Saturday, December 31, 2005
Adfreak: The 10 most popular AdFreak stories of 2005.
Movie: Driving Geary Boulevard with Paul McCartney.
Rough start location of today's driving movie.
Two years ago today: "We seem to think there's more to a person, that you can sort of lift up the floorboard, and underneath the stories, find the soul, the essence of the person. But I'm beginning to wonder."
On this day in 1999: "That's it for this millennium!"
Jeff Jarvis: "The government cookie story is getting stupider by the day."
Mike at Injoke.com posted a 200MB torrent of the entire Suck.com archive. I downloaded it, it's for real. So at least the content is safe.
Friday, December 30, 2005
New Flickr set from tonight's Palo Alto geek dinner.
A relatively great picture of me taken at last year's Democratic Convention.
Wired: "The amount of click fraud is difficult to quantify; estimates of the proportion of fake clicks run from as low as 1 in 10 to as high as 1 in 2."
Many years ago, when I first moved to Silicon Valley, I lived in an apartment complex across the street from a totally seedy loud bar that I'd frequent called St James Infirmary. Tonight I'm staying in a hotel in that neighborhood, and I wondered as I drove down if the bar was still there. It's not. But the hotel I'm staying at is exactly where the bar used to be. Kind of like Suck becoming a porn site, I guess.
Amyloo is CSS-izing her River of News.
Frank Paynter reports on latkes from Madison, WI.
Ben Barren thinks it's a good time for a new aggregator. Seems so. The response, even though it hasn't really shipped yet, has been fantastic. I'm kind of surprised, I thought I had lost the pulpit. Apparently not.
Kosso has a fantastic graphic illustrating River of News.
Good morning. I did release an early version of the News River aggregator yesterday. Lots of people have put it through its paces. I'm not going to link to it here until it's more solid. The biggest difficulty has been importing OPML subscription lists because there's been some "drift" from the initial format. I'm going to make some fixes this morning according to Postel's Law and be liberal in what I accept. And thanks to all the hale and hearty souls who are helping out here. Much appreciated!
Why Steven Frein continues to read Scripting News.
Five years ago today I got sticker shock from a $950 utility bill. I didn't know it then but it was because some friends of our current President, in Houston, were fucking around with the energy market. They're starting to go to jail now. I doubt if I'll ever see the money they took from me though.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
At the end of 2005, why am I working on an aggregator?
Two interesting and related developments today in OPML-land. First, Kosso has an OPML browser, but don't be fooled, it's actually a nice Flash-based feed reader, and a good complement to the River of News aggregator I'm working on. Then quite coincidentally, Dan MacTough just released an OPML renderer for WordPress. It allows you to create expand-collapse blogrolls. Also very nice! We're really starting to cook some tasty meals in this department.
Amazon is hosting author blogs. This is a very good idea. A few years ago I urged Martin Nisenholtz at the NY Times to offer Times-hosted blogs to people who are quoted in Times articles. It's still a good idea and still not too late. Eventually everyone who's quotable will have a blog, and then they'll be kicking themselves that they didn't get in there early. Amazon is doing the right thing. Barnes and Noble should have done it first. Postscript: Maybe Amazon isn't actually hosting blogs.
Candid account of where New Orleans is at from an anonymous correspondent.
Mike is right, I like everything about Magnatune.
New York writer Betsy Andrews "volunteers in some of New Orleans' best restaurant kitchens as they struggle to bounce back after Hurricane Katrina."
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
I'll be in Cambridge, January 2-7; staying near MIT, visiting friends, doing business. Maybe we should do a geek dinner or a classroom-style discussion?
I started a new section of the OPML Docs directory linking to Tools that add functionality to the OPML Editor. The first link in this section is wordPress.root, a tool that allows you to create and edit posts on WordPress weblogs using the OPML Editor.
A few years ago I wrote a tutorial on dancing that really works. If you don't dance but would like to, give it a try. Now I'd like to add something. To get started, try a song that has a big funky beat, because, in the unlikely event that you lose the beat, you can very easily get it back. A good example -- Superstition by Stevie Wonder. Or Them Changes by Buddy Miles. These songs are like freight trains running at 60 mph down straight tracks. Once you're driving in their direction, you jus can't lose em.
Ted Roche: "Why lug around a 1300-page reference when you can just look it up on Google."
Mary Jo: "RSS is gospel in Redmond these days."
BTW, people make too much of my distaste for Microsoft's mucking with the iconography of RSS. It's already kind of a mess thanks to other techies who thought they understood the art better than everyone who came before. The content companies, like Yahoo, are generally pretty good about this. There's so much value in being consistent. "One way to do something, no matter how flawed that way is, is better than two, no matter how much better the second way is." But techies have this inappropriate arrogance that nothing happened before they discovered something. At least Microsoft hasn't said anything personally insulting in pursuit of their epiphany. When other BigCos came in, some of them slung mud to prove their point. Microsoft people have been ladies and gentlemen. And net-net, they're doing it 98 percent right. Scripting News tends to have too loud a voice sometimes. When I post something here, once or twice, among hundreds of other posts, that should give you an idea of how important I think it is. I have no control over how many times an item gets repeated elsewhere. (Or if they repeat it correctly.)
Ernie explains why New Orleans disaster tours are weird but okay. At lunch yesterday I tried to explain to a bunch of Berkleyites what New Orleans is like, but didn't get through. People think they know what it would be like, but until you actually put yourself in there, you don't. I had a thought, is anyone writing about it? I don't know that anyone is making it their job to chronicle what's going on there. If the city rises then it's the story of how it happened. But if the city never regains its momentum, and just drifts, tragically, that's a story too. The death of a major American city. Is anyone there working on that?
People have speculated that I will go there, and I've thought about it for sure, but I'm not sure if I could. I need to be close to good health care. For me it's not a casual thing. I think perhaps that's why New Orleans presents such a great opportunity for people in their 20s. You get a chance to form a city around your aspirations, and you can survive with very little support at that age.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Steve Rubel discovers how to read O'Reilly books, in full, for free, thanks to Google Books.
BusinessWeek: "When Loic Le Meur, one of the country's most widely read bloggers, proposed doing a podcast interview with Sarkozy, the answer was mais, oui."
Movies seen recently: Aristocrats, Constant Gardener, Shopgirl, Syriana, Wedding Crashers, Munich, Crash. To name just a few. They were all good. The best joke was in the Aristocrats (in fact it's all one big joke). Movie I'd most like to see again: Syriana. Least: Munich (although it was good). Funniest and sweetest: Wedding Crashers.
Future Tense: "After a fruitless search for free audio books online, Hugh McGuire started Librivox, a project of amateur readers who record public domain books and poems."
LibriVox volunteers "record chapters of books in the public domain, and then we release the audio files back onto the net."
PC Mag: "We're so impressed with the DAH-1500i that while we were testing it, our iPod shuffle started whining and giving us puppy-dog eyes."
Jim Erlandson says bloggers played a role in uncovering the faked stem cell cloning story.
More on blog plagiarism from Om Malik.
David Berlind writes about DRM.
MarketWatch article on the state of New Orleans. "It's even worse a mile or so outside the central city, where the New Orleans economy is comatose. Its neighborhoods uninhabitable, retailers are simply unnecessary."
Monday, December 26, 2005
Ernie caught Santa in a candid post-Xmas pose.
Esthr Dyson's Flickr photo stream.
Accordion Guy: "Those of you who have a bit of clown phobia may not want to watch these videos."
I had to cancel my trip to Podcastercon on January 7. A sponsor is doing something fairly commercial with the help of the organizers. As I explained below, the line between commercial and non-commercial is very simple and clear, you can't be almost non-commercial and not open the door for everyone to promote their products. I can't pay my way cross-country, about $2000, to be pitched, and to help draw people to the pitches. I should have seen this coming, but I didn't. I'm sorry if you booked the trip because I was going to be there. I still think a fully non-commercial podcasting conference would be a useful event, but I doubt if we'll ever see one.
I don't know who this person is, but I really admire her directness and courage. We need more women to stand up for men, because we sure don't have the ability to stand up for ourselves. Of course I'm going to get flamed for saying this, and pointing to it, but who cares. Happy holidays!
Rene Blodgett: "Like calculators, VCRs, cell phones, TiVos, and iPods, will we all be saying How did we live without our Nav system two years from now?" Yes.
Paul Ashby: Songbird aims to do what iTunes can't.
Om Malik on blog plagiarism.
Mike Arrington: "People have a tendency to try and see both sides of an issue. So when someone steals content from you, others are going to ask if you handled yourself properly in dealing with it."
Rex Hammock is accumulating a list of US airports with free wifi. We rarely hear about airports with no wifi, a vanishing breed. New Orleans is one of those.
Ask anyone who was at the three BloggerCons, it's hard to keep commercialism out of non-commercial technology conferences. Once you open the door, even a bit, for one vendor, they all want equal time, and they're entitled to it. Imho, you have to draw a hard line, a firm NO when it comes to promoting products. Otherwise you get a commercial conference.
When I sought sponsorship for the first BloggerCon, I was told that I would have to let the sponsors have speaking slots, in the main conference, and I would not be allowed to tell the audience that they had paid for the slots. I tried to compromise and said they could speak at lunch, but not in the main conference. I got no takers. So I said no. This was before we had the unconference concept, after that, for the second BloggerCon, we didn't even ask for sponsorship.
By the time of the third BloggerCon, at Stanford in November of last year, the idea was so well established that we got the sponsorship on our terms, which were "We'll find an appropriate way to thank you." No speaking slots, no logos on the website, no banners in the auditorium, just a thank you note on the website, and a personal thanks in the opening remarks, and in the closing remarks, and two rounds of applause. I think the participants appreciated this much more than they would had we given them advertising time in the conference-proper. They know when something is a commercial, even when you don't say so. It only makes the sponsor look dirty, and makes the conference itself dirty.
Now the paid-for speaking slots thing happens all the time, everywhere you go, it's the norm in tech conferences. It may be the norm for all conferences, since I don't go to many conferences anymore, largely because of this. And a lot of other people are staying home too, which feeds a spiral of commercialism, because now that fewer people are paying the conference fees, the promoters rely more heavily on sponsorship, so the conferences become more commercial, so more people stay home, and on and on.
Now, occasionally I agree to participate in a commercial conference, if it's in an interesting place, or a different community, or at a time when I want to get out of town. But I only do it if they pick up the tab for my travel (business class or better) and hotel stay. I never pay out of pocket for these things. That was the problem with the Syndicate conference in NY in May, this was one of the more whored-out conferences, and I was one of their key attractions, and they wouldn't cover my expenses. Why should I pay out of my pocket for companies to promote their products to me and others, while the promoter pockets huge profits? Hey if I'm going to be a whore, you have to pay me, and pay me well. There's nothing more pathetic than a pimp or a john who thinks they should get it for free.
People who pay out of their own pocket to come to a commercial conference and don't have a product to promote, feel like they're being ripped off, and they're right, they are being ripped off. If the conference is commercial, you should get in for free, and your expenses should be covered. In Silicon Valley, they look the other way, because it's presumed that there are enough people who can afford to pay and look at commercials that they can fill a room this way. It's why the conferences are so mind-numbingly boring, because the kind of people who pay to go to listen to commercials are people with no ideas, no passion, nothing to contribute other than their money. Every conversation has a business model. Every person you meet has something to sell you. Where's the fun in that?
Tech companies seem to feel it's their god-given right to make money at every venue, even when they don't pay for it, apparently. Well, I held the line at BloggerCon, and by the time we got to the third one, we got the sponsorship money without having to take it up the butt. This was because I had a very tough rule about commercialism, even tougher than Harvard required. I really don't like commercials to creep into conferences that are focused on the people, not the companies. Imho, it spoils the fun.
Paul Thurrot: "The fact that Posen's post is so long should alarm people. I think it proves that Winer has a point."
Of course I have a point. I've been using iPods for three years. These are not casual comments by a newbie. I've also used competitive products, and know it doesn't have to be this way. (They're not perfect either.)
The problem with the iPod is, of course, DRM. Some people say it's not Apple's fault, and they're probably right. But Apple is still the vendor, it's their name on the product. If something came along that was as nice as an iPod without the glitchy UI, it's Apple that's going to look bad, imho.
BTW, the "imho" part is something most of my detractors leave off, as they say some pretty personally insulting things about me (they often leave off their real names too). That should factor into your thinking. If the people promoting an idea say nasty things about people who differ with them, and if they have to take their swipes anonymously, they must not have a lot to say that's substantial, and they clearly aren't willing to stand behind their own thinking.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Holiday message for 2005. "Make levees, not war."
2006 prediction: Scoble will appear on Oprah.
Ludens: "My sons' iPods have broken down not once now, but twice in their first year of use."
A couple of days ago my inner-curmudgeon got to express himself, but that was then, today is Christmas, and even though I'm not a Christian, in the United States we observe the holiday anyway. It has special significance here, if not everywhere in the world.
It's a Flickr holiday if there ever was one! I'm so glad I'm subscribed to the photo streams of people who are taking pictures all over the world today. Cyrus Farivar in Senegal and the Sudan in Africa. Kathryn, who I "met" through Megnut is in New York City, while Megnut herself is skiing in Vermont. Betsy Devine in Cambridge. Doc Searls is in Marin. Scoble in Silicon Valley. Dan Farber practicing martial arts. Rebecca MacKinnon went to her father's wedding (in Mexico?). And of course Ernie the Attorney is in New Orleans. I have correspondents all over the globe and our connection is through the bits traveling over the network. Never has the vision of Holding Hands in Cyberspace ever seemed so real to me. And every year it gets more and more real.
This is what the Internet is about. When Microsoft and others pick at the details of RSS, things that were decided years ago, I wish they would help as only they can help, by spreading the word far and wide, helping people make better use of the Internet, now, not when they're ready to profit from it. There are lives being wasted today, problems that urgently need solving that this technology can help solve, a technology whose promise is that it can help people work together. Yet the tech industry always seems to use the promise to drive us into warring camps, much as the Republicans and Democrats do every time we make a political decision in this country.
As we stuff ourselves and gift each other in the US today, remember that one of our greatest cities is still virtually under water. The streets have been pumped dry, but its future is in doubt. My friend Ernie took the picture that, for me, defines what Christmas 2005 is about. A choice to build, to help people who we can help, our own people, and keep the door open for helping others. Somehow all our attention has focused on a small oil-rich country very far away, and we've been told our future is there, but it is not there, it is here, in New Orleans, in the USA.
Ordinarily I am not an isolationist, I believe in exploring the cosmos, but at times you need to take care of your home first. New Orleans is home, and it needs our help. Let's help.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Twas the night before Christmas, when...
Michael Affronti explains how RSS will work in Outlook.
Chris Lydon, one of the early creators in podcasting, writes the story from his point of view. It's a very generous piece, thank you Chris!
Podcasting will be a factor in the 2006 election.
Google in 2006: "Small countries in Africa, Latin America and south Asia adopt the Google as their national currency."
One year ago today: Hoover Dam, Kingman, Sedona.
Friday, December 23, 2005
2006 prediction: Apple will ship two generations of iPods. The first new generation, released in April, will have a satellite receiver built-in. The second will have a low-power FM transmitter built-in.
Mike Arrington: "Christmas with my parents is never perfect." I wonder if Mike's mom reads his blog. Mine reads mine, so everything I write here is Mom-proof.
BTW, my favorite Christmas meal is pot roast. I'm building one for the dinner we're having at Sylvia's on Sunday, the local Berkeley Jewish enclave. We're going to do the usual. Chinese food for lunch, a group hike, a movie, then stuff our guts on garlic-filled food and belch and yell about stuff, loudly. Sylvia are plotting and scheming on a manifesto about gender co-equality. It's something like Confederacy of Dunces, which is required reading, after Microserfs. Totally 1.0.
Kevin Burton reviews the new Attensa aggregator.
According to this prediction list, I will get EVDO for my laptop. Okay, I'm ready. What do I need to buy?
Follow-up, Rex Hammock on the strange culture of Mac enthusiasts. It's strange to me too. I thought the people had gotten over their blind obedience to Apple, but apparently not. C'est la vie. I'm going to keep narrating my work, and telling you what I like and I don't. That way when I say I like something you know I mean it. I wonder about people who conclude from my writing that I hate iTunes, the iPod or Apple. I would never trust what they write given how they interpret my writing. Alan Kay once said the Mac was the first computer worth criticizing. People don't generally criticize things they don't use. For seven years I wouldn't touch Apple products, and in that time I almost never wrote about them. Earlier this year I got a Mac, and then another, and I'm getting ready to buy another. If you miss the point, then you're just plain stupid. I only write about these things because I care. You don't see me writing too much about Windows or MSIE these days, do you? Mac people, get a clue already. Geez Louise.
ZDNet UK: "As the phones ring off the hook at Opera, the browser vendor insists rumours that Microsoft is buying it out are unfounded."
Let's say I bought an audiobook, it comes on eight CDs, I rip it into eight folders, write a script to name the files 001.mp3, 002.mp3, 003.mp3, etc. From there, if I copy the files to the Archos, it does the right thing when I start playing the first file, it goes to the second, then to the third.
But the iPod can't be made to care what the filename is, so it plays them in the order of the ID3 info, which is almost completely random because the ripper has no idea that the eight CDs are actually one big document.
So the Archos wins, I can use it to listen to this book because it's a Really Simple MP3 player. The iPod which adds a layer on top of the filesystem, manages to remove just enough functionality as to make it completely useless for this task.
Rex Hammock: "Another person in my office lost all of her Apple iTunes store purchases when her PowerBook's hard drive crashed. Despite the obvious fact that Apple knows she has purchased these tunes and that her problem was caused by an Apple hardware problem, their response is: You should have backed it up. Huh? To what?"
Seems like some folks aren't understanding what Rex is saying, and maybe I don't either, but here's my take. The user interface on iTunes is awful. It's the worst piece of crap I've ever used. People would tell me when I was a Windows user that it was because the Windows version of iTunes is crap but the Mac version is easy. Well, both programs are head-up-butt impossible to figure out. The user model makes no sense. When is something on the iPod? How many copies of the music do I have? Where the fcuk are they? How do you delete something? Is it really gone? Why does it wipe out the contents of the iPod when I don't say it's okay to?
I don't understand how they get people to buy so much music on their store, I wouldn't give them a dime. I buy the CDs and scan em in. Someone bought me a copy of Alice's Restaurant as a present when I got the new iPod. Well that was gone in less than a week, never got to play it once. What did I do wrong? I swear, I have no idea, and I'm a professional software designer. What about the poor schnook who is just a user?
So maybe this has something to do with the reason Rex says you gotta burn the CDs or else you'll be sorry. I go one step further. Skip the store, buy the CDs, and rip them into the iPod. That way when you lose the iPod all you'll have to do is waste a bunch more time scanning the CDs.
However, lest you think I don't like Apple, you should know I just gave Uncle Steve about $1000 for Christmas presents. I can't say more or else I might spoil the surprise for some deserving folk.
Yesterday Mike Arrington told me a story about a Silicon Valley pundit that reminded me that most of the people in the software business are putzes and that's why I moved out of Silicon Valley in 2003 and never once regretted it.
Had to go to the post office yesterday and waited in line and everyone was ho-ho-ho'ing, and the radio was playing some Frosty the Snowman shit, and I was sitting there while every person who came in wished everyone a Merry Christmas as if this were a Jimmy Stewart movie and not downtown Berkeley. I had a good half hour to think about this while I waited. I thought to myself, you know I'm a pretty friendly guy, and that's 365 days a year, and most of these people are bastards most of the time, but could they really be this nice for a few days a year? Could I bring myself to ho-ho-ho along with them and not ask them if they'll be so holly-jolly in a couple of weeks? Nahhh. I just sat there reading my book and pretended it was March or April or something like that, a good month with no big happy holidays in the middle.
I don't like Christmas, maybe that has something to do with not particularly liking Christians. Let me explain. It's not the people I don't like, it's the Christianity of the people. It's so confusing. Are they right-to-lifer's? I can't figure that out. Do they favor the death penalty? I think they do. Why are they so happy for one week, and so pissed off the rest of the time? And for what it's worth, I don't believe the happy bullshit for one second. I've had the privilege of being inside on a few of these Christian Christmases, with shicksa women I was dating, and let me tell you, if you haven't had a chance to see the inside of the holiday, it's pretty pissy and angry, you know, like people really are, not like they pretend they are. So I guess I don't like it because it's basically dishonest and because Christianity, in my eye, has gotten a bad rep.
I heard somewhere that most Christians are basically liberals, but it's just a few nasty dickheads that ruin for everyone. Sounds likely to me, but what do I know.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Steve Gillmor: "John Spenser's death at 58 cements the 'fake' White House as the real human drama and the Bush administration as the cardboard cutout." Exactly right. Now onto the key issue. I had the same thought about the futuristic library scene, but didn't dare bring it up. Now that the NYC subway strike is over, the big question of the day is if Leo is in the library scene. If he is, they can't kill off Leo.
No problem: He's not in the scene.
Fantasic PDF from the Times-Picayune showing the levee breaks after Katrina and where the flooding was worst. Wish I had this picture with me when I was in the city.
Update on the blogging tools interop project. Basically there's been no uptake by the vendors. I remain interested in helping if I can.
New Flickr set: "My uncle, Ken Kiesler, had a hippie house just west of Crescent Beach, Florida. The buildings are still there. In April 2004, I drove out there with Pat Hamilton who owns the property now. It's nice that Pat is keeping it more or less as it was when Ken and Dot lived there."
Ernie the Attorney: "A friend who left New Orleans before Katrina and has not yet returned sent me an email and asked how things are. She seemed to want guidance on whether to return." I posted a long comment on Ernie's site.
Five years ago today: "Peel and grate some Idaho potatoes. Add an egg, a little grated onion and perhaps a little matzoh meal (or flour if you like). Form them into pancakes and fry (in a pan of course). Serve with applesauce and sour cream, and rich coffee, perhaps a newspaper and smart people for conversation."
How many noodles can fit on the head of an angel? We're still talking about it, believe it or not. Fred has an opinion about Web 2.0. It turns out so do I. Read on.
There's two schools on "Web 2.0."
1. Tim O'Reilly and John Battelle and their VC friends. What they're doing is slicing up Google's PE ratio, tiny slivers of it, and apportioning it to small companies they either buy stock in (that's Tim's strategy) or consult for (that's Battelle). Basically the updraft from Google's stock is so strong it can turn those tiny slivers into tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. There's nothing theoretical about this, they're making the money, but they're not making a big deal about it so it's easy to overlook. You can see this reasoning in a recent Battelle post about how Google is doing a second IPO by investing $1 billion in AOL. He lays it out openly. It's a good business model as long as Google's PE ratio stays high.
2. There's the Mike Arrington version of Web 2.0, which he explained snarkily in his traitors memo, but he really believes it, and more power to him. I adore Mike, learn a ton from him, and am willing to humor him ad infinitum. That's why when I debunk #1, he gets caught in the cross-fire, but I don't resign from the workgroup. I kind of like the idea that we're appropriating the marketing slogan that makes the carpetbaggers so rich. There's a certain kind of justice to that.
There's actually a third kind of Web 2.0, it's the province of people who neither make huge piles of money catching bits of Google Wind™ in their sails, nor understand the connection between the various products that get Mike so excited. They just like to be "in" on the latest stupid tech buzzword, to go to conferences wearing natty clothing and calling people evil who dare to criticize the stuff that they're so hip to. They are friends with other snarky people who go to conferences, wear interesting clothing and call other people evil.
(Actually the latest trend is to say they're NOT evil. Heh.)
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Fred Wilson: "Entrepreneurs and VCs need to be able to play in the consumer electronics space." Must-read.
Confession: I am now addicted to the TV show Lost. I've watched the whole first season and am working my way through the second. By the time tonight's shows air, both re-reruns, I'll be in synch, but I'll probably skip ahead via BitTorrent. I have mixed feelings about the show. It's a bit too bloody and a bit too simplistic and there's too much yelling and blaming, but the characters are interesting, and I'll keep watching because, like I said, I'm addicted.
Read prediction #14 on this list. Go ahead and laugh. It's funny!
I'm looking for a web-based small business accounting app.
Ernie the Attorney, my gracious host in New Orleans, is back in the US after traveling to Panama. Interesting contrast, the third-world country is far more accomodating than the first-world. My heart is still in New Orleans. California seems unexciting in comparison. I was shopping yesterday at a local supermarket and everyone was so unhappy. This wasn't at all like New Orleans, where the line at the supermarket would be buzzing with news and ideas and hope. And humor too. There's nothing like a good disaster to remind you of your frail humanity and how important we are to each other. It reminds me a little of what it was like in the Bay Area after the earthquake. Life was an adventure. Why can't it always be so? Why do we, who have so much, appreciate it so little? I walk around Berkeley and revel at how well things work. In New Orleans they're proud when a new traffic light comes online. Now, will it last? That's what I want to know. I envy Ernie because he knows what he's doing, he's rebuilding an important and beautiful city. In comparison, my life feels so humdrum. I want something glorious to do!
Congrats to Dan Gillmor on his new institute for citizen journalism, a joint deal between the University of California School of Journalism and Berkman Center.
In the last episode of The West Wing to air, Leo McGarry says, prophetically, "You're all trying to kill me." Amyloo noticed this, I did too. It's sad, because since the airing, the actor who plays McGarry died. File this under "Be careful what you ask for" and "Famous last words." Now, selfishly, I wonder what the writers are going to do. They're in the middle of taping the current season. McGarry is the vice-presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket. What will they do? Pull a Bewitched and substitute a different actor, and try to pretend nothing changed? I sure hope not. Better to let the party deal with the problem of the death of a candidate. Get Hoynes to come back? How about Josh? CJ? They could surprise us and have a groundswell for Toby Ziegler. Heh. So many possibilities.
Another great Scott Rosenberg piece tries to puzzle out why the President broke the law so blatantly, so tranparently. He says breaking the law was the point. I think perhaps they broke the law because the surveillance techniques they're using are so insidious that either: 1. They don't want us to know about them and they're afraid they'd leak if they tried to get a court order or 2. They don't think they'd actually get approval to use them. Scott hopes it's just because they're arrogant and stupid. I share his hope.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Better Bad News: "Mena Trott call for civility jeered in Paris as US torture practices spread to secret European prisons."
Wikipedia: "Wikipedia does not present opinions as facts."
Ross Mayfield sees the pros and cons of editing your bio page on Wikipedia. Here's my take on it. No, you must not edit your bio page, or any page about a topic in which you have an interest. It's impossible to disclose that interest, so the poor reader has no idea how to credit what's on the page. This is the weakness of Wikipedia, in fact of all wiki. But his point about the knowledge you have about yourself is an important one. Imho, the obvious answer is that your page, on your site, edited only by you, should be linked to from the equivalent Wikipedia page, in a consistent and prominent way. Your review of a page about something you're involved in is important, but it must be clear to the reader that they are reading something that's interested. Ultimately, this combination of wiki and blogging is going to be the answer. It's how Jimmy Wales will be able to tell us he doesn't think the stuff on his Bomis site was porn and how his Ferrari cost less than most SUVs, and how Adam Curry can tell you all about himself and edit everyone else out. Now the question is, who is qualified to edit the Wikipedia page?
Larry Sanger to Jimmy Wales: "A few weeks ago you edited the article about you to remove all references to my role in getting Wikipedia started. You now call that a minor factual correction."
It's time for an unconference on the future of Wikipedia. Put all interested parties in a room for a couple of days, and see if the current concerns can be turned into new approaches which create a system with more integrity.
Rex Hammock explains, eloquently, why blogs matter. It's the one place where you can tell your own story, without anyone interfering.
Scoble's Wikipedia policy is the same as mine, and I'll add that I don't even read my bio, or articles about things I contributed to. It just gets me all riled up and there's nothing I can do about it, so I don't even look.
If you use Movable Type or Typepad, read the comment on this post from Anil Dash of SixApart.
Mike Arrington: "Vaios don't ship with the original CDs any more, so I'm totally screwed."
Transit strike in NYC. Something to think about during the strike. How quickly NYC would turn into a New Orleans if a terrorist struck the NYC subway system. You hear a fair amount of bitterness in New Orleans about the argument that New Orleans is not a good place to build a city. New York is easily as dependent on the subways as New Orleans is on its levees. And the weak link is just about as weak. Think about that as you hear stories in the next few days (hopefully that's all it is) about NYC without a functioning subway system.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Have you been following the business in Washington? Bush was using the NSA to spy on Americans, in America, without court orders. I just listened to Meet the Press, and what a crock the way Secretary of State Rice dodged the issues. What utter disregard for the Constitution. We live in a police state, and all the mentions of 9-11 can't explain away what they did. Even the Republicans are pissed and scared.
Financial Times: "Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder, said a new 'stable' version of the reference would be added to the site and audited to ensure its accuracy."
I took a quick look at the Google Talk API stuff, and realized quickly that it doesn't help me. They're trying to extend Jabber in some way, which is nice, but what I want is an endpoint that I can send XML-RPC messages to to have them be routed through the Google Talk network. I want them to hide all the complexity behind a super-simple interface so I can build applications that run on their network. I want to do Instant Outlining, and use their infrastructure to transport the packets. Wouldn't that be cool? Why not let me help you lock in your network? Oh well. I'll keep waiting. (Or maybe they want to hire someone to integrate this into the Frontier kernel? Seems the long way around.)
There's a blogger's dinner on the 30th in Palo Alto, courtesy of Scoble. I'll be there for sure.
Rogers Cadenhead: "Another person obsessively monitoring his own biography is Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who has edited it frequently, removing references to a credited 'co-founder' of the encyclopedia and obscuring the nature of a pornographic web site he once published."
News.com: "A new online information service launching in early 2006 aims to build on the model of free online encyclopedia Wikipedia by inviting acknowledged experts in a range of subjects to review material contributed by the general public."
Important news. Ross Rader of Blogware and Matt Mullenweg of WordPress are participating in the discussion about blogging tools interop. As Ross says, all it takes is two vendors to make it happen. I'm willing to be the glue, and I can also help by supporting interop in the OPML Editor. I've been writing about this for many years, it would be great to see the users finally get real choice.
Great Santa picture, but warning -- not for people who are truly into the spirit of the holiday. I went to my first Christmas party last night. Someone asked if I was enjoying the holiday season so far. I said yes, I hadn't really noticed it this year. It's the same old thing, as you get older the time goes faster. So really this year's Christmas just melts in with last year's. Life is one big Christmas. Ho ho ho.
I saw that Ron Bloom was interviewed on Business Week and, according to Heather Green, he commented on Adam Curry's editing of the Wikipedia entry on Podcasting. I'm going to avoid the angst and skip the podcast.
More on the Wikipedia article on "unconference."
Excellent piece by Russell Shaw about Web 2.0.
He's exactly right, and what he says is kind of obvious.
Web 2.0 is a way for certain marketing people to claim they invented stuff that they didn't invent, without actually claiming they invented it. It's the kind of double-talk marketing guys love.
In a sense people are right when they say it's another bubble. It's dishonest like the bubble was. Yet the technologies they're hyping are honest.
Yeah, we're getting fleeced again. It sucks.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Continuing the discussion on blogging tools interop, a commonly supported export format is an important first step, but it is not enough.
Betsy Devine: "Isn't it real news that Bush's top guy in New England was guilty of two felonies arising from an innovative technological effort to cheat NH voters out of an honest election?"
This is an important New Orleans picture, although it hardly looks so. The levees still leak, after Katrina. I'm pretty sure they didn't leak before.
Verdict on the video iPod -- hmmm -- not so much fun as I thought. Watching movies on such a small screen is hard on the eyes. And it's not easy to hold it steady on an airplane, where a laptop can be placed on the tray, you have to hold the iPod in the air for long periods, which is uncomfortable. And, where you thought it would shine, battery life, it's really no better than a laptop. Video is video, and just because the screen is small, well, so is the battery. Net-net, iPods are nice for audio, unproven for video. I still love Rocketboom though.
Michael Parekh: "This was like having a fire and losing stuff in your home or office, and realizing you didn't make copies of important stuff."
FEMA Help Desk: "The answer is no!"
Rex Hammock is learning from Mark Cuban.
The Wikipedia article about unconference gives me credit for coining the the term, but if they read my piece about it, which they link to, they'd see that I credit Lenn Pryor with coining the term. This is just plain sloppy, if you were grading an undergraduate's report and he or she made this mistake, what grade would you give?
They also list Foo Camp as an unconference. I don't think so. One of the hallmarks of unconferences is that they are unrestrictive. It's so totally opposite to the spirit of unconferences to make one invite-only. Where did they get the idea that Foo Camp is an unconference? What's their source on that?
Saturday, December 17, 2005
About interop between blogging tools.
Mike Arrington has a report on a new API for Google Talk. A while back I had an application that required me to be able to connect to Google Talk from the OPML Editor, back then I couldn't do it, the interface was too complex (anything is possible of course, but not in the small amount of time I had). I look forward to giving this a try. I suppose it would be too much to hope that the interface is XML-RPC? Probably. Luckily I have good contacts to this part of Google, through Joe Beda in Seattle, so we should be able to figure this out pretty quickly.
A war between Gretna and New Orleans has broken out in the comments on Rogers' weblog.
What's next, naked blogging at 30,000 feet?
Random idea: A Future-of-New-Orleans unconference would be very interesting. I would go. I keep finding myself wondering what the future of New Orleans is. I would like to get a group of experts and visionaries to speak about it.
On the way to the airport I stopped for another look at one of my college houses, and there was an organized cleanup happening on the street. It was really something. I talked with some of the people. All local, but not all people from the street. All around the city on Saturday morning you could see people working on the cleanup.
This woman was waiting at an uptown bus stop.
2:20PM Eastern: Arrived in Atlanta. Long layover, flight to SFO is at 5:30. This is one of the best airports to get grounded in. Although the wifi costs money, there's a wide variety of fairly decent food, lots of places to plug in, and plenty of room to walk around to get the blood flowing. In contrast, New Orleans airport is a ghost town. Most of the gates have no planes at them, maybe four planes were parked at gates (there seem to be about 100 gates). It's quiet. Scary quiet.
Cyril Neville: "A lot of things about life in New Orleans were a myth."
NY Times: "Pavel invented the device known today as the Walkman."
Friday, December 16, 2005
NY Times reports that Time-Warner is selling 5 percent of AOL to Google.
John Spencer, the actor who plays Leo McGarry on The West Wing, has died, at 58. Ouch.
A summary of all the New Orleans posts so far, with a place to comment and add pointers.
Today I did "normal" stuff in New Orleans. Went out for some Dunkin Donuts in Metarie, drove by some old places I lived (a couple were destroyed in Katrina, that helped me understand, just a little, what it must be like for people who live here now), went for a walk around uptown, got a haircut and beard trim, shopped for groceries and went to a movie at a local theater. Tonight I'm going to read a book, and get ready to travel back to the Bay Area tomorrow.
Earlier this month college students from Ohio came to New Orleans to help with the cleanup.
Mini-review of King Kong -- Yuck! I didn't like it at all. 98 percent action, 1 percent acting, 1 percent bad acting. Lord of the Rings meets Spiderman meets Indiana Jones meets Jurassic Park meets Titanic. 3 hours of unrealistic death-defying crap. Totally over-rated. I almost walked out eight times.
Then I went to see what Yahoo says, and even though it gets super-high ratings, they do not recommend it for me. Should have checked before I went. I gave it a D. (Even though I do love Naomi Watts. What a waste of a great actress.)
A Morning Coffee Notes podcast with thoughts about the scene in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast.
Map of Biloxi, MS.
1997 DaveNet piece about New Orleans
I forgot that Wes Felter is from New Orleans.
Details on nola.us from Susan Kitchens.
Eric Rice spies the water line in some of the New Orleans pictures. It's amazing how the eye doesn't see it for a while, and then you see it all over the place.
Jeremie Miller: "Content hosted on Google Base is exclusive, and not available to any other search engines!"
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Biloxi/Gulfport after Katrina: These two Gulf Coast cities took the brunt of Hurricane Katrina. A 25-foot storm surge from the gulf wiped out the populous beach communities for several blocks inland. Unlike the pictures of New Orleans' hurricane damage, these pictures show empty lots where houses and businesses used to stand.
I saw a sign on St Charles pointing to http://www.nola.us/. Looks like it might be an interesting New Orleans community site. I've been looking for something like that.
Niall Kennedy: "When I use an open-source product I expect to be able to tweak, modify, hack, and break a few things. Slapping protections and restrictions on an extension of a Mozilla Public Licensed product seems a bit evil to me."
News.com: "Google Music will allow a user to type in the name of a band, artist, album or song in the main Google search bar special, and results will appear at the top, accompanied by icons of music notes."
It seems the music industry must have had a heads-up this was coming because a few days ago they said they were going to go after lyrics sites. Google's music search leverages the lyrics sites.
6/15/05: "I've been hearing rumors that Google is readying an iTunes-clone, based on RSS 2.0, and fully podcast-capable. Multiple sources on this one."
BBC: "The free online resource Wikipedia is about as accurate on science as the Encyclopedia Britannica, a study shows."
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
New Flickr set: I toured the Lakeview section, New Orleans East and the French Quarter today with Ernie the Attorney.
On the flight from Atlanta to New Orleans I did a 50-minute podcast with Janet, a woman who lost her house and all her posessions in the Lakeview section of New Orleans. It might be the best MCN so far.
Ernie the Attorney on Magazine Street in New Orleans.
In a few short hours yesterday I talked with enough people to get a few ideas.
First, the people who are here are people who very much want to be here. Second, many of them are new to the city, attracted by the idea of a fresh start.
People who were uptown, in the Garden District, or central business distribut and quarter (the "sliver by the river") went through a burst of euphoria in October and November when the lights came back, phones started working, a few businesses re-opened. But since there's been less progress, and some people are getting depressed.
Some businesses are shuttered, others are visibly rebuilding. Walgreens has opened several 24-hour stores, they're brightly lit, a hub of activity. The Whole Foods looks incredible, not open yet, but clearly coming back. Two Starbucks on Magazine Street are dark and dead.
Magazine Street is the most active street uptown. Restaurants open. St Charles was trying hard but for the most was not open for business. On the lake side of St Charles, I'm told (but have not yet seen) there was a lot of flooding, on the lake side of Claiborne (the next street in, it was all flooded, and all needs to be rebuilt).
Ernie says people are waiting for leadership, but I say the leadership is already here. For example, when we pulled up to the Walgreen's parking lot last night, there was a Military Police humvee with three soldiers standing around. He said "Let's go talk to them." How strange, I said, to be talking to soldiers like that, but we did, and they were friendly, had opinions about stuff, they were from the Air National Guard. Here's a Quicktime movie of the soldiers.
They have an incredible word of mouth network going. Everyone has an opinion about what's going on. Not only does everyone here want to be here, but they want the city to work, even as the much smaller city it is today.
Some ideas. You knew I was going to say this -- more blogs. One for every waitress, lawyer, construction worker who wants one. Everyone has an opinion. Even if you write the same thing today as you wrote yesterday -- write. A Greensboro-size blogging community is a real possibility here, and it would help get people thinking and talking.
I've felt totally welcomed here. People are glad to see someonenew from the outside show up. The waitress at dinner last night said she felt awkward complaining about her situation because the person she's talking with might be worse-off than she is, but no problem talking with an outsider.
Anyway, here's something new people can do for the city -- help clean it up. So here's an idea, when people come to Mardi Gras in February, not only do they go to the parades and parties, but they also work. Haul away debris. Teach people how to blog. Do paperwork.
BTW, Ernie says there is free wifi covering the French Quarter and CBD.
Also, be sure to listen to last night's podcast, it'll help make things make sense.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Interesting discussion about the future of the ipodder.org directory. Looks like there will be a new top-level editor. Let's hope the ipodder.org domain goes with it, or at least it's redirected. About bandwidth for hosting OPML files, at least for now, I'm willing to foot the bill, I already have a community server set up that hosts files for users of the OPML Editor. I can't take on the responsibility for the content, that has to come from the community, but the space and bandwidth are not a problem for me. I already have the resources for it. If we need more bandwidth later, I have no doubt we can get the help we need.
Ernie posts a creative Christmas wish list from New Orleans.
Scott, I've found that if you directly ping Technorati it picks up the changes almost immediately. I know how to do this, I'll give you a script that does it automatically every time you update. I actually have a long enough layover that I might be able to do it while I'm here in Atlanta. After selling weblogs.com I've all of a sudden become more interested in how the whole ping network works. Funny how that is.
John Palfrey is testifying in Massachusetts tomorrow about open document formats. He's seeking suggestions on what he should talk about. Okay. I suggest RSS and OPML. You might want to mention the MetaWeblog API too.
The green Technorati icon in the right margin on Scripting News has been a great success, it puts sites that are comment on the site one click away. There have been some snarky posts, but for the most part it's been good to hear what people say and to see what they find interesting.
A test podcast done on the Archos prior to my New Orleans trip, while listening to Larry King on CNN talking about the death penalty in California. Later tonight Tookie Williams is scheduled to be executed.
Scott, I've heard the investigative reporting justification for news organizations many times, it's a classic; but I can't say I've actually seen much of that kind of reporting. Perhaps we could begin a serious effort to uncover it and chronicle it, and take a deep look. If it's really valuable then let's do something to make sure it survives. These days I don't think there's all that much Woodward & Bernstein out there. A lot more Jayson Blair and Judith Miller. Imho. Also, consider that we don't have to send reporters overseas if we already have bloggers there. And there are other ways to pay for travel. For example, I'm going to New Orleans tomorrow out of curiosity, on my own dime. If it's really worth doing, I think it'll get done, one way or the other.
Staci Kramer visited New Orleans in March, pre-Katrina.
Frank Paynter asked, here's my answer.
Every day is a new outline. I browse around using my aggregator, and when I find something I want to remember, I add a link to it in my outline.
When I have something longer to write I can do it one of two ways: 1. I can create a post on one of my ancillary sites and point to it from Scripting News. These posts have comments and trackback. 2. I can create a top-level headline and add sub-heads, which is what I'm doing here.
I've never used a commercial software product to blog, I've always used something that's one-off and homebrew. Lots of programmers like me do that. I don't really know why it's that way. I guess so I can make changes to my software without breaking any users? Yeah that soulds pretty good.
I have a button which I press to create the RSS feed. That way I get to control when people with aggregators see what I write. My raw writing is on the HTML version, the RSS version is more polished.
These days I write using a Macintosh, but the software I use, which runs in the OPML Editor, works on either Mac or Windows. I could use a Windows machine if I wanted to.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Dare Obasanjo at Microsoft wrote to say that MSN Spaces has implemented the MetaWeblog API. That's cool! It means we should be able to edit Spaces blogs with the OPML Editor and wordPress.root. I'll test this from New Orleans, or shortly after I get back.
At the dawn of the blogging revolution I wrote two pieces that relate back to the transition from mainframe to personal computers. One, entitled Mainframes Are Computers Too, said goodbye to the centralized limits of Big Iron, and the fears of the well-intentioned people who kept them running for us. Those people are in some sense analogous to the people who run newspapers today. The second piece, Apple Sparked a Revolution, spoke lovingly of the computer that gave us a sense of purpose, before the Mac, before the IBM PC. "The Apple II was a perfect mix of the personalities of the Apple founders. It had the polish and physical elegance that Jobs is famous for (it felt a bit like a typewriter, but with far fewer moving parts and much lighter) and the programmability and open frontiers that Steve Wozniak loves." I recalled these two pieces in a post on Jeff Jarvis's blog where he considers the possibility that today's newspapers are analogous to yesterday's mainframes.
This morning I added code to the OPML community server to ping Weblogs.com, Technorati and Ping-o-matic.
And then I booked a trip to New Orleans, leaving tomorrow and returning Saturday. Ernie the Attorney will be my host. I'll be staying uptown, and will try to see as much of the city as possible. Will bring my camera, of course. Should be pretty interesting.
Weather report for New Orleans.
A new blog ranking takes a unique approach, it ranks networks of blogs. Even more interesting is that the Web 2.0 Workgroup, the network this blog is part of, is ranked #4, with only Gawker, Pajamas and Weblogs higher-ranked. That's pretty darned impressive. Watch this story rise through the ranks on Memeorandum; it's sure to be much-talked-about among the blogs that care about these things, which tend to be the A-list blogs, of course.
Jeff Jarvis: "Newspapers have neither a constitutional nor a God-given right to exist."
Should I lead a discussion at Podcastercon?
Okay, for 4 points, why is this so clever?
Kellie Miller: "A little bird told me there was discussion group software hiding in our favorite application."
It's true. Look in mainResponder.discuss.
Lisa Williams continues to kick butt with her OPML news weblog. She's turning into the TechCrunch of the OPML community. Keep on truckin Lisa. Are you coming down for Podcastercon?
A big announcement today from SixApart that Yahoo will be supplying Movable Type as part of its small business service. Every time you turn on the computer there's news of Yahoo doing something smart. I hear from a reliable bird flying around Santa Clara that they will offer WordPress blogs as part of the same service. Now they should do something interesting in the same space as Google Base.
The way to make money on the Internet is to send them away. Google proved this, in the age of portals that were trying to suck the eyeballs in and not let them go, Google took over by sending you off more efficiently than anyone else. Feeling lucky? As William Shatner says: Brilliant!
Yahoo doubled their share of the online news market by adopting RSS and sending readers away as fast as they can. Who to? Their competitors, of course.
Where do you go to get the latest from CNN and MSNBC? Yahoo. Makes sense.
Now the fundamental law of the Internet seems to be the more you send them away the more they come back. It's why link-filled blogs do better than introverts. It may seem counter-intuitive -- it's the new intuition, the new way of thinking. The Internet kicks your ass until you get it. It's called linking and it works.
People come back to places that send them away. Memorize that one.
This came up in a back-and-forth with Jakob Nielsen in 1999. The duality of the Internet. The dark side sees eyeballs and user-generated content. The light side sends them away, trusting that they'll come back. The beauty of it is that the light side works and the dark side doesn't. This is where the optimism of web people comes from. We called it Web Energy in the early days, and it's still with us today.
I've said it before, I'll say it again. Scott Rosenberg is one smart mofo.
He says: "The old newspaper bundle-of-stuff that supported a thriving industry from the 19th century to the threshold of the 21st is falling apart."
But he says more, and you should go read the piece and then come back.
If I was a snark-filled professional reporter, all you would have gotten is the quote, but you would never know that Scott also said that it's up to his profession to find new bundles of stuff that people will pay information for.
To which I would say, yes but...
That will run out too, because we're in an age of disintermediation. What's under attack is much bigger than newspapers, it's all forms of aggregation.
Aggregation can now be customized, and it can be done by machine.
So the advertisers are running away from newsprint and to online ads, to reach Scott's kids, but I believe that long before his kids come of age (they're in elementary school now), the advertisers will have run on beyond what we can see now. Once we've disintermediated the San Francisco Chronicle and NY Times (unlike Scott, I don't think any news organization is going to escape) the next target is AdSense. No need for a middle-man there either.
So it's the whole notion of value in bundles of information that's going by the wayside. Bundling is not going to be a way to make a living in the future. It's a bad bet.
Here's a serious thought. Google Base is all about RSS, right? That's cool. I understand RSS, and I like it. And no one owns it, dammit. But everyone's all concerned (rightly so, imho) about turning over our data to Google. How do we know they won't put ads in our stuff without our permission? And without paying us? How do we know they won't change what we say? We've been through this before, and they won't even talk about it with us! How about that for snarky.
So here's an idea, let's start a company, hire some great people to run our database. Instead of being the users in "user-generated content," we'll be the owners. The former sounds like a hamster in a cage, to me. An owner is someone who commands respect. We could wear badges and give ourselves business cards that say Owner. Forget about being a hamster. I want to be an owner!
I've already talked about this idea with friends with huge pipes and big databases who know how to run things reliably, and they find the idea interesting. But so far they haven't said they'll do it.
PS: Elephants never forget.
PPS: If you see the Podfather, tell him he just had another great idea.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
New release of wordPress.root, teaches the OPML Editor how to create and edit WordPress blog posts. New features include categories, a View button, indentation, glossary.
Ed Cone: "Recently the BusinessWeek blog invited readers to rewrite a BusinessWeek story."
Latest Flickr set: A trip to Burlington and Dean HQ in Jan 04, in the days leading up to the Iowa Caucus. I was there for the famous scream heard round the world.
Bob Stepno discovered NY Times podcasts, behind the firewall, alas.
I know I'm the last person to discover how clever Flickr's RSS is. Here's the story. People were adding me as a contact as I kept uploading folders of pictures from my backlog. I would get an email every time it happened. I wondered why. I wonder no more. I started adding them as my own contacts, slowly, a few days ago. Coool, when I'd go to my Flickr contacts page, I could see if Betsy or Rex, Tara or Stewart had uploaded some new pics. Excellent. Then yesterday I wondered if they had an RSS feed for this. Yes, of course they do. Bing. I subscribed. Now, happily every time one of my contacts puts up a new picture, it shows up in my River of News and gets hooked on my fishing pole. Now every time I add a contact it's like subscribing in RSS. Scratch that, it's not "like" that at all. It's exactly that. Excellent.
Good news, we got a bit of community development work going on the OPML Editor. Got some spiffy new icons for wordPress.root thanks to Steve Kirks and some geeks who pitched in to help. I kicked back and watched, and was patient, and resisted pleas for help. Next time we'll get more juice from the community. Anyway, I have a new version of wordPress.root in the works, with a bunch of new features, it's my way of saying thanks to everyone for helping out. Good work.
Steve Case, founder and former CEO of AOL, writing in the Washington Post, argues persuasively that Time-Warner should split into four companies, including an independent AOL. He believes that AOL could undergo a renaissance similar to that of Apple.
I booked my travel to Chapel Hill for Podcastercon, on January 7. It's the first podcasting event I'm going to. It's a totally non-commercial unstructured event. I'll be there from January 5, leaving on the morning of the 8th, to be back in SF for MacWorld Expo on the 9th. I'll be staying at the Courtyard.
BTW, I'd like to cover MacWorld as press, but these days have absolutely no contacts at Apple in PR. If you have an idea who I should contact, please send an email. Thanks.
New feature in the right margin. Click on the green Technorati logo to see who's pointing at this site. It's an experiment to see what will happen. Now there's a way to trackback to Scripting News. If you have something to say about something that's posted here, try commenting on it on your blog and point to the post on this site. If it proves popular there are some obvious ways to enhance the feature.
Thanks Adam for inventing podcasting and being our leader. And thanks to BusinessWeek for honoring our podfather. He's so cool and his hair is so pretty. Hey he may just be a DJ but somehow he wrote all our software! He's so amazing.
Sorry for the sarcasm. Let me translate. BusinessWeek is a tool. How dare they promote him without the disclaimer that he fucked with the record, and got caught. They just showed they don't care if you know they don't have any integrity.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Here's a feature I'd love. A grid of public radio station schedules with links to their streams. That way I could choose a station based on the programming that's on right now. I'd even be willing to allocate my subscription fee based on my "attention data." What do you think of that idea, Steve Gillmor?
Congrats to TechCrunch for making it into the Technorati 100 for the first time. Scripting News is back in the top 100 (it started at the top of the list when it started), at number 98. As TechCrunch rises through the ranks, as it's certain to do, maybe they'll change the name of the list to the TechCrunchOrati list?
Rex Hammock's snowy Massachusetts pics.
Elmer Masters traces the roots of "weblog."
Om Malik: "300,000 is the number of del.icio.us users. When Flickr sold out, it had about 250,000 users."
Adam Green: "At least Joshua Schachter will now be able to buy enough servers to handle the load."
Scoble: RSS drives Reuters lobby's screen.
A discussion about the origin of the term "weblog" is under the recent picture of Jorn Barger.
I was curious to find the first occurrence of the term weblog on Scripting News, so, of course, I wrote a script.
Speaking of pictures, I had someone say I look like Zero Mostel the other day. I stood back, in shock. Then I looked up some pictures to remind myself what he looked like, and except for the comb-over, okay, it's not as bad as I thought. But I'd still rather think I look like Jon Corzine.
RSS Labs: "Welcome to OPML Workstation. This is a preliminary version of our PowerPoint to OPML site."
Amtrak route map for the United States.
Infoplease: Top 10 common last names in the US.
Friday, December 09, 2005
TechCrunch reports that Yahoo has bought del.icio.us.
Frank Paynter wants to know how do you blog.
Thanks Mike, how did you know?
Recent picture of Jorn Barger.
I want pictures of the snow in NY and Boston.
Betsy Devine's snowy New York.
Jim Moore's snowy Boston.
I snuck out this afternoon to catch the opening of Syriana. Very interesting movie, great acting, kind of confusing, but then it all comes together.
AP: "Students at Tulane University will return to a school with a gutted engineering department, eight fewer sports programs and student housing replaced by cruise ships."
Horse Pig Cow: "The blogosphere is all about subverting those power structures."
It's weird when someone who's been blogging for months says what the blogosphere is all about and it doesn't match up with what I, who have been blogging for years, thinks.
It's one of those things where she can think what she wants and I can think what I want and the world goes on.
But anyone who thinks they know what the blogosphere is about is as right as someone who thinks they know the meaning of life, and potentially as dangerous (in a not-nice way) because maybe they'll try to force you to see it their way.
I did an interview earlier this week, talking about the relationship between blogging and professional journalism, and I reiterated my old line, that I don't want to do away with the pros, I grew up reading them, and I think they serve a purpose. But they have to lose the arrogance and get creative if they want to have a chance in the new century.
Now I imagine from Tara's point of view I look like as much of an obstacle to her getting what she wants as the pros may have looked to a blogger who started when I did. I heard this in North Carolina at a session where I was used as an example of what blogging was rising against, the middle-aged white male. I was horrified, because I gave up a lot, personally, so that these people whould have a chance to blog. Now I'm being projected on, it's the Chinese Cultural Revolution all over again. Grandfather is a bourgeois counter-revolutionary, even if he marched with Chairman Mao.
I'm a boomer, born in 1955, and my song is more likely Let's all work together to make the world a better place. This is different from Google's idea that they're going to change the world. They aren't inviting us to work with them on this, or looking outside for ideas, they want to do it themselves. Reminds me of the smart young Apple execs who, in the early 80s, retired with their millions and went looking for a small African country to run. I imagine it didn't work out, they came home to a more ordinary path, or they were assassinated. People don't want that kind of help. And maybe people don't want to work together to make the world a better place, either.
I've been working my way through the Cosmos series by Carl Sagan. He's my kind of scientist. He believes in god, but his god can't be prayed to, anymore than you can pray to the law of gravity. I like that, makes sense. I'll belong to any religion that says we're all barking farting chihuahuas who are born and die in the blink of an eye, who like Taco Bell, but hey we're just dogs anyway, so what do we know.
When people get the idea that they're on some righteous path that's exclusive of others, that's when I start shaking my head. It doesn't matter who they are, who they work for, or how much (or little) money they have. Get a clue, we're all bozos on this bus, and none of us gets out of this alive.
I wonder if it's Google or me, but I can't seem to get behind anything they do these days. The latest abomination is "web clips" inside Gmail. Everything about it is irritating.
First, why can't they call it RSS. That's what it's called. Not good enough for Google. Gotta make it sound all weak and watery. Web clips. WTF is that? I don't know. And I don't want to know.
Second, they know what I'm subscribed to, what I like, since I imported my subs to their reader (another offensive piece of software), but noooo, they have to offer me the sanitized Google-approved feeds, some of which I already subsribe to (enough to be confusing), none of which are objectionable, and none of which are very interesting. (And none who have ever criticized Google, big surprise there.)
Third, whenever they mention RSS, it's always with Atom hitching along for a free ride. RSS, in this context, is not a format, dummy, it's a feature. Yes, you have to support Atom. No you don't have to put it in people's faces, it just confuses them dammit.
I didn't even get to their reader, I want to turn this piece of crap off, or better yet turn back the clock and let Gmail be a mail client, which it does very well. There, I said something nice about Google. Even I was getting tired of hating everything they do and everything they stand for.
Might as well get this out of the way.
Overlooked in the press about Adam Curry modifying the Podcasting page on Wikipedia, anonymously, to improve his image, is that it actually was a company turning a Wikipedia page into an ad for itself. The kind of ad you have to pay for if you want it to run on most websites. What we usually call spam.
Imagine how outraged we would be if Ford or Toyota were anonymously changing the Cars page on Wikipedia. For that matter, how do we know they aren't?
In many categories the Wikipedia page is the first hit on search engines, such as Google. More all the time. How long before spammers realize that this is a good way to boost page rank? It's actually kind of amazing that they aren't yet on the front line of the anti-spam fight.
Now think about that when you say this was some insignificant kerfuffle. Adam, who used to be a friend of mine, probably inadvertently stepped into something much bigger than any of the press has tuned into. In other words, it probably wasn't a strategy hatched by his company. I don't think we've heard a disclaimer from the company, though.
And a word to the wise. If you run a company, it would be smart to tell your employees and officers to keep their hands off Wikipedia pages that relate to your company's business, or a PR debacle may be in your future.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Washington Post: "This site offers an RSS feed for every current member of Congress, so you can get notified each time your elected officials vote."
New Flickr set: Just before leaving for good, I took a walk-through of my old house in Woodside, with a camera. The house is gone now, this is all that's left of it.
BetterBadNews: "You will be surprised..."
Here's the idea that could change the way the search business works, that could turn it into a real developer platform, fuel ten years of innovation, and make life difficult for Google (so they would have to spend more time making search better and have less time to raid the book industry, for example). Take an existing search engine, like Yahoo, and split it into two pieces, a back-end and a front-end. Spin the back-end out into a separate company, and set a date, maybe a year from now, when the front-end (which stays inside Yahoo) has to pay the back-end for search services. However it is also free to contract with Microsoft or someone else for those back-end services. It's a competitive market. That would force the back-end company to come up with an economic deal that makes sense for developers, because their business would depend on such a deal. The back-end company could compete with their customers if they want to, but the biggest customer, Yahoo, would have a huge lead, as would Google of course. They probably wouldn't compete, largely because they couldn't. But the most important thing is that while Yahoo gets to keep delivering its enormously profitable search service to their users, we also get a chance for a competitive market for search, all of that driving more business to the back-end company, and more growth for the share holders. Seems like a risky, but very practical way to change the search game. Now the "experts" are going to tell you why it can't be done, and that's the subject for another strategy piece.
More on the back-channel at Les Blogs from Le Marquis. This ought to be a major clue that it's time to delete the audience once and for all. It's an obsolete concept. End the madness, begin the discourse. Scoble wants to try the HyperCamp in the week between Christmas and New Year's in San Francisco or San Jose. I'd like to do it in the East Bay of course. We just need a big space that's got good wifi (or even just broadband) and then we need about 20 companies or people to stand up and talk for 20 minutes each. Or as many as 40 people. A big table in the middle and some refreshments coming in all day long, and we can re-invent the conference business in one day.
Chris Pirillo's conection is down and he got da blues.
Rogers Cadenhead: "It's hard to fairly judge the situation without seeing the events that led up to it, but that's never stopped me before."
Video of my Gnomedex keynote, June 2005.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
I went for a visit at Yahoo in Berkeley today and had a brief talk with Jeremy Zawodny, who was visiting too. We had never met, and had an interesting discussion about something I'll write up later when I have a bit more time.
Jon Udell: "A blog can be used to narrate the key events and accomplishments in your professional life, to establish your reputation as an authority on subjects in your areas of expertise, and to educate the world about your company's products and services."
Lee Gomes: "Reporters for the big mainstream newspapers and magazines, long accustomed to fawning treatment at corporate events, now show up and find that the best seats often go to the A-list bloggers." There's more going on here than the reporters being replaced by bloggers. It's disintermediation, the thing that the Internet does to every business, art and profession that aggregates and repackages. Carl Sagan said that human beings are the cosmos gaining consciousness and studying itself. The tech bloggers are the tech community, the programmers, lawyers, investors, business managers, users, taking responsibility for their own cosmos. The reporters were necessary when you needed a million dollars to start a news "paper," then a billion dollars to start a media empire. Now you need a laptop computer and an account on Blogger or MSN Spaces.
I've noticed what Don Park observes. The desktop is a minor nuisance to modern computer users. They pay almost no attention to it.
David Berlind: "Park's observations exactly mirror what's going on not just in my household."
It was interesting to watch the interaction betwen Ben Metcalfe and Mena Trott at Les Blogs. Not sure what to make of it. Technorati captures the action pretty well (although it won't work in the archive). I don't think he's so fabulous. When Mena asked him to explain what he said on the back channel he got all offended. Well geez, if you said it, why not stand by it? Seems a little cowardly to me.
On thing's for sure, the format of the typical conference needs to be turned upside down and inside out. All the problems with the back-channel go away if you get rid of the audience altogether, and fill the room with bloggers, and turn the sessions into press events, and put them in the corners of a big room with the conversation open and in the middle (and not all-electronic). That's the idea behind Hypercamp. Maybe we'll do it in January (it didn't come together for December, after all).
Looking at the conference website for Syndicate coming up next week in SF, I'm already bored, and the show hasn't even started!
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Now here's a Forest Gump moment, podcast was chosen word of the year by the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary. "Podcast was considered for inclusion last year, but we found that not enough people were using it, or were even familiar with the concept. This year it's a completely different story. The word has finally caught up with the rest of the iPod phenomenon."
New Flickr set: In December 2003, a few Berkman-Thursday people went up to New Hampshire to see Howard Dean and Joe Lieberman campaign.
This morning I sent an email to John Palfrey, executive director at Berkman Center, asking if he was interested in looking at the history of podcasting in a formal way. I thought of Berkman first for a few reasons. 1. I was a research fellow there during two important years in the evolution of podcasting. A lot of the events happened there, and at the first two BloggerCons, that were hosted there. 2. Wikipedia's leading spokesperson, Jimmy Wales, is currently a fellow at Berkman, so their interest in the future of Wikipedia is also clear. 3. Harvard likes to partner with other universities, so if there is an interest in this among others elsewhere, it seems Berkman might be able to coordinate. I think this investigation, if it's going to be done right, must be done slowly and deliberatively, with all the participants included, without favoring any particular set of facts. And the work must be done with a larger goal of helping set a precedent for future work in Wikipedia.
What Jeff Jarvis said. "Use SSE young man." Cooolyo!
Four years ago today: "As an alpha male, in a society that thinks we're the problem, it's nice to see another alpha male gain total acceptance in his alpha-ness."
Dan Farber reports from When 2.0.
Dowbrigade predicts the Iraqi equivalent of the Vietnam Tet Offensive. The Wikipedia page on the Tet Offensive, which is the first hit in a Google search, is clearly partisan. "The Tet Offensive is widely, however incorrectly, seen as a turning point of the war in Vietnam," it says in the second paragraph. Now of course I want to know who said that. See the problem? Same set of facts, two different views. In the case of Dowbrigade, I know who's speaking.
Andrew Hargadon: "From the glass house they live in, the NYT editorial staff should be much more careful about throwing stones at online reference material."
News.com: "Can another Google still emerge? Never say never. But industry experts say the barrier to entry gets higher as the big companies become more."
Dan Fost: Salon marks 10 years on Internet.
Some progress has been made on getting a nice icon for WordPress posts in the OPML Editor. Thanks to Steve Kirks for picking up the ball. So far (as far as I know) no one has asked anyone with Frontier expertise (specifically re nodetypes) for help, they're still coming to me for everything, which is totally not a scalable development model. I've been enjoying more naps lately, long walks and long lunches. I'm 50 years old, not 21, and the dotcom bust was almost six years back (so there's no eyeball monetization angle here) and to be totally honest I had heart surgery 3.5 years ago, so for all those reasons, I'm not a good guy to go to for all your features. As I said in the post, this is not a mission-critical feature, so if we don't have it, well, we'll survive. I deleted a couple of flames, and my responses to them. At first I thought the flames were a bad sign, but now I think they're a good sign (but not a good thing of course). No point getting personal here, I won't be guilted into doing all your work, and eventually I won't do any of it. This is a pass-off, I'm here to help, but I can't pass off if there's no one to pass off to. So if you don't like it, that's okay, there are lots of things I don't like too (like getting older, for example), but I can't make you miserable for it, and I won't let you get my goat, not in my space, not on my dime. Anyway, this is a long way of saying, if you can help out here, and you know about Frontier nodetypes and icons on Mac and/or Windows, you'll get some good karma points from the OPML community. Namaste.
Technorati's posts that are tagged "lesblogs" which the mind keeps wanting to parse as "lesbians." Also just heard about a conference today at Stanford, hosted by Esther Dyson, called When 2.0. This is where Google's calendar is rumored to be rolled out. Random thought: Someone ought to do a feed of the international circuit of industry conferences. Or maybe a calendar of them. Heh. BTW, don't confuse When with Where 2.0, which was an O'Reilly conference in June in SF. Of course now we're all waiting for What 2.0, and then we can roll around to the 3.0's.
Hi John -- I'm writing to you today as the Executive Director at Berkman.
I wonder if you've been following the whole mess over Wikipedia and podcasting over the last few days.
I think basically it's going to turn out to be a good thing that it happened, because we can now perhaps involve some serious academics in the process, for touchy subjects like podcasting, where all the principals are alive and active, and some have commercial interests, and some of them start abusing the Wikipedia for those commercial interests.
There's an email being circulated among some of the people involved in podcasting that we all work with a historian to get the accurate story published and perhaps on Wikipedia. I think this is one level too involved, I shouldn't be part of the process of deciding even who the historian is, and I don't think there should be a single "official" historian that's approved of by anyone in particular. Then what's next, Adam's official historian, and my official historian? It could get out of hand quickly, and of course whoever we approve of could be attacked simply because he or she was approved of.
So, as far as I know you don't have anything to do with the development of podcasting.
What do you think is a good approach for this?
Is this something that perhaps Berkman would like to take a role in?
Do you have a conflict because I was a fellow there and Wales is one now?
Do you have any thoughts on other people I might send such an email to?
Monday, December 05, 2005
We need help with icons for wordPress.root.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has a piece about the Wikipedia controversy, but their piece has at least one statement that, imho, can't be sourced, illustrating that the issue isn't just with Wikipedia. I posted a question as a comment on the piece.
Interesting thread developing at Business Week.
I don't know about you, but I think there's something wrong when, after getting many years of free service, people complain about the quality of that service. I see people who I know are really good-hearted people doing this, people who I know mean well, and think I must be missing something, or they're missing something. To me it seems like the ultimate chutzpah, you get something for free, an act of generosity. Why don't they offer to help, and if they can afford it, offer a few bucks. I find this so disturbing. (I'm not going to point, I don't want to embarass anyone, or make it personal.)
Speaking of which, here's the other side of the podcast hijacking controversy from last week. It's complicated, and not entirely clear what's going on, still, but there is another side to it. I've been watching the debate about this on the podcast mail list over the last few days, and I was asked to get in the middle, but I declined. I already have a complicated life and plenty of people who hate me.
Had lunch today with Craig Newmark, Sylvia Paull, Scott Rosenberg and people from Opinity. They told us about their reputation services, and paid for the lunch, in downtown Berkeley. A lively conversation, a timely topic, and (it seemed) a good time was had by all.
Another observation. If they added the ability to send me a mail message or an IM, or some other kind of message, it could serve as the link-to page in the ownerId element proposed for OPML.
Red Herring: RSS Fund Makes 1st Investment.
Betsy Devine is a Wikipedia editor, and exactly the kind of person who should be in that role. Now if you could quantify what makes Betsy so ideal, and then find ten thousand volunteers with the same qualifications, then you'd really have something. The current Wikipedia system, as I've observed for a long time, gives anonymous trolls way too much power, although recent incidents should help to mitigate that. And Wales has been far too dismissive of the problem in the past. It may be time to find a new leader for that community, he's been more of a hypester and a flamer than a maven for information and a realistic community leader. To be clear, the previous situation, where Wikipedia was considered authoritative, yet at the same time had such low quality, was unacceptable. Either it loses the authority, or something is done to improve the quality.
Michael Gartenberg: "The real story of the Wikipedia is why would anyone presume anything written in there is accurate?"
The Accordion Guy learns not to sound like Wendy's mom and ends up sleeping in the virtual doghouse.
Old joke: "A Jewish boy comes home from school and tells his mother he's been given a part in the school play. 'Wonderful. What part is it?' The boy says, 'I play the part of the Jewish husband.' The mother scowls and says, 'Go back and tell the teacher you want a speaking part.'"
Apple: iPod 101.
Inexplicably, the category glue script for WordPress just started working. Notes in the comments on this post. Now we can move forward on connecting categories in the OPML Editor and the equivalent feature in WP.
News.com: "After two scandals in one week, Wikipedia's founder decides to make a change to the anyone-can-contribute encyclopedia."
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Steve Gillmor: GestureBank.
Washington Post report that BellSouth, angered by the city plan to cover downtown New Orleans with free wifi, has withdrawn its offer to help the police dept get back on its feet. At a time when the city needs so much help, it seems the phone company could have sponsored the free wifi too, instead of trying to undermine it.
iPod video dating. That's going to be hot for sure.
Rex Hammock on the authority of Wikipedia.
WordPress XML-RPC support. Life-saver, wish I had found this sooner.
Don't let arrogance get you like it got me.
I was so arrogant that I thought I was too good to get conned.
Marc Canter warned me, but I thought I was better than him. I didn't think it could happen to me, but I was wrong. Way way wrong. To Marc, I apologize, publicly, for that. I was wrong, and I'm sorry.
Now if you get screwed like I did, and like Marc did, you have no one to blame but yourself.
Get it in writing, and have a lawyer review it. Ask Jason Calacanis, who wisely says if a deal is worth doing, it's worth having a lawyer write it up. If it's not worth that, then don't bother.
Nine times out of ten you can trust the people you're working with. Maybe even ninety-nine times out of a hundred. But that one time makes it worth slowing down every time.
Make sure you understand how you're being paid and what you're getting, and get it in writing, and have a lawyer do it. It's good advice. If you don't do it, you can't say I didn't warn you.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
NY Times: "Jessica Baumgart, a news researcher at Harvard University, wrote that there were librarians voluntarily working behind the scenes to check information on Wikipedia. 'But, honestly,' she added, 'in some ways, we're just as fallible as everyone else in some areas because our own knowledge is limited and we can't possibly fact-check everything.'"
Amyloo thinks out loud about URL-based identity.
Sylvia Paull: "Driving home, I felt as if I'd just been at the United Nations, not a software company."
MSNBC: When murder hits the blogosphere.
New Flickr set: In August 2004, I visited Seattle and took a ferry to and from Bainbridge Island.
New Flickr set: On 4/26/03 I walked over to WGBH in Boston to watch a live airing of a Chris Lydon radio show. We went out for drinks afterward with the crew & Chris.
BusinessWeek on the MySpace generation.
News.com: "Curry is accused of anonymously editing out information in the article that discusses some others' roles in the creation of the technology while at the same time pumping up his own role."
Rogers changes the subject to the National Review and nude teens. There are some great lines is this piece, esp about Rush Limbaugh. I wanted to add my horror at the thought that women peak at 20. Nothing could be further from the truth, imho -- they don't get interesting until quite a bit later. To verify this, ask a Republican friend about Katherine Harris, and see if you don't get a rise.
Friday, December 02, 2005
Ben Barren: "That Dave Winer doesn't have any equity that I'm aware of, in Boku, or Podshow, for his contribution is pretty insane." Right-o.
Here's a piece I wrote when it became clear that not only was Adam going to (try to) take all the credit, but he was going to take all the money too. Fact is, it's almost a year later, and he's never settled the account. I put a lot of creativity, time and money into building his business, and his (and Kleiner's) position seems to be Thanks for nothing. I really appreciate that Ben pointed this out, he was the first to notice (other than me, of course).
And the utterly inexplicable thing is, that Kleiner has a deserved reputation for being generous with entrepreneurs. That's one of their keys to success. I had a long phone talk with Randy Komisar, a Kleiner partner, before they put the money into Podshow. I was very clear that the work that Adam and I did was a partnership, and our deal was a 50-50 split. They never bought me out of that deal and I never heard from any of their lawyers asking what I wanted for it. At some point it was going to come out, and I guess this is that point. It doesn't make any sense to me that Kleiner would have invested without this being cleaned up, but there you have it, it happened. Now what?
In June I wrote People With Erasers about Wikipedia. Now after reading about the Seigenthaler affair, and revelations about Adam Curry's rewriting of the podcasting history -- the bigger problem is that Wikipedia is so often considered authoritative. That must stop now, surely. Every fact in there must be considered partisan, written by someone with a confict of interest. Further, we need to determine what authority means in the age of Internet scholarship. And we need to take a step back and ask if we really want the participants in history to write and rewrite the history. Isn't there a place in this century for historians, non-participants who observe and report on the events?
Adam Green did a podcast of the story of podcasting by splicing together podcasts from Adam Curry, Dave Slusher and myself. Very interesting way to tell a story.
Russell Beattie: "RSS just became the world wide defacto instant communication system overnight."
Ernie the Attorney talks about visiting his friend in the Mississippi Gulf Coast who says he can't imagine the devastation. He says "I have learned how inadequate my imagination is." I want to visit New Orleans with my camera and see what's going on. But I've hesitated to discuss that here, because I'm not sure if it's insensitive or if an outsider's presence would be welcome. I can't imagine what New Orleans must be like now, but I do remember what it was like before.
http://www.misternicehands.com/ (Did you click?)
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Lance Knobel asks where are the correcting mechanisms? If you add together all the links on this site today it tells a pretty dismal story. We need some real skilled historians around here to kick some butt. From NY Times columnists to anonymous Wikipedians to the editors of the Financial Times, the quality of our information is pretty darned low.
I've never been able to figure out how WEP security keys actually work. Now I have to figure it out, no choice.
2WW: What comes after the Philadelphia Daily News.
Andrew Wooldrdridge sends a pointer to a feature in Firefox 1.5 that lets you do vector graphics in the browser? That's retro, and old school, and given the way things have turned out, progress.
Kevin Marks: "I don't want to get into an edit war."
Rogers Cadenhead digs a little deeper. I'm not commenting on this one, it's too hot for me.
According to the AP, the Dead changed their position on web downloads. "Internet Archive, a site that catalogues content on Web sites, reposted recordings of Grateful Dead concerts for download after the surviving members of the band decided to make them available again."
Hey someone added this New Mexico picture as one of their favorites on Flickr. Time to upload some more pics.
The standard history of podcasting says that I added the enclosure element to RSS but we waited years for an application to support it. Not true. At the same time as the enclosure element came online, Radio's aggregator got the ability to download enclosures according to the Payloads for RSS use-case doc, and the blogging tool in Radio could attach enclosures to blog posts. They also say Adam Curry did the first podcasts, but that also is not true. I guess I'll need to keep saying this every few months as new articles come out and people reprint the mistakes others have made or invent their own mistakes.
Don Park is back. It's been a long time since he's posted one of these clear-thinking cut-to-the-point pieces, and he's right. What if instead of a "party inside MacGyver's shoebox" we were actually doing something new? Or even a rehash of lost art, like LineTo-MoveTo? Firefox is fine, AJAX is fine, but is that all? Come on, there's so much more to do!
Five years ago: "It's December 1. Where did the year go??"
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.