
I have a three hour MP3 of the entire show, including outages, and spin. Is anyone interested in hearing it? I wonder how long it would take to upload. It's 124MB. (I'm uploading it now. Postscript: It crashed the server. Too big.)
I just checked the Apple site for the status of my order, and it shipped yesterday. According to Fedex the packages have arrived in Sacramento. Now I have to get ready to move my data and apps over to the desktop and learn how to keep the laptop in synch.
Michael Markman sent an email after I broadcast my Law & Order theory of Lewis Libby's predicament, suggesting that Libby would be pardoned, and that would solve the crisis for Cheney and Rove. Now Mickey Kaus publishes a revelation that gives credence to Markman's theory. Apparently Libby was the lawyer for Marc Rich, who was pardoned by President Clinton in the last days of his administration. I guess this says that he knows how pardons work?
Mini-Microsoft on yesterday's announcements.
If you didn't get a chance to hear yesterday's podcast, it recommends that Microsoft clone the Google API for search, without the keys, and without the limits. When a developer's application generates a lot of traffic, buy him a plane ticket and dinner, and ask how you both can make some money off their excellent booming application of search. This is something Google can't do, because search is their cash cow. That's why Microsoft should do it. And so should Yahoo. Also, there's no doubt Google will be competing with Apple soon, so they should be also thinking about ways to devalue Google's advantage.
A page listing the most-read DaveNets.
A change in the way the Scripting News archive works. The urls on the permalink used to point to dynamic pages on archive.scripting.com -- now they point to static pages on www.scripting.com. I've created redirects that map the old addresses to the new ones. The change went online around 10PM Pacific last night. Watch for breakage.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Today's Morning Coffee Notes podcast explains what Microsoft and/or Yahoo could do to change the game on Google.
7:30PM: I'm back home, time to get a bite to eat, then I'm going to write up today's Microsoft event, or maybe do a podcast. But first I wanted to say, they're getting away with murder on Memeorandum. Part of the reason may be that the net went down halfway through the presentation, just as they were getting to the demo, which was a total wipeout, biggest failure I've seen in almost 30 years in the biz. I think there's a pretty good chance they cut off our net access so we couldn't write about it real-time, if so, it was a brilliant move, but an act of desperation. Or maybe they got lucky. Whatever, their announcements today leave some room for real game-changing on Google, which needs to happen, asap, before the opportunity goes away. We need Google to get some serious competition, and Microsoft is one of the places that can come from. (Apple and Yahoo are the others.) But they're going to have to do much more than they did today.
Rich Karlgaard: Broadway Joe Was A Blogger.
Microsoft is totally dominating Memeorandum.
Niall Kennedy took excellent photos.
An hour into it they finally start the demo. The screen is blank, the guy is talking. It's live.com. The demo didn't work. A total demo disaster.
Doesn't work with Firefox. Screen shot.
Ray Ozzie's talk began pretty exciting, but the gist of what he was talking about is basically what people call Web 2.0. Like Tim O'Reilly's initial description, they leave out RSS too, even though most of their mission is the mission of RSS. I wonder how many people in the room have spotted that.
Todd Bishop from the Seattle P-I is also live-blogging.
Dan Farber is also live-blogging this event. He's typing furiously, I think he's getting almost every word!
Bill Gates giving opening remarks at the SF event. The free wifi here is very good, provided by Microsoft. No power at the tables though, I might not be able to blog the whole event. I am doing an MP3 of the event on my Archos.
He says today's event is like the events launching their Internet efforts in 1995, and the 2000 press event announcing dot-net and web services. He's used the term "live software" several times. It occurs to me that I'm blogging this press conference with live software. And you're accessing it while the conference is ongoing. That's pretty live too.
25 minutes into it, all we've heard so far is marketing hype. They haven't shown or said anything new yet. They need to read my How To Demo document. The people in this room are tough customers.
Alex Barnett did a screencast explaining OPML. If he had hit the Refresh link at the bottom of the page in his last demo, it would have updated visibly. And the klooge at the end of his URL in my directory is so that my software would know that it's an inclusion. To get rid of this klooge, we're going to invent a new OPML nodetype. I'll be writing that up in a day or two. Anyway, it's great to see people getting the power of OPML. Now we just have (lots of) dust to clean up and a bunch of software to write, but that's the fun part!
The Bay Bridge from San Francisco in the morning.
fyuze is a "personal information aggregator that automatically collects information from the internet so you don't have to."
Scoble: "Isn't this yet another example of why Scoble should be fired for being negative on his own company?"
Late in Y2K, Mary Jo Foley wrote a speculative piece about a Microsoft project called NetDocs, which was later cancelled because it came too close to cannibalizing one of Microsoft's two major cash cows -- Office. Interesting that her piece sounds very much like the speculation about today's press and analyst event in San Francisco.
Another amazing observation about today's press event. A majority of the Old Farts Genius Network cabal will be present. We could really stink up the place, but I, for one, plan to be on my best behavior. Hope they have good wifi. I'm bringing my iBook G4. Maybe they'll give me a new sticker? I'd love to put a Microsoft sticker on my Mac. Somehow that's symbolic of how my mind works.
WSJ: "Google Inc. will resume scanning copyrighted library books into its search engine after a self-imposed hiatus, despite the efforts of some publishers and authors to block it from doing so without the copyright holders' permission."
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.