Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Essay: State of the Union. "Basically the state of the union is so bad that I'd rather crawl into my TV set and live in a fictional presidency."
I just recorded a segment for Chris Lydon's show with my state of the union speech, above, and also recorded it as an MP3, so here it is the 2nd Morning Coffee Notes of 2006.
Announcement: Microsoft ships RSS platform.
Chris Allen explains what it means to be an angel investor.
TechCrunch: "The online storage market is evolving fast."
Have you seen NetDisaster?
Joanna Hicks: "I don't think RSS should be used to advertise products."
Gizmodo on cellphone jammers. "This is a little Japanese gadget that will make living life day-to-day so much nicer."
Coolz0r has a list of interesting RSS and OPML tools.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Essay: What is friendship?
I had brunch yesterday in Berkeley with Lisa Williams. She gave me a really cool gift, an embeddable mechanical music box. They sell for $2 in a bin at a hobby shop in Boston (or somewhere nearby). Here's a demo of my box playing Row Row Row Your Boat. Isn't it cool? She says the little thing is rugged. Her two-year-old throws his around everywhere.
Kottke: Blogs versus the NY Times in Google.
Anne 2.0: Why Venture Capitalists are Doomed.
We've got a date: Berkeley Bloggers Dinner #2.
Doc Searls shares a story of friendship. It's great to have this be a topic of discussion in the tech blogosphere. Long overdue. I wasn't sure we could do it without an overwhelming number of flames, but there have been none.
Postscript: "In a court of law you're entitled to cross-examine your accusers. Same in the court of friendship."
Frank Paynter did something friendly by relating friendship and XML formats and protocols. Now, my article about friendship is on Memeorandum, an unexpected surprise. Part of this thread is about language, as Frank explains, he uses the term friend in a different way than I do. Now that I've written this piece, which is based on a lifetime of learning, I can probably loosen up a little. Even though others may not know what I mean by "friend," at least now I do. A tricky subject, to say the least.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Essay: "Here's the rough outline of my plan to reshape the VC industry around the philosophy of the web."
Matthew Ingram: "I'm not sure anyone should listen to how he wants to 'reform' the venture capital business." I've heard this before. Once David Weinberger and Howard Rheingold told me that people wouldn't listen to my ideas on anything other than technical issues. I tried to explain that those kinds of barriers are exactly why I started blogging, because good ideas can come from users, and from people who receive investments, not just from people who make them. It's that kind of thinking that the Internet is so good at routing around. Of course the intermediaries don't think I have the qualifications to talk about VC or friendship, but the fact is I am a technology investor, and I've done fairly well at it. I'd love to know how much money Matthew Ingram has bet and what his track record is on tech investments. I've won some, lost some, but so far I'm solidly in the black. Over the years I've gotten a return that any VC would be delighted with. So, even if you only want to hear from people with experience (which imho is a big mistake) you'd still have to pay attention to my thinking (or find another excuse, I suppose).
Rex Hammock: "If VCs and conference organizers attack the ideas instead of explaining the benefits of their current models, then you know they think the ideas are great."
A postscript explains the I insist on this part. "It came from a chance meeting on the street with John Doerr shortly after the dotcom bust."
Lowell Sun: "The Meehan alterations on Wikipedia.com represent just two of more than 1,000 changes made by congressional staffers at the U.S. House of Representatives in the past six month."
Jeff Jarvis on reforming the conference business.
NY Times on RSS as an advertising medium for travel.
Web 2.0 as viewed by big media.
Here's an interesting picture taken at OSAF with fellow Berkeleyite Scott Rosenberg eating a bit of food, lurking in the background. Scott has just finished a book about Mitch Kapor's latest project. I think that's (a skinny) Stewart Alsop standing next to Stewart Brand of the LongNow Foundation.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Essay: "There are approx 80,000 people who will think this post is about them. It's not. That's the point."
Finally people seem to be getting the message that Google has become The Man. This image by Jeff Nolan really nails it. Very very good. (BTW, I don't think they could have avoided it. They were right to go into China on terms that the Chinese government set. But if we're looking for heroism, and we should be, we must look elsewhere.)
Memeorandum just discovered the game-changers piece, written two days ago. It's old news, new to MOR. Update: Now it thinks Fred Wilson's piece is the top level one, even though it's essentially a link to my original piece, and then later, my piece is gone altogether, it's as if the idea came from Fred. Oy. I bet that was caused by my pointing to his piece. I think MOR has me typecast as a maker-of-links not one to-be-linked-to. If so, it's time for a reboot, Gabe. I write lots of original stuff. Almost every day something new.
They just opened up enrollment for Gnomedex in June. I already bought my seat, I'll be there for sure.
Donovan Watts: "A thoughtStream would be an open outline that never goes away."
The 0xDECAFBAD guy on the addictiveness of the OPML Editor. "It's like potato chips: Jump to an outline here, tweak some code there, mangle an outline node up there, reload a browser page, watch things go -- lots of moments of instant gratification all building incrementally atop one another."
PS: This is a really excellent way to clear the air.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Lance Knobel: Economics reading list.
Scott Beale's photolog of last night's dinner.
JY's new blog is a bit on the minimal side.
Gizmodo reports that the networks are making bags of money off iTunes video downloads, which suggests that they might program for the medium. I wonder if then someone might pick up the West Wing, what if the users just paid for it? I totally want to watch the Santos Administration take over the White House. I wonder how much an episode costs to produce? Would the actors be willing?
A receipt for $3,030,000.00 from Comcast for last month's cable and Internet service. At least it indicates that I paid that amount (as opposed to asking me to pay that amount). I called, they say it's a glitch in their system. I asked for a refund. The operator laughed. I said it was not funny. This crazy system we're building is going to melt down one day.
Matt Terenzio: Remote OPML Enabler WordPress plugin.
New header graphic. A tram in front of the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in Dam Square, Amsterdam, taken in February 2000. I like the way the tram is a blur, but the people are in focus. I also like the color. I moved the original picture over to Flickr to see the metadata.
Last night's dinner was fun, but we still haven't hit the right formula for these things. Not enough circulation, not enough opportunities to talk with a variety of people. The best dinners have been small enough so that the room isn't so loud so you can hear everyone, including people on the other side of the room (Alexandria, Feb 2005) or in a food court so everything is informal. I think the next one in Berkeley will be at the Shattuck Hotel, which has an excellent Afghani restaurant that seems to always be empty. It's an old kind of drafty hotel, I wouldn't stay there (I have, one night, it wasn't an experience I'd want to repeat) but it's got the right configuration for one of these dinners, and it's very close to BART for people coming in from SF. People coming from the South Bay just can't get here for a 7PM dinner, maybe by connecting with BART they can. Crossing the bay by car at rush hour is just too slow. The people who came from the other side didn't get there until 8PM.
Last year on this day: "If you live long enough the dorky things that Mom used to say start meaning more."
Six years ago: "Welcome to Davos!"
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Essay: Yahoo game-changers for 2006.
Reforming the VC industry is in the air? First I read this piece by Rick Segal, who I know from many years ago when he was at Microsoft and is now a VC. Apparently he and Doc Searls have become friends. I gave up on VC a few years ago, after repeated tries, I realized we just don't speak the same language. Maybe it's worth another visit. If there's going to be game-changing in technology investment, I'd like to be part of the discussion.
Anne 2.0 writes great stuff, and today gets to some core questions about reading lists and OPML. A reading list is more than a compendium, I think it's got to be curated the way an art director chooses paintings for an art exhibit (as if I knew how they do that). As a reader, I want the effect to be subtle. All of a sudden I'm getting much better info about gadgets, even pointing to stuff from those sources. But I'd never have thought to subscribe to the feeds. Luckily I know an expert in gadgets and he did a reading list for people like me, people who dabble, who enjoy gadgetry, but haven't committed much time to the subject. So while it's great that you have an OPML of women in technology (it would make a fantastic directory) it probably isn't a great reading list. But what do I know. This is all so new. Keep on writing and I'll keep reading (and commenting).
Dan MacTough asks a few questions. First, I develop in this environment because I designed this environment as the place where I wanted to all my development. That's way I thought of it in the 80s and 90s, when the kernel was in active development -- do it right so you don't have to do it again. It's got most of what I want. I wish there were a Linux version. I wish the back-end was continually being analyzed for performance improvements and bug fixes. I wish there were work going on to remove display glitches in the outliner. I wish there were a version in development that ran on the new Intel Macs in native mode. So it's not perfect, but there's nothing else like it, and at this point, it's the only current development environment I know how to develop in, and at my age, I'm not wanting to learn another. I put at least 20 years into this one, it works the way I want it to. That said, everything we're doing is with open protocols, and the code is all open source (GPL) so what I'm really doing is bootstrapping another defacto standard, like RSS or XML-RPC, and the apps that build on them (podcasting, MetaWeblog API). It could be that most people will eventually use software different from what I use. Programmers like to re-invent. But at least our work will be compatible, if we can avoid some of the mistakes we've made in the past. Hope this helps, Dan. I appreciate the spirit of your questions.
Dan, we have to pick a better medium for this discussion. There really isn't anything for a two-person-only public discussion. If we did it in a blog post with comments there would be all kinds of extra noise from people in the (put on your Mick Jagger accent now) critics section. First updating FeedDemon is Nick Bradbury's job not mine. I needed a platform for improvements to aggregators, the only way I can get people to go where I want to go is by doing it first and making it popular. Reading lists are the big shift. And, yes we do need some major improvements in the blogging platform most people use. It's been totally stagnant for almost four years. It's all so stuck. Now if Matt Mullenweg would do everything I asked (as if he didn't already have a full plate) there would be no need for me to do any work here. But that's not the way it works. And about improvements below the system.compiler table, that's exactly where I don't want to go. I worked under there for many many years, but the C development environment I worked in is dead now (THINK C) and the replacements (imho) suck. So what remains to be done there must be done by younger people. I'm fully capable of fixing stuff above that level, and I've been doing so quietly for months. Every time I tell you to update opml.root you're getting one or more of those fixes. Keep digging Dan, I like your style, and let's continue this discussion when we get some better tools for two-person public discourse.
BTW, the last time I ran that pic of Esther Dyson (adjacent to the post above) she sent an email asking (very nicely) what it meant. I said it's just a decoration, I liked the picture, and I like to put interesting pictures in long posts to stir the imagination, as a kind of art. A few days ago a picture of briefcase or file folder with that picture on it either appeared in a dream or in my FlickrRivr stream (I honestly don't remember) and ever since I've been looking for a way to get it into my Scripting News stream. So anticipating Esther's curiousity, that's why it's there today. Hope you're having a great time representing the Tech Nation at Davos!
An all-in-one car MP3 player gadget?
Apple has a syndication mail list.
Wes Felter is an outliner-style blogger who doesn't use an outliner.
Thanks to Betsy Devine for spotting this one. Business 2.0 chose the dumbest ideas of 2005, and the smartest (look at the bottom of the page). RSS is one of the smart ones. They also picked Skype and Jeremy Allaire.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
A start on connecting the OPML Editor to WordPress for doing more than edit blog posts. I want to edit everything on my desktop.
Rebecca MacKinnon on Google in China.
Reminder: Berkeley Blogger Dinner tomorrow night.
Screen shot: A new feature in NewsRiver 0.42, you can allow remote access to the desktop website from the Internet, or require a username and password, or disallow POSTs. You can try it out on my test server, the username is "snarky" and so is the password.
Jorg Kantel edits with an outliner too.
Essay: Dan Gillmor's story.
Interesting photos on Flickr with the "Davos" tag.
Village Voice: "Wikipedia works on the premise that articles will steadily improve over time, in a sort of Darwinian process of natural selection. But users, who now have the power to change history -- at least until someone catches them -- aren't always aiming for the larger good."
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
I sent an email to Matt Mullenweg the other day and then I realized I sent it to the wrong place. It should be posted publicly so anyone who knows how to work on WordPress and can write production-level code, high enough quality so it could be included in the main distribution, could see it.
Do you care if the Washington Post has comments?
Joel Spolsky shut down his forum after a community member posted a series of suicide notes there, which turned out to be real.
At lunch yesterday Steve Gillmor tells a joke. A guy in NYC asks for directions. How do I get to 42nd Street or should I just go fuck myself?
Sean Lyndersay heard what I was saying about the origins of RSS. The techies have tried to muddy it up, pointing out all the competing ideas that came from all kinds of different directions, but the fact remains that the RSS we use today, the one that rose to the top, was the one that the publishing industry got behind. It's cool that Sean came out in public on this because he is from the most tech of tech companies, Microsoft. "The best thing that we in the tech industry can do is recognize and take to heart exactly why RSS is successful and do everything in our power to make sure that we don't mess with that." Now, I'd love to hear what Apple has to say in response.
David Galbraith: Outline style blogging. "Non outline style blogging leads to the type of writing where you feel compelled to make every post a mini essay. This is bad for both writers and readers -- since most people don't want to read essays about everything and most bloggers don't really want to write essays about everything." Bing!
Essay: "Dissing your competitor on a personal level makes you look like a loser."
A command-line podcatcher written in Ruby. You give it a subscription list in OPML and it downloads the enclosures in the RSS files it points to.
Tom Foremski: "Yes, the publishing industry is indeed, the new technology industry."
An important point not to miss: weblogs are publications. Bloggers are therefore publishers. Any innovation that comes from blogs comes from publishing. The reason the distinction is important is that publishers have a fundamentally different view of the world than tech companies. I'm still working on trying to characterize it. One thing is for sure, the tech industry takes a dim view of this kind of thinking. Why? They look at publishing as "user generated content" and authors as "the long tail" (with them as the head of course). They see themselves as the makers of the money, and us as the laborers of love. That for sure is a flawed way of viewing the world, defintely a loop the tech industry is in, one that the publishing industry should not continue to support.
I've finally got the podcatcher I've always wanted. Every night while I'm sleeping it downloads all the enclosures from the previous days' feeds and presents them to me in a list that I can scroll through. Every line with an uparrow is an audio program I can listen to immediately, even if my laptop is disconnected from the Internet (for a ride on BART for example, or a commute by car) because it's already on my hard drive. No flashy graphics, and I don't miss them. I know, some people think podcasting is about the eye candy, but I'd much rather have an executive summary I can skim, and then go right to the audio. To me, it's like having my own personal morning news show. Amazing difference, it's like blogging for the ears, finally.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Hoder, an Iranian blogger and Canadian citizen, is going to Israel tonight. Amazing. "As a citizen journalist, I'm going to show my 20,000 daily Iranian readers what Israel really looks like and how people live there," he writes.
I went to dinner the other night with Evan Paull and his mom Sylvia. Both Evan and I saw the movie Jarhead, and agreed it was one of the worst movies ever made. We also agreed the best part of the movie was the excerpt from Apocalypse Now they played. You know a movie is bad when the best part is actually from another movie. The acting isn't bad, and the scenery is great, but the story just doesn't hold together and the climax is so lame that you can't even believe that was the climax.
On this day five years ago I was listening to the Grateful Dead, as I was this morning, but a different song. "Golden hills, now veiled in grey. Summer leaves have blown away. Now what remains? The wind and rain." It's a song about California in January, obviously. Except today was a glorious sunny day, absolutely perfect temperature, crip, clear, a great day to be alive.
Help: How to save a Gmail message?
Phil Torrone's third reading list is one for readers of MAKE magazine. Here's the list viewed through my directory browser. If you want the OPML behind the viewer, click on the white-on-orange XML icon in the upper-right corner of the page. Phil says every magazine should have an OPML reading list for its subscribers.
Andy Rhinehart at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal sent an email last week asking how a publication such as his should do reading lists. This is how.
Think about your most information-hungry readers and imagine an intravenous feeding tube hooked up to their arm with the most potent nutritious news flowing into their intellect. What would you put in that flow? Your own front page, of course. How about the feed for the largest employer in town? One from the local campus of the University of South Carolina. For breadth, the front page of the BBC and the New York Times. You get to play head chef, and the feed is hooked into their arm. What goes in the mix?
Phil Torrone is playing the same role that Chris Lydon played in podcasting. And he's getting ready to play the role that he played in podcasting, as author of the first definitive howto. Someday I'd like to get Phil and Chris in a room with an audience and ask them how they do what they do.
I asked if this is because, like P.T. Barnum, he leads a three-ring circus? He laughed.
Barnum, along with Charlie Chan, figures prominently in the Grateful Dead song, U.S. Blues.
U.S. Blues: "Shake the hand that shook the hand of P.T. Barnum and Charlie Chan."
Sunday, January 22, 2006
I've got wordPress.root working with Typepad.
Here's the announcement. It almost certainly works with Movable Type and other weblog tools that support Daniel Berlinger's Really Simple Discoverability (RSD) protocol. Once again the power of simplicity and homegrown de facto standards make the difference. Great work everybody!
I've updated the wordPress.root docs.
A small nice-to-have feature for NewsRiver.
AP reports that NBC has officially canceled the West Wing. The last episode will air in May. They will tell us who won the election. Seems a shame, kind of like building a really great SimCity but then not being able to see how it turns out. Maybe they could make a special version of The Sims with the new White House staff as the players. Actually that would probably be more fun than the TV series. And then we still have Lost, or are they cancelling that too?
Scott Rosenberg on discourse in the software world.
Scott will be at the Berkeley Blogger dinner on Thursday.
Three years ago today: "If Bush had to pay $400 per month for one drug, out of his own pocket, I can't imagine he'd have too much bandwidth left for Saddam Hussein."
Captain Trips: "I'm Uncle Sam, that's who I am. Been hiding out, in a rock and roll band!"
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Essay: Amyloo and Frontier's website framework.
Kevin, if we had left RSS to the technology industry, it would be like Apple's version of RSS, except there would be 12 dozen of them, and none of them would interop. Instead, the consensus developed around the RSS that the New York Times used, and last time I checked they were in publishing, not technology. But there's an interesting question buried one level deeper, is the publishing industry the new technology industry? Are they doing better technology than the old technology industry? In the case of RSS, there's absolutely no doubt -- they are. Yahoo and Microsoft are following them, and that's the smartest thing any tech company can do. Google thinks they're the tail wagging the dog, but they may figure out that fighting the consensus isn't in their interest. Kevin himself once was a consensus-fighter, but wisely now has seen that his interest is in making users happy, not in undermining their will. I'd argue that Kevin, in doing so, has taken leave of the tech industry, and is joining up with the publishing industry, or the new tech industry, or who the hell cares what you call it. It just ain't Silicon Valley, that was my point. And let's not worry too much about Apple, they're a self-correcting problem, when viewed through the years.
According to BusinessWeek, AOL is "building a platform off its massively popular AOL Instant Messenger service to better enable its users to share and create content."
Want to know how lost in space Ning really is? Until I saw this post from Diego Doval, I had forgotten about it totaly, even though I had seen Mike Arrington's post about it yesterday. When Mike wrote about it, it totally didn't register. Diego has more mindspace with me. It wasn't a brilliant idea, it was an off-site compromise among people thinking more about their IPO than any clear concept of a product or service that would do anything anyone wanted.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Jim Armstrong notes that Apple is advertising for an RSS engineer.
According to the NY Times, a deal is in the works where Disney would acquire Pixar for $6.8 billion.
Essay: RSS came from the publishing industry.
Megnut explains, unwittingly, why walking on a crowded street in Berkeley is so frustrating for a New Yorker. People literally walk into you. It happens over and over. They just don't look. How do you avoid collisions? I haven't figured it out!
Lance Knobel: "I saw the other day that Dave Winer laid claim to being the first Davos blogger. I'm pretty certain I have prior art." Oooops, sorry about that. Correct statement would have been "among the first.."
Steven Cohen of Library Stuff explains the PubSub reading lists. "Remember when you saw the Yahoo directory for the first time and was amazed by the number of different sub-directories there were? Reading Lists can be the same thing, but automatically updated in your aggregator."
I went to a geek dinner in SF tonight, spent a bunch of time talking with Om Malik, Kevin Burton and Matt Mullenweg. Matt told me that WordPress.Com has a blog stats page for every weblog, I had never seen it, but when I got home I checked it out, and it's pretty cool. FYI, the post that got so many hits on Jan 12 appears to be the mystique of desktop web servers, and rightly so.
I talked with Matt and Scott Beale about how happy I am that Flickr is still free, and I was very pleased with how generous Yahoo was to let us use it without ads. They looked at me strangely and asked if I had a Pro account, and I said I did, it was a gift from Stewart. Then they told me that's why I didn't see any ads. Ahhhh. I guess when I point to something on Flickr y'all see ads? Uh huh. Oh. Kay. Now I'm slightly less pleased than before. (Postscript: The ads don't appear on my Flickr pages when other people view them.)
A screen shot shows what ads on Flickr look like, for those, like me, who have never seen them.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Niall and I are going over to SixApart to get wordPress.root working with Movable Type.
I'm sitting in the Metreon food court with Niall Kennedy working on Technorati's new OPML reading lists. Just by coincidence, Steven Cohen from PubSub sent me a pointer to their directory of reading lists. Oh man.
NewsRiver 0.40 has a podcasting client built-in.
If you like kittens you'll probably
Daily Kos: How conservatives argue.
This is my sixth month primarily using the Mac. I still use Windows, but when I travel, the Mac is what goes with me. That goes for trips down the street to the coffee shop, or trips on BART to San Francisco, or United Airlines to Boston.
After seven years of being primarily a Windows user, I've settled into using the Mac as if it were a Windows machine. Which is odd, because for seven years I used Windows as if it were a Mac.
I refuse to use anything that locks me into Apple, much as I wouldn't use anything that locked me into Microsoft. No, I'm not perfect, there was some pain in switching to the Mac, but actually it went remarkably smoothly. If Apple should ever totally poison the air on the Mac, I am confident I could jump ship quickly. Or if Microsoft ever did something really good or compelling.
That's the resolution of Apple's scandalous misuse of RSS in their photocasting application. I don't buy that it was innocent. I have learned in over 50 years of living that when someone does something evil, it's pretty likely they know what they're doing. I've often given people the benefit of the doubt on this, and sadly, it's usually the wrong thing to do. I think they know they're screwing with RSS. When Jobs says their RSS is industry standard and that anyone could write a photocasting client, and their server actually rejects any application it doesn't know (i.e. I can't even see their RSS unless they like me), well that's like George Bush saying he fights for American freedom, but wants to wiretap every American because he's anti-terrorist. I have to lower my eyeglasses down my nose and ask if you really think I'm that stupid?
In case you doubt, Steve Jobs once said of a developer you probably know, when he was CEO of a struggling NeXT, "We can't let just anyone develop for this machine." Look, he doesn't want you to see his RSS unless you use his software or software he approves of. He's the guy who wanted to rent space to software developers on his optical disk and didn't put a floppy disk on the NeXT box. You really should read up on Steve Jobs. He's not an "open" kinda guy.
Look, the tech industry is and always will be fucked up. They still somehow manage to make a semi-usable product every once in a while. My Mac is slow as a dog, even though it has two CPUs and cost $5000, but I use it anyway because it's prettier and slightly more fun than the crap Microsoft and Dell ship. But give me a reason to switch, even a small one, and I'm outta here.
I've been reading Ben Barren's blog for a couple of months now, and he's been reading and quoting mine for at least that long. I like his style a lot, and I thought I should mention that his style has influenced mine.
Re yesterday's puzzle. Reading lists can be used to solve the problem of feed synchronization in a crude but totally "worse is better" way to make sure that my aggregator at home, the one at the office, the one on my traveling laptop and my cell phone are in synch, even if they're made by different vendors. When a developer supports reading lists, they're letting you use more than one aggregator, even ones they don't make.
I'd never use an aggregator that didn't support reading lists.
I'll bet $10 that Apple never supports reading lists, or if they do, it'll just be for their own products and products that don't compete with theirs.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
You're invited: Berkeley Blogger's Dinner, Jan 26.
Screen shot: I spent the day integrating my podcasting client with the NewsRiver aggregator, and I'm listening to the result now. This screen shot is the outline that the aggregator generates. The items with the uparrows have audio linked in, 2click to listen to the podcast. They're already downloaded, so there's no click-wait. You can load up your laptop while you're in the airport; listen to the programs on the airplane. You know, the usual podcasting thing.
Ethan Zuckerman on what they call blogging at Davos.
I'm pretty sure I did the first blogging from Davos in Y2K. I also had my first digital camera on that trip, and took some interesting pictures of the protests in the snow. I did quote some of the speakers, even though it was against the WEF rules. (It wasn't such a big deal, as often was the case, not many people were paying attention then.) I wrote my first Making Money on the Internet piece immediately after Davos, in response to the most frequently asked question that year. I told them about Web 2.0.
I don't know why I didn't see this before, but reading lists solve a huge problem we've been struggling with, in an open way not controlled by any vendor. It's so obvious, people are going to say they knew it all along. I'm just going to savor the moment for a bit, before saying what it is. Although just saying it this way is probably going to clue some people in. If so, now is a good time to show off how smart you are.
Gabe Rivera thinks the answer is search. Could be, but it's not my answer, which is much less cerebral.
Today's been a day for epiphanies, small and large. A small one is that tech.memeorandum.com is not really about technology, it's about the business of technology. Actually it's narrower than that, it's the West Coast-centered technology business. I'd love to see a Memeorandum-like service that focused on technology, the ones and zeroes, and left out the fluff and the bubbles.
Essay: Why Top Ten Sources is a Good Thing.
A few ideas about the developing art of reading lists.
Library Stuff: "Usually, when you grab an OPML, you have to do so every few days if you want it to be fresh. Doing this manually is time-consuming and annoying. Subscribing to a reading list will ensure a fresh OPML file is being used by your aggregator as it updates automatically."
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
NewsRiver 0.30 supports reading lists.
Hey there's quite a bit of movement in aggregator-land. Nick Bradbury has a public beta of FeedDemon 2.0. I recall he more or less said he'd support reading lists too. I wonder if that's happened yet?
Radio France avez les podcasts. Bing!
John Palfrey on RSS and coypright.
12/12/05: "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."
Of course the diagram of HyperCamp belongs on the HyperCamp weblog.
Future Tense: "Two startup companies are working on new wireless technologies that will let neighbors tie together their DSL and cable modems to make for a much faster Internet connection."
Ross Rader: "Jason's theory sounds like crap to me."
Gizmodo: "Here's a great way to make some extra cash." !
The Hindu: Tools to mine the live web.
Jason Calacanis says that a story in today's WSJ implies that Google is getting into advertising for podcasts.
Today, two new reading lists from Phillip Torrone, editor of MAKE Magazine. I met with him at MacWorld Expo, we talked about OPML and reading lists, and as usual, Phil is an inspiration. I decided, when I got back, to finish the implementation of reading lists so we could begin the exploration right away.
Last night he sent me pointers to his two lists. I've subscribed to them on my test installation of NewsRiver, you can see them in the screen shot of the Subscriptions page, and the new items from his lists, and the two I've created, and the default non-list feeds, can bee seen in the river itself.
Phil sent me descriptions for the two lists, but we don't have a convention, yet, for including descriptions in reading lists. So I'll include them here, and list the reading lists in my list of reading lists.
1. Gadget freak Phillip Torrone of MAKE magazine's reading list of the latest gadgets, cameras, cell phones, high tech entertainment devices, music players and more.
2. How-to author Phillip Torrone of MAKE magazine's reading list of how-tos, hacks, mods and do-it-yourself project to build or just for inspiration.
Now that I have a scanner I can share the diagram I've been drawing for people to explain the HyperCamp concept.
Kevin Yank: "Apple has put up the equivalent of a 'best experienced in Internet Explorer' page to turn its own ineptitude into a marketing opportunity."
Monday, January 16, 2006
In the fall of 1999, when RSS was still brand-new, I started a site called SalonHerringWiredFool.Com. It was an aggregate of the flow of the four sites: 1. Salon, 2. Red Herring, 3. Wired News and 4. Motley Fool. Four of the early adopters, aggregated into one flow, it helped to evangelize RSS. Today, this idea would be considered controversial, although back then hardly anyone noticed.
New doc: How to edit a reading list with the OPML Editor.
I've added a top-level section to the OPML Docs directory for Reading Lists.
Hey I have a new scanner. It's pretty cooooool.
I missed the four year anniversary of Radio 8 on the 11th. When the software shipped, the home page of scripting.com was briefly replaced by a big number 8. Some people thought it was too commercial. I liked it then, and I still do.
Reading lists may solve an old but vexing problem in the RSS world. Consider this great feed from NPR. It's special coverage for the Alito hearings. Highly relevant today, but next week it will be history. Maybe it will turn out to be a pivotal moment in US history, maybe not. We don't know. They did a good thing by making a feed out of it. But here's the rub, next week and the week after, when it's history, all those aggregators will still be checking it, even though it will never again be updated. What a waste of resources. Now, in the future, you'll just subscribe to the NPR current topics reading list (caveat: it doesn't yet exist) and they'll automatically subscribe for you when the hearings are current, and then unsub when the hearings are over.
I used the Alito feed as an example in the docs.
I heard they gave Martin Luther King grief when he came out against the Vietnam War. He explained that he had equal rights, and was entitled to express an opinion about a matter of national interest. People told him to stick to civil rights. I know how he feels. People tell me to stick to technology. To which I say pfui. You think I worked so hard to create this stuff just so other people could tell me what to think about politics? NFW.
Aside from that, the Vietnam War was a civil rights issue, because it sucked resources away from the War on Poverty, much the same way Iraq is a race issue in the US because it sucks resources from the recovery of New Orleans.
I began the morning writing docs, and told iTunes to play me random music. It found an oldie but goodie that makes me sing and smile. It's Jerry Garcia singing The U.S. Blues. Red and white. Blue suede shoes. I'm Uncle Sam! How do you do?
Screen shot of the new Subscriptions page in NewsRiver, with the Reading Lists feature completed.
Here's a page listing the RSS feeds for UK newspapers. He also has an OPML version of the page, an excellent reading list. Reading lists are not a new format, any list of exported subscriptions will work (you might want to validate them to be sure). The key is what the list contains. Suppose you were going to move to the UK in a few months and wanted to get in the flow of news of your new country. Then it would make total sense to subscribe to this reading list. And if any new UK news sources show up, hopefully Dave over in the UK will add them, and if URLs should change, we hope he updates them. A reading-list-aware aggregator, such as NewsRiver, will automatically adjust to any changes in the list.
Reading lists are simple yet very very powerful. We have a phrase for such things, we call them Mind Bombs. Defined on 8/26/00: "What's a Mind Bomb? An idea that's so strange or powerful that it explodes in your mind. And that's a good thing!" We've gotten out of the habit of talking about mind bombs, but that's going to change. Enough "user generated content" -- let's blow up some minds. I'm tired of all the sanity. And you can quote me on that.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
It looks like this site, in Hebrew, is doing something with reading lists. They have a list of top tech bloggers. I've linked it into my community directory. Let's see what comes back. Yup, it's a reading list. Excellent.
SJ Merc interview with Mike Arrington.
Halley Suitt makes the Merc too with a quote making fun of men with erectile dysfunction. It wouldn't be hard to illustrate how offensive this is by flipping it around, but you can use your imagination.
This guy says bloggers are wrong about mainstream media, but then for the most part, he doesn't say which bloggers he's talking about. MSM has a place, but they can't ignore the pressure blogs create for them to be more disciplined and to work harder to report what's happening instead of reporting conventional wisdom. The profession of journalism has gotten lazy, preferring to report controversy on issues where there is only idiocy and not a meaningful debate over facts. This has led to a political meltdown in the US, with a major city in ruins and more and more of our spending happening in a faraway country of little significance to our interests. The press even admits culpability, and yet we still debate whether bloggers are right or wrong in predicting their demise. Well, I don't know who predicted it, but as I've said many times here they don't seem to need anyone's help in their aspiration for oblivion, they seem to be doing just fine on their own.
Political Gateway: "With the exception of President Tarja Halonen, all of the seven other candidates have been writing their own internet weblogs to show voters that their daily lives are just like those of the general public."
I've set up my test NewsRiver installation with the new reading list code, and subscribed it to the original bloggers and the news-oriented podcast lists.
The usual caveat applies, the test server may not be available tomorrow or the day after, but it is available today, so far.
Getting pretty close with reading list support in NewsRiver.
I have two example reading lists I'm working with..
1. One that links to the feeds of the blogs of ten "original" bloggers chosen by Top Ten Sources, and
2. Another with 18 news-oriented podcasts, chosen by yours truly.
Of course should the curators change the feeds included in a list, the reader adjusts automatically. That's the idea behind reading lists, they're live, they recalc.
I expect to have the pieces in place pretty shortly, and some interesting partnerships to announce as well.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
When you ask a question about an open source product, ask the community, not one specific person. When you ask for one person to answer the question, then other people who may know the answer, might not help (in fact they almost never will, assuming you had some reason to want to know the answer from this one specific person). I've been doing this for many years. People almost never want to hear this, so I usually just ignore the questions, even if they have easy answers, because I want a community to develop, one where people help each other. That's the only way it can grow. And I want that kind of growth even more than I want you to get over this particular hurdle.
On the other hand, if you see a newbie ask a question of someone specific, and you know the answer, and you are not the person he or she asked, go ahead and answer it. Assume the person just wants the answer, not really from anyone in particular. If they complain that your name isn't Linus or Brian or Alice, you can tell them that's true, but the answer is still the right one.
I cringe when people call the leader of a community a father. Or when they say they learned more from the leader than they did from their parents. This puts enormous weight on the relationship, and for crying out loud, it's not a compliment, most people don't like their parents! People who write software aren't gods, they aren't super-human, they only have 24 hours each day like everyone else. And they aren't your mother or father. This Internet thing tends to amplify human emotions, it gets people's expectations up, and the leader almost always disappoints. So what. Go on with your life, and try to cut the guy or gal a little slack. Don't be on the wrong side of "no good deed goes unpunished."
Continuing the BitTorrent exploration. "Are there any docs for the BitTorrent file format?"
My MacWorld Expo badge. $45.
Why "MacBook" is a weak name.
1/14/02: About those XML buttons.
BusinessWeek: Putting the screws to Google.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Microsoft has a new beta service called Expo which give you "Free ads that are easy to post."
New Flickr set: I toured MacWorld Expo this morning with the Scobles, and there was a surprise waiting for Patrick, his first Mac. He's one happy kid!
Okay the biggest secret I learned today was that CES was boring. Scoble made it sound so exciting through his blog. Second biggest secret, they got a picture of a famous blogger, a guy who's in the Technorati 100, who blogs while sitting on the toilet with his pants down. Scoble has a picture and won't share it. I can't believe what a wuss he is.
Paolo continues the discussion about the relationship between desktop and server-based software and data. He's totally correct about the difference between Radio and the (newer) OPML Editor, where your data is stored in XML files in the filesystem and then is upstreamed to the centralized server. Upstreaming in Radio is still more powerful than the OPML Editor's, but there are tons of advantages to keeping all your data in OPML files. You're protected against database crashes (but filesystems can crash too). And you can use other XML-generating tools to create content and flow it through the same backend that the OPML Editor uses. Users don't have to be aware that all this is going on, the defaults are set up so that it "just works," but having things be so open means we have more options as we go forward.
Daniel Berlinger has been experimenting with AJAX and NewsRiver.
My spam filters have been over-zealous for some time, not sure how long. I just discovered a huge amount of mail that I hadn't seen until now. I'm digging my way through it, but I'm going to have to something about this.
One of the stories I missed because of the email problem is the closing of the 2nd Ave Deli in NYC. I got a dozen pointers from people about this. I love their soup and hot dogs.
PublicRadioFan.com has "program listings for hundreds of public radio stations around the world."
Thursday, January 12, 2006
For Mike Arrington: The mystique of desktop web servers.
Paolo explains a "gotcha" of desktop web servers. He makes a good point. But there's a yin to every yang. The problem with remote "managed" servers is that sometimes you can't get to them when you need to. It's becoming less of a problem, but sometimes the connection goes down, or the server goes down. And sometimes you go somewhere where there's no wide-area Internet, like on an airplane. This is why people who travel a lot, like Scoble, like to have all the data on their laptop, available to them whenever they want it.
This may be the best blog post ever.
Crunch becomes the name of a network, with the launch of MobileCrunch. I had the same two questions about this as I did when I heard that Toni Schneider was joining Matt Mullenweg's new company. 1. When is the IPO? and 2. Can I get some founder's stock?
Scoble explains the difference between his evangelism and Guy Kawaski's. Scoble's method works better. I'm tired of hearing about your religion. I'm not that way. I think computers are tools, not causes. My use of the computer, that's a cause. Apple has never incorporated that into their philosophy. They pay lip service to it, but in the end actions speak louder than words. Doc Searls still has the patent. "The influence of developers, even influential developers like you, will be minimal. The influence of customers and users will be held in even higher contempt."
I found a simple way to explain how it feels when women say disparaging things about men. Take all the genders and flip them. When you talk about old guys on Viagra, talk about old women going through menopause. Instead of saying the man can't get it up, say the woman is on the rag. And instead of a woman speaking, assume it's a man.
mystique: "An aura of heightened value.."
Colin Faulkingham made some progress in AJAXing NewsRiver
Two years ago today: "This is not an ad for Diet Coke."
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
A post with a place to comment with links to all the bits in the release of the Aggregator API.
XML-RPC interface for the NewsRiver aggregator.
Release notes for users of the OPML Editor.
Here's a look at the "photocasting" feed format that Apple introduced yesterday. It's fairly bad.
We're getting somewhere on the industrial-strength torrent serving project. It seems Azureus can handle much of the hosting problem, but we still need to be able to go from a RSS feed with MP3 enclosures to a RSS feed with torrent enclosures. Of course generating the RSS feed is no trouble at all, but we still need an automatic way of turning the MP3s into torrents. My exploration has led me back to work Andrew Grumet did in 2004 to teach Radio how to download torrent enclosures. All this work should connect well with the NewsRiver aggregator, when we get to that step.
Thanks Ben. OPML is the inside name, the same way RSS is inside podcasting. Still thinking about the next-layer-up. In Cambridge last week I spent a lot of time talking up the World Outline Foundation. I want Harvard to help get the ball rolling on that. Then I want to pitch the NY Times and Yahoo. I was pretty open about this in my roadmap for 2006, a lot of which came true yesterday and at CES. Google is going to give us DRM, and the iPods are getting FM support. I didn't bother predicting that Apple would ship a too-expensive laptop to milk the Mac power users before providing an affordable laptop for my buddy Patrick. That was obvious on its face. And photocasting was predicted pretty well by FlickrRivr.
Jeff Jarvis: "It's scandalous that car companies have ignored the revolution in consumer-controlled media." Amen.
Now, zoom back to December 2002, over four years ago. Radio's aggregator is pretty much the only show in town, and Jake Savin got almost all the way to releasing an API. He got close, but didn't close, if you know what I mean. When I went looking for the API I found it, and then added an item to my to-do list: shortly after the initial release of NewsRiver, I wanted to finish the job that Jake started back in 2002.
Today, I have the code working and checked in, I just have to write some docs, and show you how to use the test scripts.
What does this mean? Hopefully, quite a bit. There has been a lot of interest in putting an AJAX user interface on NewsRiver. I'd like to see the work done. I'd also like to see a Flash user interface (maybe Kosso can do this). It is possible to do all this inside the OPML Editor scripting environment, but it's an unnecessary hurdle, if the aggregator has an API. Now that it does, it is possible, and relatively easy to create a new UI in any development environment. You can even put the engine on a server, and the UI on a workstation.
We use XML-RPC of course, so you can work in any environment that has XML-RPC support, and that is basically every environment. (It's almost eight years old now, btw.)
So I'm sending a heads-up to the members of the Web 2.0 workgroup, and of course posting it here. Here's a link to the API docs, and the release notes for OPML Editor users.
And thanks Jake for blazing this trail!
An open note to Guy Kawasaki.
I met with Alice over the holidays and talked with her about the obvious connection between RSS and Filmloop, and given yesterday's announcement from Apple, it seems they agree.
Guy, for old time's sake, bury the hatchet. Whatever it is that keeps you from working with me, get over it. I can help you and your company, and there's nothing in it for me but the satisfaction of helping family and an old friend who's pissed at me for some imagined slight.
This is what getting old is about, you learn that your shit stinks, and you're not right about everything and you need help from friends. I sure learned that. Let me help.
Here's an example. Look at Memeorandum this morning. Scan for the word Filmloop. No matches.
Now, yesterday they announced and shipped a Mac version of their mainstay product. Until now, you could only use their product on Windows.
Also yesterday, the platform vendor of the Mac, a company Guy used to work for, a company that Guy symbolizes, almost as much as Steve Jobs does, announced and shipped a product that sounds a lot like Guy's product.
Now you'd think the combination of those two events would generate some heat, and it might have, had Guy started his blog a few years ago, instead of a few days ago. Or, if he had worked with me to help inform the market of their shipment, with even a tiny bit of fanfare. I did offer, he responded with silence and presumably pride.
So here's one of the rules of the blogosphere, for my old friend Guy, who totally doesn't get it.
Rule #1. We're all folks here. Come as you are.
Which is a variant of the old Rule of Links.
When you look at his blog it screams at you how Guy gets it and you don't. The joke is that Guy doesn't get it. That blog could be helping him, and it will, the day he points out, the day he helps someone else, the day he glorifies someone other than Guy Kawasaki.
And that's what he needed yesterday, help from friends, when his excellent product broke through to a new platform where it would be appreciated, and where his former employer stole his thunder.
Oh and when Guy gets it, it will be a thing to behold. He's one fucking powerful dude. A Scoble who eats red meat.
Why did I paste a picture of a Young Jean-Louis Gassee next to the bit about Kawasaki and Filmloop? Why did I pick a pic where he's playing an imaginary violin as if he's orchestrating something complicated and maybe fun? Because JLG is an artiste when it comes to conveying information in a light that shines brightly on you, and in doing so makes you love him.
This is the polar opposite of Steve Jobs who stands on stage and demands that you love him because of him, you're only part of the equation to the extent that you may line up and pay in advance, and even if you do, you're only one of 25 billion souls who are happy to do the same. In the Jobs vision, 2006 is just like 1984.
Gassee was the Apple God of Blogging before there was even such a thing, he flipped it around, and made you feel like the king, in every way possible. Except for a tiny bit of gullibility on the part of Gil Amelio, we would be living in JLG's world today instead of SJ's. Maybe it wouldn't be so good, or maybe it would be much better. We'll never know.
Anyway, I put the picture there because I hope Guy reads it and I hope he still loves JLG, and it brings a smile to his face. We were both students of the great Jean-Louis, back in the salad years of the Macintosh. We both loved him. It may be a bond that ties us together.
And if Jean-Louis himself should happen to read this, I hope you're doing well in your new life as a VC.
All around me are people re-entering my life, people from the long-gone past, people who slammed the door on the way out, in anger, people I felt sure would cross paths with me again, and now are.
I have one former friend who's going through a second tough divorce and lashing out at people all around him, in a huge expression of rage. Last time he was getting divorced I was a confidant, I listened and helped the best I could. I didn't ask for anything in return, but now I am getting it anyway. No good deed goes unpunished.
Two ex-friends have started blogs, one of them talks about me on his, in condescending terms, as if he had insight into my soul that I myself don't have. I see the arrogance of his youth hasn't faded, yet, but it will, I think it always does. If it doesn't happen in life, it certainly happens when you die. At that point you are not all-powerful and not omniscient. My opinion only, deal with that sooner than later, and you can have some amount of joy in your life before meeting the grim reaper.
Steve Jobs is also a vector to the past. Compare the new Steve and the old one. Today's Old Steve and the young one from the past. People change in some ways, and in others they don't. Jobs presses a button in me, a negative one. I search my past for someone who acted like he does, and I don't know who it is. Maybe he has a trait that all my relatives had, a smug and prissy way of expressing power, like a teacher's pet. I haven't figured it out. But yesterday, before the keynote, I was happy about my Macs, and after the keynote, I felt cheap and used and taken for granted.
I'd like us all to find some balance. For my friends, those who evoke fond memories and those who represent pain, and everything inbetween, I wish the best and make a request. Leave me out of your nightmares. I am not responsible for your pain. I am not your father or mother, or your brother or sister, someone who hurt you. I am not "just like" them either. I grew up in my own hell, and unless you're a close relative of mine, you have no idea what makes me tick. Not that you would want to know.
Someday, Murphy-willing, I will write a memoir. You may be in it. It's going to be a best seller, I promise you. Please, be nice to me.
One thing I'm doing in a deliberate way is passing good energy down the generations, to younger people, whenever I can. You can buy love, it turns out. I do it whenever I can.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Patrick Scoble on the new Macbook laptop. "I was crushed when I saw the price."
Mike Arrington reports that SearchFox is shutting down.
Four years ago, the only time we did awards on Scripting News (the flamers got their way), Google was chosen the Best Weblog Utility/Distraction. "Weblogs, which flip their home pages every day, provide a constant source of new stories and perspectives for Google's fantastic robot and ranking engine."
MarketWatch: "Audible was one of the worst-performing Internet stocks in 2005."
Engadget is live-blogging the Jobs keynote.
10:52AM Pacific: "Looks like the keynote is over."
FlickrRivr "lets Flickr do something very much like podcasting, but with pictures."
It's time for me to run a real BitTorrent content system, not mickey-mouse stuff that's good for one or two torrents.
Essay: Twas the Night Before MacWorld.
Yesterday was a tough day.
First, something relatively light -- my cellphone provider decided in the middle of the day that I hadn't paid my bill, so my service got disconnected. I didn't know, of course, until I got an email from my lawyer saying he couldn't get through. I checked with my bank's website, the payment had cleared well in advance of the due date, so they were wrong, but it was under $100 so I just paid it again, with my credit card. It's amazing how well that part of the system works these days, within five minutes the phone was working again.
I called back the lawyer, we talked about a depressing situation that of course I can't talk about.
After getting off the phone, I put on my walking shoes and a jacket and as I was on my way out the door, the phone rang. I went back and picked up. It was Dave Jacobs. I asked how he's doing, he said not so good, he has some sad news. With Dave, who's had an incredibly tough life (he's the guy who needed and eventually got the kidney, but that's hardly all he's had to deal with), when he says it's sad news, you sit down, right away.
Someone our age died. He had chest pain, went to the doctor last week, scheduled an angiogram, a very routine procedure these days, developed complications, and died in surgery. I knew the man who died, but his passing is so recent, I don't want to say his name, because I don't want to bring the news to his many friends.
I have such mix of feelings on this, some personal, some about the man, some about Dave. I guess mostly it's the sadness that life is so short, and can be so sweet, and I don't know what to do with that, other than stop and sit and weep.
We don't control anything, the facts tell me. But I want to stop the clock, finish processing all this, before going on. No can do.
Four years ago: "Burning Bird says that Radio 8 isn't the second coming. She's right about that. It's the eighth."
Monday, January 09, 2006
Peter Burrows interviews Harvard's Clayton Christensen on Apple's Innovator's Dilemma.
There's some confusion about my suggestion for search engines, below. Suppose I have a blog about cars. That's all I write about. When I go to Google to look up upholstery, it shows me pages about car upholstery first, not living room furniture. Why? Because they know I am especially interested in cars. It would be different for an interior designer with a blog. Another example. A guitar player who looked up instrument would get pages about guitars. A chemist would get lab equipment.
Paul Thurrott on Google Pack: "This bizarre collection of applications, each with its own distinct user interface, level of quality, and method of updating, actually does more to credit Microsoft's integration strategy than it does to prove the notion that Google knows anything about creating software."
A remembrance from Paul Andrews of the great moments in his career as a tech columnist at the Seattle Times, which apparently has come to an end. He says some very nice things about me and this blog, which is appreciated. Paul has had an incredible career which is worth a summation.
At the Cheescake Factory dinner in Palo Alto on 12/30, Jacob Levy said that every link on Scripting News points to something about me. I laughed and asked Jacob if a programmer could debug a program with that kind of logic. Sometimes I point to things that don't mention me.
Jeremy Zawodny says Feedster will die in 2006, which leads to the inevitable question. WTF happened at Feedster? Why did Scott Johnson leave? In the comments on Zawodny's post, the new President, Chris Redlitz, responds. Now there's the web working as it should. Except it would have been better if the questions had not been raised by an employee of Yahoo, a much bigger company that competes with Feedster. Should they really be the ones asking about the death of a small company? How would you feel if a giant company started raising questions about your own survivability? And will Jeremy be able to resist flaming me for raising these questions?
A very simple idea for improving
Three years ago today: "I've been offered a fellowship at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, and have, of course, accepted."
Five years ago today: "A human being has integrity if he or she is what he or she appears to be. That's why integrity commands us to disclose conflicts, so that what we say, and who we appear to be, are in synch."
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Paul Boutin on a back-stage presscon with the top brass at Google and some big press guys and bloggers. Interesting that, according to Boutin's notes, Schmidt issued a non-denial denial on whether they're making a PC. Me, I don't think it's necessary that they do that, but I do think it's necessary that they protect their rear by keeping users happy with search. Microsoft doesn't overwhelm smaller competitors by bundling, that's just a tactic, a distraction. Microsoft wins by doing the 2.0 upgrade to their competitor's meat and potatoes. It happened with Digital Research, Lotus, Apple, WordPerfect, Novell and the most famous of them all, Netscape. They all forgot about their users. It's happening again with Google. Usually they don't need any help from Microsoft to end up on the scrap heap, they do it to themselves. If you want an indicator that Google is bucking the trend, look for improvements to Google search.
My list of predictions for 2005.
Jeff Jarvis reviews Guy Kawasaki's new VC blog.
Michael Kinsley on the future of news papers.
Good morning from Boston's Logan Airport, where the wifi costs $7.95 for a day and there's no Tmobile. Getting to the airport for a 6:15AM flight is an exercise in patience. Lots of other sleepy people around. It's 2:20AM in SF as I write this. The middle of the night.
Some guy asked why they have airplanes that leave this early. I said if it isn't a red eye, maybe it's the blue foot. One way to adjust is to think of it as a very late night flight instead of such an early morning flight.
It's cool that so many old friends are picking up the OPML Editor. Some experienced programmers, so the bug reports are getting very good (which makes it easier for me to fix the bugs) and people with experience using Frontier and Manila. These people can all be of much help now. I think the reason they're coming online now is because of NewsRiver.
Anyway, last night's workaround seems to have worked, so the next time I work on the code I'll be integrating the podcatcher component I've been working on.
Another project I want to do is to modernize the project you get when you create a new Tool. This will help people get started writing their own (new) apps. I can see that there's already a demand for that.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Workaround for Firefox on Windows in newsRiver.root.
I saw a comment on one of the OPML weblogs (sorry I didn't note the address) that they'd like an Ajax interface for newsRiver.root. I would too. It would be great if someone who's skilled in Ajax-style coding would attempt this. I like using Ajax apps, but I've never written one. This would be an incredible way for me to learn. It's open source, so anyone could do it.
Brent Simmons asks for advice on getting into the Jobs keynote at MacWorld on Tuesday.
BitTorrent for CES keynotes.
Amyloo thought today's "long shadow" movie needed a soundtrack.
Hey Dreamworks, it's not really fair to call it a "podcast" if it requires a specific podcatcher to listen to it. And I don't see a feed anywhere on that page. This is what happens sometimes when a big vendor comes into a market they didn't invent. (Postscript: Frank Jonen found the video feed and the audio feed.)
On a bone-chilling cold day in Boston the thought of beignets and coffee warms the soul. Tomorrow is a travel day, I'm flying from Logan at 6:15AM Eastern. Today was a movie day, Match Point, a very nice Woody Allen drama with a rich, engaging plot and fantastic acting. A-plus.
New Flickr set: "It was super-cold this morning so I bundled up and took a walk on Mass Ave through the MIT campus and across the Charles River."
Movie: Casting a long shadow.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Marc Canter: "Who wouldnt want John Perry Barlow as a father-in-law?"
After reading all the comments on Google's announcements today, Michael Gartenberg asked the question that was most on my mind. Where's the value for us? Why should we care about this, as Google goes after Apple and Microsoft. In what way do we need another Microsoft or Apple? Google started by providing something of real value to Internet users. Every time they move they become more like everything that came before. Who's going to revinvent search? Clearly not Google.
What a rumor. Steve Ballmer steps aside, former US President Bill Clinton becomes the new CEO of Microsoft.
David Berlind on last night's meek-geek-greet-and-eat.
Computerworld reports on Intel laptops that have 11-hour batteries.
2006 predictions: "Google will learn to live with DRM."
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Movie of Dan Bricklin demoing WikiCalc.
Here's where we are at the eat-meet-geek-greet in Cambridge today.
As soon as we get the current glitches out of the NewsRiver aggregator, I'm going to add a simple podcatcher that runs in the background and downloads podcasts (actually all kinds of enclosures) in the middle of the night while you're not using the computer and while the load on the net is light. You won't know the podcasts are there until they're fully downloaded, so there will be no click-wait. You can direct the podcatcher to save the podcasts to your iPod or any other brand of portable media device.
David Berlind is coming tonight, as is Dan Bricklin, with a new version of WikiCalc that's now an Ajax app. And we thought the west coast had the market cornered on low-rent hyper-eat-outs. Can't wait till Mike Arrington sees the Flickr pics.
A brief movie about ring kissing at geek-eats.
A movie of Cambridge Central Square.
ZDNet is looking for a few good bloggers.
Paul Stamatiou: "Now, I will discuss how you can share any file by creating and seeding a torrent."
Questions from the author of newsRiver.root.
I just installed Gizmo Project, which is a Skype-like VOIP tool for Mac, Windows & Linux that can record a conversation to a WAV file. It seems to work just fine. Now I can do podcasts with other people who have the software.
I had dinner last night with Lisa Williams, chronicler of OPML, original Berkman Thursdayite, and BloggerConner. Lots of good ideas exchanged about where to go with the OPML Editor and the community.
Bela, who is also a Cambridgeside member of the Land O'PML, writes: "Bloglines Notifier informed me that I had 427 items to go through, I just didn't feel up for it."
Both Lisa and Bela will be at the geek-eat tonight at the Galleria.
Adam Green says he wants to set up regular blogger meetups in the Boston area. I think it's a good idea.
How to: Ask a few friends to have dinner with you at a restaurant you like and then write about it, in advance, on your blog. "I'm having dinner with Phil and Sally on Tuesday at the Border's Cafe in Harvard Sq at 7PM. If you're in the area, please come by." Make it informal and positive.
After the dinner, write it up on your blog, with some pictures and share some of the ideas that came up at the dinner with your readers. Get them involved in the discussion even if they weren't there. Try to get this thought to pop into their head: "Geeez, I wish I had gone to that dinner!"
Then, do it again a few weeks later, and follow the same routine. And again a few weeks after that. The regular pattern is important.
And no ring-kissing!
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
John Palfrey shares his moment of epiphany about OPML. This is good, because Harvard may not be an incredible source of RSS-expressible data, it is a huge source of OPML-expressible data.
We had a great lunch with JP's students today. Two of them worked at the Crimson. In my 2006 predictions I suggested that a foundation formed by Yahoo, the New York Times and Harvard might lift OPML into orbit in the new year. The Crimson would be almost as good as the Times.
Times-Picayune: Grateful krewe plans route cleanup.
I see that the WEF is podcasting this year's Davos. I was looking for their RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures, but couldn't find it. Anyone have an idea where I might look? Hey if you guys want some help with the podcasting, my prices are reasonable. BTW, I think it's a very good idea. I hope they do it well.
I just had this fantasy that Klaus Schwab would send me an email saying "Ve could really uze zum help mit ze podcast zis year, vuld you like to come to Dah-vosh?" Then I responded, "Sure, of course, it'd be great fun." Then he'd ask what I'd like it to say on my badge. In an instant I replied: Media Hacker.
As you know I met with John Palfrey on Monday, we talked about a lot of things, among them what I do. (I'm interested in finding a job, that's why it came up.) I said at first that I'm a technologist, but John said there's more to me than that. Later of course I realized he was right. One of the new ideas I'm most passionate about is HyperCamp. I think it's much deeper than it may appear at first glance. Not much technology there, although there is some, that's why I would go by the title Media Hacker, because it seems to encompass the purpose of my interest in technology. Although I love to create software, I love the logic of computers, the main reason I do it is to create new forms of media.
Speaking of new ideas for media, yesterday Kottke said he disagrees with 90 percent of what I say here. That fascinates me. How could we possibly see things so differently? How could I be so wrong, or how could he? But then maybe there's an interesting media product here. If I say something he disagrees with, maybe there should be a parallel Kottke-world where you can read how he thinks the other way? I find myself looking at today's Scripting News with new eyes. What ten percent does Kottke agree with?
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Thursday night geek dinner, 7PM, Cambridgeside Galleria food court. We'll have to get some kind of flag to wave so people can find us. Maybe we'll launch a flare every fifteen minutes? Lots of room, different kinds of food, wifi. Let's call this a Seattle-style geek dinner, because this is the style they do there. Please RSVP on my Wordpress blog.
A new test version of newsRiver.root for the hale & hearty.
Mike Arrington says AllPeers is Firefox's killer app.
Lance Knobel: A blog for everyone in Davos.
Nice to be on Kottke's list of favorite blogs in 2005. Thanks.
I had breakfast with Betsy today.
Monday, January 02, 2006
Forecast: Snow, snow and snow!
Random thoughts on a geek dinner in Cambridge..
Very nice Flash-based OPML editor from Kosso.
Andy Baker: "Without River of News I might as well read blogs in a browser." That's almost true, and I used to think so too. The mail-reader type RSS reader has a few advantages over a web browser for reading blog and news paper feeds. 1. You can read offline. 2. If it's in an emailer you can easily forward posts to friends via email. 2. You see the last 100 items (configurable) where the blog might only show you 5 when viewed in a web browser. And it has an advantage over River of News, for blogs where you want to be sure not to miss a single post even if you're online intermittently. Some people need both forms of readers. It's like the difference between a spreadsheet and database. Both are good for numbers, but they're good for different things.
I don't share Weinberger's enthusiasm for Wikipedia. I suppose I might feel differently if the pages about me and my work weren't battlegrounds.
It's 9:30 by my clock, I haven't had dinner, and I'm hungry and not even slightly sleepy but this town is shut tight.
Now this is a great pic of Tara.
A picture for the family album. Patrick Scoble with Doug Engelbart.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Eirepreneur: Dave Winer is a Movement. Yow!
That piece is going to upset some people, but of course I liked it. Re the bit about AC, it's another one of those echo chamber things. Out of the thousands of posts here in the last year, there may have been a dozen about that issue. But every comment is repeated and amplified, and believe me, I know it. Anyway, I'm having fun -- today's project was the coolest little gadget I've done in a long time. Picture-casting! The bang per line of code was just amazing. And don't miss that that's largely because the Flickr people are following their heart so well. Some business guys might have said that their brilliant support of RSS serves no purpose. But it made my little hack possible in about 1 hour beginning to end. That's a sign of some really good work, on their part. This is what I like the most, people working together, and you know, developers and users partying together.
Yes, I know this is not the first Flickr screen saver.
Scoble: "Try to read 743 Web sites in a browser. Go ahead and try. I dare you."
Jeremy Zawodny tells the story of his first web server.
Today's a travel day, going cross-country to Cambridge.
Okay, she's getting carried away now.
Last year's news: "A pack of angry Chihuahuas attacked a police officer who was escorting a teenager home after a traffic stop, authorities said."
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.