Steven Cohen has become an incredible evangelist for OPML.
I got an email from Scott Rosenberg at Salon describing an experiment they'd like to try with Scripting News and you, the readers of Scripting News. First, I'm going to get a comp subscription, so I can read everything on their site that subscribers pay for. Then when I see an article I find interesting, in my aggregator, I can read it, without going through the painful process of getting a free pass for the day by watching an ad, which I do very rarely only for articles that have great appeal. Maybe once a month, if that often. Then if I choose to link to the article, you'll be able to read the article without going through the get-a-pass process too. It's worth a try. Salon occasionally gets an important story that should be included in the record here, but I haven't been willing to point to the articles ever since they went behind the for-pay firewall. Now I'll be able to point to Salon again.
Five years ago today: "Ole and Lena were laying in bed one night when the phone rang. Ole answered it and Lena heard him yell, 'Well, how the hell should I know, that's over 2000 miles away!' and he hung up. Lena says 'Who was that Ole?' Ole says 'The hell if I know, some weirdo wants to know if the coast is clear.'"
Flickr pic: "After a few days of intense rain, it was nice to see the sun today, however briefly. And with sun and rain, of course, came a rainbow. Sweet!"
Apple: "For $349, iPod Hi-Fi delivers crystal-clear, audiophile-quality sound in a clean, compact design."
Steve Gillmor is live-blogging the Apple announcement.
Best wishes to Joey and Wendy the deVilla family on the passing of Joey's father yesterday.
A brilliant and insightful piece about RSS from Dion Hinchcliffe. Last week I was emailing with an architect at one of the major enterprise software companies, a huge company with offices all over the world. She told me that RSS 2.0 has become the framework for all their work now, completely replacing J2EE. She wondered if that was my plan. I said it wasn't -- that was what SOAP was supposed to do. But SOAP got all screwed up by exactly the kind of tech BS that's starting to happen now with RSS. It's probably too late for the tech companies to screw it up, RSS 2.0 has too much momentum and too many people are happy with what it does, and the Roadmap provides an adequate escape valve for the pressure to innovate. But we need to keep our eyes and ears open. Given the chance, Silicon Valley and Redmond will definitely screw it up.
Eric Norlin posted on Dion's piece at almost exactly the same moment.
Here's an illustration of tech industry interference with RSS. That's Sam Ruby, the lead of the Atom working group, an employee of IBM, trying to rewrite the rules of RSS 2.0. Do you understand what he's saying? I don't. Assuming he means well, which I think is a stretch (he's got a huge conflict of interest) he surely doesn't understand the phillosophy of RSS 2.0. Does management at IBM know he's doing this, is this part of a strategy to keep their lock on the enterprise software business, which RSS clearly is a threat to? Like Sam, they have a conflict of interest too. In the tech world, I've learned that if you think the worst of people's motives you're usually right. IBM doesn't generally go for the high road. In any case, IBM should call him off, now. Atom is fine, let people use that if they want, but if you screw with RSS, we're going to shine the light on you.
Brian Oberkirch has a Mardi Gras music podcast from New Orleans. He lives in Slidell, Louisiana, a town that's both on the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain; it was almost exactly where the eye of Katrina made landfall. I met Bruce at the TechCrunch tent party earlier this month. (After I clicked, I realized it's a strange variant of podcast, each of the songs are a separate download as an MP3. I've never seen RSS used that way, it's cool, but weird. It's basically a playlist.)
Hey you want to know how to dance to this stuff? No problem, here's a tutorial. You can even dance while you're nerding out at the computer, checking out your email, surfing Meme-o-randum. Just let your body move to the music and put a stupid smile on your face! It's easy, chat.
To celebrate Fat Tuesday, I wrote a script for OPML Editor users that downloads Brian's Carnival Cast.
Today's excitement will no doubt be a new product from Apple, announced at a press event in San Francisco, which unfortunately I am not A-list enough to attend. And tonight, Scott Johnson and Betsy Devine are hosting a dinner where Scott will announce some new mysterious thing called Ookles. I admit I find the name so cute as to be irritating. But I'll go anyway, just for the schmooze and to see Betsy, who I did a podcast with last year, at a breakfast in Cambridge. The 20-year old babe-like Betsy made an appearance at the top of Scripting News earlier this month, and in the margin of this post.
A perfect four-paragraph short story in blog form. That, I think, owing to the limited attention span of web readers, may turn out to be the blog's contribution to literature. That, or the perfect four-paragraph op-ed piece.
Last time I saw fellow Berkeleyite Scott Rosenberg, at some local dinner, I remarked that while I agree with everything he writes, and I mean everything, it's also true that I disagree with everything he says when we meet face to face. I can't resolve this paradox. But it happened again. Here's a Scott Rosenberg blog post. I found myself chuckling, then laughing out loud. Yeah it's the truth, what he says -- that does not seem likely.
CBS: "President Bush's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent."
Earlier this month I was interviewed by Ed Cone at CIO Insight about RSS, podcasting, blogs and what's next.
Iced Coffee & A Bagel: "I think New Orleans is now one of the most technologically advanced cities in the U.S."
I've seen reports from OPML Editor/Mac users that they aren't seeing icons on outline headings. It's a known problem, and a workaround was found in September. The 1.0 release of the editor won't have this problem.
Terry Heaton: Public Broadcasting needs a new name.
Keith Teare: Edgeio has launched.
I just got through a Joan Crawford binge, the best you can do at Netflix, which isn't very good, compared to a Joan Crawford Month on Turner Classic Movies. Netflix has just two old-time Crawford movies, there are probably about a dozen really good ones, and I like the mediocre ones too. Basically I like anything with Joan Crawford, before 1950 or so, when she turned into a horror movie actress, and looked the part. Most people don't know that she was a real cutie in the 20s and 30s, and then hardened into a great dramatic actress in the 40s. Born in 1908, her age tracked the year of the century, minus eight.
I've also heard a lot of the hearsay of Crawford the person, that she was always in character, a promiscuous party girl, a dancer and flapper, and she was devoted to her fans. She always was gracious signing autographs, visited with her fan clubs, thought of her fans as the reason for her success. More power to her, maybe that's why I like her movies so much, even though, of course I never met her, she was past her prime before I was born.
In public when a star acts like a person, the fan can become quite abusive, I know I've seen it with my own eyes. And these days they have their own publications (blogs, duh) so their opinions are heard much more widely. I didn't realize this until very recently, on returning to the Bay Area, where my celebrity is at its maximum, that's why I've come to dislike public tech events more and more over time, and go to fewer. I'd like to be treated like a person, I really don't like being a celebrity, I am not an actor.
What's the difference? I'm willing to sell you my ideas, but I'm not out to sell you me. I keep that for myself. So when you ask me what I think, I tell you. I don't tell you what I think you want to hear. I do that because that's what I want, I want to know what people think. Not about stupid stuff, like your or my quality as a human being, that's so childish. I want to know what you think. I want the product of your intellect. I want to create together, I ache to create together. Instead what I've been able to find so far is a world that criticizes me for not being enough of a movie star. Arrrgh! I'm not a fucking movie star.
I guess what I want to say is that blogging really is different. It's a temporary abberration that there is such a thing as an A-list. That's going to go away. They (we) will get disintermediated just like everything else that the Internet touches. It was never my intention to get in anyone's way. I will get out of the way eventually, when my work is finished, and I think that's pretty soon, but that doesn't mean you will get to take my place (that seems to be what so many want). This stuff is more like telephones and cars, lots of people have one, and no one is a gatekeeper for the others. That there are stars is, I think, a vestige of the world we're leaving behind.
If you saw me in a restaurant while I'm eating dinner, and overheard part of my story, but not the whole thing, and then proceeded to address the whole restaurant, claiming I was wrong, and immoral, and not a nice fellow, and I should stop eating right now and go fix the problem (even though you didn't hear the whole story) I wouldn't say "Now wait a minute Dave, he's just like a customer and you'd better not tell him he's wrong." Instead, I'd say to my companion, this guy doesn't trust me, and I'd be being generous at that.
In my world the writer is a person who tells you what he thinks and lets everything else fall off from there. This is not television, these are not bedtime stories, they aren't about you. If you can't be bothered to actually read a three paragraph short story, and get it right, then I'm sure not going to pretend you're right. Instead, you become part of the randomness, the art, the world that's too busy to listen.
In my world, the reader is an adult who is responsible for what he or she says. I write for a person who is college educated, probably a few semesters of literature. You can't just skim my essays and get the point, if you do, and then comment, you'll probably have missed something important. That doesn't seem to stop most people who do comment, I've observed.
A new prefs system is on the way for the OPML Editor.
Tim King wants to edit a day's worth of WordPress posts in his outliner. I haven't released the code that does this, but I could clean it up and ship it. Hmmm.
Sunday night on WAMU is old-time radio. Drama, comedy and westerns. I just listened to Dragnet, then Gunsmoke, now The Life of Riley. Later tonight is President Truman's inaugural.
Lisa Williams: "Offline editors are from Mars, the OPML Editor is from Venus."
On this day in 1998, I released the source code for the Scripting News website. I bet it would work in today's OPML Editor. Should I give it a try? (No-go, the files were on a server that's long gone.)
Brooklyn Joe created a NY Yankees reading list. Oh man, you can tell I'm really behind reading lists because there are two weird things going on here. First, the Yankees? You gotta be kidding. Second, what's a guy from Brooklyn doing rooting for the Yankees. Hope he doesn't tell his neighbors in Brooklyn he's doing that. Brooklyn is on Long Island, and folks, that's National League territory. Let's get clear on that. But even if the guy is a traitor to his homeland, and without any discernable philosophy, at least he's getting behind OPML reading lists. Which in balance, gets him a link on Scripting News. For now.
Scott Karp's Publishing 2.0 is becoming a must-read blog. He's trying to figure things out. Good on him.
Hey I just linked to Amazon, I've been doing that lately, just a little, as I've relaxed a bit about patents. I've come to appreciate that this isn't a very kind world to creative people, lots of nasty people try to take anything that isn't locked up and nailed down. When patents are used to protect creativity, I guess they have a place. Not happy about that. I still don't support, in any way, the predatory way Amazon has used patents to take ideas out of the commons for themselves. It's the same way I feel about companies hijacking open formats, trying to take control of other people's creativity, without even offering to pay for it. Geez talk about greed. That's why it's cool that Dave Sifry respected my request to get out of the awkward place he found himself. There are other companies that haven't yet responded, and I'm not going to pull any punches if they don't get out the place they don't belong. No one is the Boss Man of the stuff I gave away.
Flickr photos from Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans.
Doc Searls and son nail snowboarding. It has a lot to do with falling on your ass and annoying skiers.
This comment is becoming more frequent in the OPML community, and I'm glad people are thinking about how long the free hosting is going to last, because, while I have no plans to stop hosting sites for free, it will eventually happen, and when it does, it's better if people are prepared. One thing that's cool is that all the data resides on your system, I'm just rendering it, so you won't ever lose the data because the server went down. Also, since all the software is GPL, it's possible that at some point a commercial service will offer hosting. In fact, I'm kind of trying to drive things that way, so that at some point the idea will occur to a business-person, hey I could offer these people a service and make some money. It hasn't happened yet, but I hope it will someday, hopefully soon.
In tech, when someone says something is complicated, check it out, they're probably trying to confuse you. That's why I called it Really Simple Syndication, as a clue. If it's really simple, what could be confusing?
When I meet someone who says they're thinking of quitting, but they hear it's really hard, I say nahh, that's just what the tobacco industry wants you to think. It's actually much easier than they say. You quit smoking by not smoking one day, then not smoking the second day. And so on through the first week. All you have to do is deal with the cravings, which can be really irritating, because the drug is addictive. There's an drug called Wellbutrin that can diminish the cravings. Anyway, millions of people have quit, so how hard could it really be? After the first week it's much easier. And then it gets ridiculously easy. Eventually your body tunes in to how harmful it is, and that makes it no trick to stay unaddicted.
Brad Feld posted the letter that prompted the essay above.
Eric: "Every time somebody decides to 'fix' the standard, I get one more RSS variant to crawl."
David Wilkinson has a mockup of an OPML Editor 1.0 website for review. It's a little homey, imho, I was hoping for more color, like the Firefox download site. Maybe even with rounded corners and Ajax-ish tech.
I'm thinking about a series of OPML Roadshows in April, to take the 1.0 release around the U.S. to show it off. So far I've asked about venues in Cambridge, New York and Seattle. Obviously there would have to be one in the Bay Area. Maybe this time (I'm going to get in trouble for this) London.
It was a rougher week on the net than you could see on the mail lists. I'm getting pushed around again, that's the bad news. The good news is that a bunch of people wanted to get a flamefest going with me as the guest of honor, and it didn't take root. Even so, I have reached a new level of exhaustion, and that's not a good thing. In some conversations, I've tried, to no avail, to explain that I am a real person, not an object, and I'm just asking to be treated as you would treat anyone else. But I'm also an A-lister, and a celebrity, and being treated like an object comes with the territory. But I'm also a blogger, and I'm sorry, I just doing go for the regal treatment. Anyway, maybe next week will be better. I sure hope so.
Sean Kaye: "My great concern is that companies like the ones above will 'simplify' the standard for themselves thus making it considerably more complicated for everyone else and far less effective than it is now." The companies are Six Apart, Feedburner,
Thanks to Dave Sifry at Technorati for helping RSS get out of conflict.
Press-Republican: "Dr Robert Johnson, a Democrat from Sackets Harbor, near Watertown, who is challenging incumbent Republican John McHugh in the 23rd District, said he was denied access aboard a Continental Airlines flight to Florida on Jan 17 from Syracuse after officials informed him that he was on a 'no-fly' list."
Essay: It's their world, not mine.
Rex Hammock: "It's a mistake when anyone attempts to place mass-media business metrics to defining success or failure of a weblog."
When I encourage people to start a blog here's what I suggest they do.
First, create a new weblog on one of the free services, like Blogger or MSN Spaces. It takes about five minutes, and is about as hard as creating an email address on Yahoo or Hotmail, and represents less of a commitment. Then make your first post, something like Hello There, or Testing 1-2-3. Once you've verified that it works, you can stop there.
Then someday, when you're in the shower or lying in bed in the morning and get an idea that you wish you could tell everyone, remember that you have a blog, and go to the computer, and write it up and publish it. That actually feels pretty good, even if you think no one will read it, because you got it off your chest.
Then in a few days Google will probably visit your site and index the post, and then when someone searches for that subject, your page will come up, and maybe you'll pass that idea on to someone who can use it, or meet someone who agrees, or someone who disagrees. And that's blogging, and that's all it is.
To illustrate the point, this morning I woke up thinking that I should really post my standard blogging pitch. And there, a few minutes later, it is.
At lunch on Sunday with Rick Segal, the Toronto venture capitalist, and ex-Microsoft fighter pilot, he asked if anything new was coming in blogging. I said yes, there is, something big.
And so there is. People who use the OPML Editor for blogging know what it is. And I even have the elevator pitch, and it's been tested on Rick Segal, and it works. It goes like this.
Did you ever have an idea you wanted to post on your blog that didn't seem big enough to be an essay? An idea that could be expressed in a sentence, or less, but still deserved to get out there? In writing school they teach that less is better. If you can say someting in three words instead of twenty, say it in three. It communicates better. Well, none of the existing blogging tools can do little sentence or phrase-size blog posts.
That's what we're doing, perfecting a tool for easier, quicker, blogging on a smaller scale.
Commenting is back. Your thoughts are welcome!
But please keep it friendly. Thanks.
I love the political storm President Bush is caught in over the UAE port managers, because it is totally unfair, as he says it is. Of course they're perfectly qualified to manage the ports. They're not terrorists. They employ Americans. There's no extra risk. I love it because it's exactly the kind of dirty trick Bush uses, the same kind of dumb emotional illogic, and like his opponents he's left stammering like an idiot, caught in the headlights, explaining how it's not really an issue. It's the Swift Boat logic turned back at the master. It's as if Karl Rove was working for the Dems. I love it because it's funny and it's justice.
Helen Rowland: "The follies which a man regrets most, in his life, are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity."
Six years ago today: Spicy noodles!
Attention to the OPML community. We have work to do.
Amyloo: "Head on over to the OPML Community blog, sub to both the posts feed and the comments feed." Done.
Ernie the Attorney endorses Mitch Landrieu for mayor of New Orleans. "We need someone who can build coalitions, inspire passion, promote innovation, and someone who has massive integrity. Mitch will take this job seriously, and will bring a lot of skill to the task."
Rogers, I need to get out of the RSS morass, and back to work on new stuff. Could you make your group less of a threat to harmony in RSS-land? Be a sport and listen a little, give a little. You can make a contribution without being Lord Master God of RSS. (I don't want to be that either, I just want to be a friend of RSS and be respected for having played a major role in creating it, and having a pretty good idea about what it is and isn't.)
Here's the compromise I propose. Change the name and charter of the group you've started. Decide whether you're working on a profile or a new format. You can't do what you're doing and call it RSS, that totally breaks the roadmap, and I won't stand by and let that happen. That's the committment I made to the people who implemented RSS, that I would stand with them and protect the roadmap. So as long as you're in conflict with the roadmap, we're in conflict. And I'm not going to argue with you about whether or not you're in conflict, since I'm the author of the roadmap, I reserve that judgement for myself. Someone has to have the last word, and when it comes to the RSS 2.0 roadmap, that's me, not you.
You've said you're concerned because Microsoft is making a strong move into RSS. That's a concern I share, so that's common ground. You've even found reasons to be concerned, things they've done that we need to talk about with them. So define your group on those lines, you're a study group, or a documentation project, or you're designing a tight profile of RSS that's intended to maximize interop, these are things I can support. I hope you see now that my support is worth something, that you can't just blow by me in RSS, and ignore what I say, that that just isn't going to work.
This evening Google launched a totally unremarkable page creator web app. It's a nice Ajax text editor, with templates, but why isn't it part of Blogger, or at least connected to Blogger, and where is the feed? The sites have no structure.
Where is the Mind of Google these days? Seems to be back in the mid-90s, re-discovering Geocities. Give me a ring when there's at least some rudimentary content management in there.
PS: Support the MetaWeblog API?
Betsy Devine playing the guitar in her early 20s. Babe!
Jackson West: "San Francisco coffee shops are where to get your startup off the ground."
Thanks to Eric Norlin for the kind words about the RSS 2.0 roadmap.
Scoble is hanging out with Joe Trippi, formerly of Dean For America, in Seattle. He looks tan, fit and relaxed.
The roadmap of the RSS 2.0 spec, a piece of text that I thought about for years, but actually wrote in just a few minutes, has been the key to keeping RSS a stable platform for people to build on.
There have always been people who feel that the roadmap should be broken, but it hasn't been broken, and it won't be, because now there's a huge community that has invested billions of dollars around its assumptions.
The roadmap actually encourages risk, but some people always seem to want to have their ideas accepted without taking the risk. They think they can make something better than RSS and shouldn't have to go through the same vetting process that RSS itself went through. Now, it may be possible that after three years in the market, that RSS 2.0 could be radically improved, but the roadmap says that no person or group of people has the exclusive right to improve it, and that no one can interfere with the stability of the platform. That's no different if you work for a small company or large, or don't work for a company at all.
Yet the roadmap provides two paths for people who wish to radically improve on RSS. You can extend it through namespaces, or you can take the format and make a new format as an evolution, but you must not call that RSS.
These constraints have served us well. They have kept the platform stable, so Microsoft could take two years to adopt it from top to bottom in their Windows operating system, and not have RSS change while they did their work. Small companies also need time to get their ideas, built on top of RSS, to market, to build their teams, and win customers, and compete with others, not on compatibility, but on value to customers: price, performance, service.
This is what we all have to live with, me, you, everyone involved in RSS. No one has the exclusive right to determine the path forward for RSS, you may influence but you may not decide. You have to sell your ideas, they are not mandates.
What I don't get is why should anyone care if people know that they're using RSS. Let's get real for a minute. The benefit of new technology is what matters, not that people know the details of how the technology works. I have a GPS system in my car and have a vague idea of how it works. I love the benefit, I really can't drive without GPS anymore (I've tried). Give me more technology like that and I'm happy. And if I don't have to grok its inner-workings before I get the benefit, I'm even happier. As the guy who drove adoption of RSS, I'm proud of the fact that millions of people get the benefit, that's why I did it, not for the glory of knowing they know the details.
Six Apart is "beginning the process of submitting TrackBack to the Internet community and establishing TrackBack as a standard."
Look at all the podcasts at UC-Berkeley.
Lisa Williams has a video tutorial for Reading Lists.
The Kojo Nnamdi show on WAMU is an excellent NPR call-in show. He's a great discussion leader, handles the hardballs, and the wingnuts, and even brings the most extreme liberals back to reality. Today his show, at Noon Eastern, is about Wikipedia. I bet it's going to be great. Since WAMU has a very good webcast, I wonder if posting about this show two hours before it airs, will effect the show. Scripting News readers are very informed about Wikipedia, on all sides of all issues related to the tool. So they should, theoretically, get some better calls. If you call in, let me know. (Tuesday shows are podcast.)
News.com: "The Ricky Gervais Show is moving to a paid-only format to be sold by audio book specialist Audible."
Okay this is scary. Young children, avert your eyes. I asked Scoble about this. He says he'll do anything to get the sale.
Amyloo is picking up the ball on the website and docs for the 1.0 release of the OPML Editor. It's going to be a community project. I plan to do some work on the docs, but I have my hands full as the development lead. I really appreciate that Amy is willing to help out here.
Seattle P-I: "Check out the Podcast Hotel."
New header graphic, it's actually a re-run of the New Orleans jazz funeral that appeared in September. At the time, the devastation of New Orleans was still fresh news. Today, many months later, it's still news, but the wound is getting old.
OPML Editor: NewsRiver is part of the package.
I'll be watching Mashup Camp via the web. A lot of people are going to be there, coming from all over the US. I've had a really hectic last few days, looking forward to reading and resting. Hope y'all have a great time!
Mike Arrington: "Friends should be to make your life richer, not assets to be leveraged."
Five years ago: Internet 3.0.
Dan Farber on the Naked TechCrunch party.
I'm having lunch today with Rick Segal to pick up more after-the-party gossip. I wish I could be as invisible as he was at the party. And to think of all the years I spent wishing to be less invisible. Life's not fair, I tell you.
An important update for OPML Editor users.
William Safire on blogger jargon.
In a few short weeks Guy Kawasaki has turned from a blog skeptic to a blog evangelist. He's what I call a Natural Born Blogger. He knew how to blog before he knew he knew.
A behind the scenes look at Tony Kahn doing a podcast at WGBH-Boston. They call Tony one of the "twelve pioneers of podcasting," which is certainly true. Tony was the first NPR podcaster, and NPR has turned out to be a fantastic supporter of the medium.
Pictures from last night's TechCrunch party.
Steve Gillmor has developed a new kind of spray.
Rafe Needleman: "This could work out nicely."
Seven years ago, my news editing control panel which was the beginning of browser-based weblog editing (before they were called weblogs, of course). This led to, later that year, Edit This Page, and later yet, Blogger and Manila.
Essay: Blogging is a part of life.
ZDNet: "Apple Computer appears to have invoked the DMCA to stop the dissemination of methods allowing Mac OS X to run on chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices."
Jeff Jarvis: "Blogs have already become prisoners of their format."
0xDECAFBAD: "Reviving AIM and Jabber services in the OPML Editor would sure be swell." Agree.
Friday night's party was great, huge, exhausting. Saw a huge number of old familiar faces, and met a bunch of new people. Lots of cameras, podcasters, and babes! Saw some creative clothing, and snarky snarks. Lots of sights to see. Had to leave early cause I was getting crushed in the crush. If I missed you so sorry, and Mike thanks. The tent was great too. Highlight of the evening -- 3 generations of Scobles.
Bonus photo: Proof that Scoble has absolutely no pride.
New Flickr set: A pre-party visit to TechCrunch HQ.
PC World on podcasting.
I ordered an iPod for a friend, it shipped the same day from Shanghai!
John Palfrey: "Nothing has changed from the perspective of Harvard, which is the owner and trustee of the RSS 2.0 spec."
5/18/04: "It's got a very conservative mission, to answer questions about RSS, to help people use it, to promote its use. It's basically a support function."
Anyone wishing to understand the status of the RSS 2.0 spec should just refer to the two bits linked to above.
1. The spec is owned by Harvard. 2. The RSS Advisory Board, when it existed, performed a support function. Later, in case anyone was still confused, we disclaimed: "It does not own RSS, or the spec, it has no more or less authority than any other group of people who wish to promote RSS."
So people and companies who think they were invited to be on some kind of standards body that owns the spec were sold a Brooklyn Bridge. Hope they didn't pay too much for it.
Ernie the Attorney: Dave Matthews, Jimmy Buffet, Paul Simon, Keith Urban and Bob Dylan at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, April 28-30 and May 5-7.
Firefox started misbehaving, so I thought -- let's go download a fresh install. Guess what's waiting for me: no choice but to install the Google Toolbar. Remember what they said about their hack, if you don't like it, don't install it. Well, there it is. Where's the choice now. Back then I couldn't get anyone to listen. Letting Google modify our content to add links to their sites was a very bad idea then, now maybe others get that too? Now that they're doing it for the Chinese censors. Why do you guys trust Google so much. They're a corporation; they'll do whatever they have to do to make money, do you think the integrity of your writing is even the smallest little issue for them? I don't. Now here I am and so are you. Someday you'll have to run the Google Toolbar. Today I don't have to, I can accept a misbehaving browser, or I can learn how to uninstall it after the fact (good luck, I still have some Google crap from the Desktop Search product that I can't uninstall), or switch to another browser, or back to Windows. At least Microsoft isn't fucking with my integrity (and yours) the way Google is.
Follow-up, that was an adware site which I got to through Google. Actually makes it even worse. Google behaves more and more like a spammer. And trust has value too. Microsoft tried to get us to use Passport after they had been caught killing Netscape. No one would trust them after they became an outlaw company. So when you push the limits of the trust of your users, eventually it does cost your shareholders. Something for Google's board to think about.
I've started to listen to WAMU, the NPR station in DC. I've gotten tired of WBUR, the same old people, same endless pledge drive. I also like WAMU because they have Diane Rehm. She's so good she could be a blogger.
I'm starting to get a new release of the OPML Editor together, as part of the release I asked Andre Radke to prepare a download for the kernel source. The OPML Editor is an open source app, licensed under the GPL. There is a developer's mail list and a Sourceforge project, but I wanted to get a single place to download a snapshot of the source on the last release of the OPML Editor, and this is it.
Ed Vielmetti helped me when I was first exploring the web in 1994 and 1995. When web hosting was a mystery to me, he gave me some space on his server so I could experiment with the beginnings of content management on my side. It's interesting to watch him explore the world of outline-based blogging. And it was just in this last week that the OPML equivalent of weblogs.com started reaching a critical mass, when you'd go there during the day and often see that 10 interesting blogs had updated. I told Amyloo in her chatroom hack that by the end of March there would be 100, and then 500 and so on. OPML has the feeling of something that has taken root and is growing on its own.
Yesterday I wrote "The pros have gotten lazy, they only take the stories fed to them." I got a bit of pushback, via email, from pros who think that there might be exceptions to that rule. Yeah there might be, but they're rare, and too much is made of them. It's been a long time since a political leader has been brought down by an investigative reporter, and god knows there have been plenty worth bringing down. We routinely get stories in the blogosphere that we can't get the pros to run with. Why? Yeah, sometimes they generate their own stories, but when do they generate one that bucks conventional wisdom? When do they inform us about what's really going on? When don't they just chip at the edges? When do they have the guts to explain how things really work? The answer -- it never happens. And for every rare heroic act there is also the reporter who is on the payroll of his or her source. So, yeah, I stand by the statement. The pros are lazy, they aren't doing their job. Wish it weren't so.
One year ago today: "There are business guys who think a good deal is one where they make all the money and you make none."
Reminder, you can comment on Scripting News. Please do.
Brad Feld explains why VCs don't sign NDAs.
2/9/06: "Most of the vocal people on the mail lists, blogs and wikis are more fans than creators. It's as if we confused baseball players with people who sit in the stands watching a baseball game. Sure, both wear caps and want their team to win, but one actually does something about it, while the others expresses an opinion."
A picture of sour grapes.
Greg Yardley: "This is the second time a free service has gone and sold my accumulated data to a company I wouldn't have given it to in the first place."
The social event of the season is Friday -- the Naked Conversation party at TechCrunch HQ in Atherton. Pictures and rumors and talk of who's doing who. Our own Nerd-O-Rama, and it's not just for nerds! Has Silicon Valley developed a pulse? We may find out on Friday.
Amyloo wonders what the big deal is about 3Bubbles, so she put up a chat window on her OPML blog. Look ma, no VC. Even if 3B were a new idea, they're blowing the rollout. It should roll through the blogosphere in massive numbers, not trickle out through a few privileged sites. Now everyone has tried it, the CV says it's just like every other chat app you've ever tried (even if it's not) and when they offer it to the unwashed masses (like me) we'll all be ready to yawn in response.
BTW, 3 Bubbles is also the name of a bong shop.
Scoble wrote a stimulating piece on the flattening of PR, and quotes Chris Pirillo saying the scoop is dead. Both are interesting points of view, but I think the scoop is alive and well, and corporate PR, especially at large corporates, has a continuing important role.
First, about scoops. Sometimes people get stories by digging instead of being fed them. The pros have gotten lazy, they only take the stories fed to them, and they expect to get them too. How did I find out what O'Reilly and Werbach are charging for keynotes? I didn't wait for their PR people to tell me (they probably don't want you or me to know). Truth is, readers of my site went digging and fed me the links after seeing me point to the piece by Marc Canter. That's how scoops were meant to happen, and they still do. The day of the exclusive is fading, that's true enough, but not the scoop.
Chris is right, it's hard to get credit for a scoop. That's life in the big leagues. New York Magazine wrote a history of blogging, I'm not in it. Same with the Columbia School of Journalism. Both are supposed to be highly reputable non-blogging sources, and in journalism Columbia is the number one authority. So the sloppiness isn't just in the blogosphere, it's everywhere.
Now, about corporate PR. If I want to talk with a rep for a particular product at Microsoft, I send an email to Frank Shaw at Wagged, he gets me a name, and makes the intro. This way I don't have to work on a relationship with every product manager at MS (impossible, the company is too large).
I've been trying to explain this to Yahoo, a large company that does not have a corporate PR function. As a result I can't just get in the loop of any random manager, I have to first fumble around trying to find out who it is and then hope they've heard of my blog. Meaning for the most part PR with Yahoo is strictly a one-sided thing.
Scoble doesn't see this because he has a Microsoft directory, and the people at Yahoo aren't really expecting a call from him.
Jeff Jarvis: "If the companies are going to pay to speak, maybe we should be paid to listen."
Exactly right. What's the middle-man doing for us. Send us a check that might get us to listen. Now what will people be thinking while they're sitting in the dark room listening to the keynoter drone on and on. I know what I'll be thinking about. Hmmm. $50K for 45 minutes. That's over $1,000 a minute. Approximately $18.51 per second. If there are 500 people in the audience that's $100 per person. Hmmm. If Marc falls asleep then what happens?
How about a conference panel on the cost of speaking at conferences?
It's also not well known that Microsoft charges software companies lots of money to include their software in Windows. This is another thing that got flipped around while no one was looking. Now you gotta wonder how much Tim O'Reilly is paying Bill Gates for the privilege of interviewing him on stage at the Mix 06 conference in March? Who's zooming who on that stage? It's a business model mashup. Who's richer, Bill or Tim? Who's greedier?
BTW, they asked me to come to this conference, but I resisted, and once I found out O'Reilly was the featured speaker, I was glad I said no. It's ridiculous enough to ask me to sit in a dark room and listen to Microsoft program managers explain technology I invented, but then to ask me to listen to Tim O'Reilly interview Bill Gates? Are they purposely trying to humiliate me?
If they want me to come, the price is $100,000 plus expenses. And I'll sit there with my hands folded and be a good boy and applaud in all the right places and smile when they say that RSS is nice.
Richard Totaro, a doctor from New South Wales, Australia writes of a fantastic medical application of RSS. "The National Library of Medicine has provded customised searches of PubMed (the medical literature search engine) using RSS. Write a search, click Send to RSS and they produce a RSS feed which updates whenever you update at the feed. This is an extraordinarily powerful tool for researchers and clinicians looking at the medical literaure. One example feed I wrote searches for a type of critical illness, or look at this feed which looks at the outcome of cardiac arrest patients."
Earlier this month I quoted Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel (1932) with the famous line "I want to be alone," and immediately got a bunch of mail saying the actual quote is "I want to be left alone." Well, I just watched the movie again and the emailers were wrong, the line is exactly as I had it, and she even repeats it. The Library of Congress website makes the same mistake the emailers did, but the Wikipedia page for Garbo has it right.
Now here's a wish. I'd love to buy a DVD of MGM's Hollywood Review of 1929. One of the very first talkies, it features some of my favorites. I find the movies of this period utterly fascinating. These are the stars of the silent screen, so they over-emote with their eyes and gestures, some of them talking on-screen for the first time. And these people are all so incredibly dead, long gone, some of them like Marie Dressler died in the early 30s. The funny thing (at least to me) is that while these movies look so ancient, they really aren't that much older than I am. 1929 is 26 years before I was born. 26 years ago from now is (now sit down) 1980. Most of these people were alive when I was born. Anyway, progress over the next ten years would be incredible. In 1929 the miracle was they could talk. By 1939 they were doing blockbusters like The Wizard of Oz, The Women and Gone With the Wind.
I'm giving a lunch talk at Yahoo on Friday in Santa Clara. For more information contact Chad Dickerson. (This is for Yahoo people only.) In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not being paid to speak, and I am paying my own travel expenses.
Steve Gillmor: "Where in the world is Jonathan Schwartz?"
He might be with Niall Kennedy, who just announced he's leaving Technorati. I've gotten to know Niall since moving back to the Bay Area. He's one of the good guys, part of the glue that ties things together. I wish him the best of luck in whatever he does next.
Marc Canter explains that a speaking slot at ETech costs $10,000. You also get a booth, three tickets and your company's name on the program.
Scoble is a media hacker. He's testing the various search engines by inventing a new word, brrreeeport, and seeing how long it takes for each of the engines to pick it up.
Ernie the Attorney: "We need a benevolent dictator."
A new start for the Help menu in the OPML Editor.
I'm hanging out over on 3 Bubbles. They aren't handing out new accounts to just anyone, so I'm hijacking Arrington's channel. Shhh, don't tell anyone.
Rafat Ali: The Slush, The Day After.
Edward Vielmetti: "It doesn't appear that OPML documents are properly being indexed into Spotlight."
New York Magazine looks bad too, saying Scripting News is at 126. Not no mo.
Yahoo and Motorola team up to do mobile podcasting. Very nice combo. And a route-around for Apple. Thank you!
Scoble reports on a "personal memetracker" from Megite.
Mashable: "Calling Edgeio an eBay killer is probably a bit hyperbolic."
2/13/01: How to Make Money on the Internet v2.0.
NY Times: "A total of 26.9 inches fell in Central Park, the most since record-keeping began in 1869."
LM Orchard: "The mental weight I've placed upon blogging via a web form or even via ecto (which is quite a fine program) is such that so many thoughts just evaporate before I bother formally composing them and posting them."
Snow pictures from NYC taken by my dad.
Rafat Ali, in NY, catches a NYer falling in the snow!
Matt Terenzio has a snow movie from Stamford, CT.
Jim Moore has a snow movie from the Boston area.
Jay Bryant's snow pictures from Grovers Mill, NJ.
I love the way the Meet the Press podcast is available on their website every Sunday just as the church services are coming on Boston's WBUR, which I listen to over the Internet in the mornings, almost every day (the reception is much better than the local NPR station, KQED, which doesn't have a webcast as far as I know). So when they start talking about Christ and all that, I tune into my religion, which is the politics in DC.
Gmail is horribly slow again. Just waited 30 seconds for my mailbox main page to refresh. Hard to believe they're actually trying to find more users while the performance is so bad.
Steven Cohen, a librarian, is building an outline of Web 2.0 Company weblogs, in OPML of course, using the OPML Editor. He's become a contributor on the OPML-Newbies mail list, which he has found to be a satisfactory experience.
Jeff Jarvis: "Big advertisers and agencies are chickenshit."
Truth be told, I'm chickenshit too. When the highest bid was $15K I seriously thought of entering the contest, to promote Scripting News, my role in podcasting, and the upcoming release of the NewsRiver aggregator. $15K wouldn't have met their reserve, and I wasn't comfortable telling them that I was interested in advertising (not sure why), and $40K might have been too much to pay. But I suspect Jarvis is right that the publicity would easily be worth that much. Plus I really like the idea of supporting Rocketboom. So maybe I'll buy some ads there after the first rush. I wonder who else, like me, thought about doing it but in the end was too chickenshit to give it a try?
A new method of updating for OPML Editor users.
My four answers to the famous questions, but not really cause I fudge it. Sorry.
There's a blizzard moving into the northeast. Don't want to rub it in or anything, but the weather in Berkeley is idyllic. Hey I like a good blizzard as much as the next guy. For a day or so, then I'll take idyllic.
Check out the discussion of 3Bubbles over on TechCrunch.
Reminder, once again you can comment on Scripting News. One big post for every day. It's an experiment. WordPress has some good comment moderation tools, so maybe we can keep out the paranoid and childish. Comments like "You suck" and "This is why everyone hates you" are pretty useless. Stick to discussing issues and not people and everything will be cool.
I also added a link in the right margin. If it works it should always point to the page for comments for the most recent day. By the way all this comment goodness is brought to you by the MetaWeblog API. It's a mashup of blogging tools. How about that!
BTW, while we're on the topic of APIs, here's something you might not know. When I put things like the MetaWeblog API up for review, the flamer-fans almost immediately drown out the discussion, so we're left with a spec that's not complete (but pretty good in the end). Then the very same people criticize the spec because it's not complete. Isn't that special. Since the blogosphere seems to be looking at how fucked up the blogosphere is (a good thing, btw) let's add this to the list. Be circumspect, the flamers aren't that clever, but they don't have to be, because so few people are really paying attention. This is why when people like Doc Searls automatically jump to the defense of bloggers I want to call him up and say You know Doc, it's isn't always so black and white. Sometimes the pros are right and the bloggers are wrong. Even David Weinberger is wrong sometimes. (Perish the thought.)
On the other hand, Doc has the best headlines, and sometimes his metaphors are so right it hurts. Like the one about the dogs after Hurricane Andrew in Florida. The house they lived in was destroyed, but the back door was left standing. They were found barking and whining at the back door, wanting to be let in. He uses that metaphor to describe people whining about A-list bloggers. What exactly do they want us to do? It's hard to imagine. I've been passed by so many bloggers, I'm not even in the Technorati Top-100 anymore. Yet they whine about me being a gatekeeper. I just think they like to whine.
PS: if Danny Sullivan actually was adding a link to his own site to Wikipedia, he was spamming them and the editor was right to tell him to stop.
One of the by-products of the work I've been doing is that now all the content of Scripting News, going back to April 1997, is available as static OPML. I'm probably one of about 15 people in the universe that finds this exciting; to the other 14, enjoy!
Orbitcast: Syndicated XM Schedules in RSS and OPML.
Welcome back to DFL, "the blog that covers last-place finishes at the Olympics."
I'm still deep in the mess I created when I decided it was time to modernize my own content management system. Yesterday I decided it would be okay to move on to new things, and come back to the mess tomorrow (i.e. today). Well, already I'm breaking things because I forgot how they work. The problem, I realize, is that there's a lot of history in this blog, a lot of transitions being preserved (hah) when actually every time I do one of these transitions I break lots of stuff. If you go back to the beginning, to 1997 you'll find almost every link is broken. Oh well.
Wired News podcasts.
Anyway, as I was debugging, I came across this daring piece, written in July 2003, about beauty and women. It's daring because men aren't supposed to express opinions about this, at least not in the politically correct USA. Me, I don't care what's politically correct, I hope. The piece gets pretty dorky, but that's the point. I'm not perfect, neither are you, and that's where our beauty comes from.
I was getting ready to write a followup to the bit I wrote about the slowness in Gmail, when all of a sudden, it got fast again. Wow, I can't tell you what a difference it makes. Before last weekend it was always fast, and then all this week it's been getting slower and then slower. I assume it has something to do with the integration of the IM feature (which I don't want, btw). We still haven't figured out how to do software yet. Because it's free they don't have to care what we think. They probably do care, in an abstract and aggregate way. But what if the performance never came back? Or what happens if Google stock stops going up? Who wants to be on Gmail when that happens?
Gary Secondino on yesterday's news about the Bush presidency.
It's really nice to see the EFF take a position opposite Google.
Dinner at 7. Pictures at 11. (Maybe sooner, they have wifi.)
February 23: San Francisco Tech Sessions.
Essay: "Most of the vocal people on the mail lists, blogs and wikis are more fans than creators. It's as if we confused baseball players with people who sit in the stands watching a baseball game. Sure, both wear caps and want their team to win, but one actually does something about it, while the others express an opinion. There are a lot of fans, but relatively few people who actually do anything."
Matthew Ingram says Edgeio could be CraigsList 2.0.
Jeff Jarvis: "Journalists are the worst at disclosing."
Ted Leonsis: "Blogs are the latest incarnation of why I first fell in love with the online medium nearly two decades ago."
Note to the WSJ, there are better examples of pay-for-praise in the blogosphere, and compromising conflicts of interest. Keep looking.
Congrats to Berkman Center and Jessica Baumgart on making it official. She's been a major force behind the Thursday blogger meetups since they began three years ago. It's great to see her get the recognition she so deserves and now's a good time to say how much I appreciate her support and enthusiasm over the years. Thanks!
I will be attending Esther Dyson's PC Forum conference in Palm Springs, March 12-14. This was a nice little bonus from my friends at Edgeio, where I am proud to be an advisor (I will receive some stock for this). This will be the first PC Forum I've been to in six years and only the second in fifteen. I used to be a regular, but then I got out of the habit. I'm going as a blogger and to see if there's anything I can do to help the VCs and business leaders with RSS and OPML. Maybe we should have a Scripting News meetup of some kind, perhaps on the night of the speaker's dinner. I remember it was hard to get a date that night. It'll be a good blogging experience, and good to see some old faces and some young ones too!
BTW, Edgeio is the first company in the RSS space to reward me for helping them, and for that I'm appreciative. So many people view my help in a negative way. They're happy to accept it, but then resent me (or worse). I get a good dose of the negative side of human nature, I see things I wish I never had to see. But Edgeio is a good company, I'm very happy to be associated with them, and I wish them (and myself) much success!
BusinessWeek has an Edgeio writeup.
Reminder: Berkeley Blogger's Dinner tomorrow at 7PM.
Dan MacTough continues to work on getting OPML Community Server to run on Mac OS X.
NY Times: "The largest study ever to ask whether a low-fat diet reduces the risk of getting cancer or heart disease has found that the diet has no effect."
With the Constitution under attack in the US, by our own government, how much hope is there that the western countries will express a collective outrage of the violent intimidation of Muslims to keep us from saying negative things about them.
Just writing this little bit scares me. What a crock that is. I'm not watching Fox or listening to right wing talk radio. What are they saying about the Muslims rioting about the cartoons? I don't suppose they worry too much about their contradictions. Which side do they come down on?
Can you find the cartoons on Google? I tried, and came up empty. Lots of stories.
BBC: "One of the cartoons shows the Prophet wearing a headdress shaped like a bomb, while another shows him saying that paradise is running short of virgins for suicide bombers."
BuzzMachine: "Staffers at the New York Press walked out in protest after they were forced to pull the now-infamous Danish Muslim cartoons."
Todd Sampson: "A Podcast is just Radio 2.0."
Rex Hammock: "I was just IM'd by a female reader of this weblog who informed me she was dropping what she was doing so she could run grab a Big Mac."
I've been saying this for ages. Good ads are a draw. Make more good ads. Entertaining or informative, or better, both.
Jason Calacanis now believes Nick Denton isn't selling Gawker, despite the rumors.
To Matthew Ingram, imho, whether a blog has comments or not does not effect its blogness. For one thing, when I point to a post that has comments then basically I have comments. For whatever reason, people seem to be more polite when posting in someone else's space (as opposed to my space). As you climb a tree, the higher you go, more people want to throw stuff at you, pretty soon all you get is the junk. It usually seems to happen in Year 2 if the blog is growing. Before that they say things like "It's not a blog if it doesn't have comments." Then they start appreciating why it's actually more fun and interesting (and liberating) to write without having a critics section stinking up your living room. Basically mail lists are conversations. Blogs are something different. In fact I think blogs with comments aren't really blogs. How about that!
I took a detour from my project, and did something that's just plain fun and makes my head spin. If you head on over to my Wordpress blog, you'll see something that looks fairly familiar. A linkblog, in WordPress you ask? Yes, a very very old linkblog. And it updates automatically. And what does it mean? I don't know!
TechCrunch from Demo: "Great companies. Too bad there is no Internet access here so that we can write about them."
NY Times: "Attorney General Alberto R Gonzales told a sometimes skeptical group of senators today that the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program is legal, constitutional and vital to national security in a time of terrorism."
Richard MacManus rates the "meme trackers."
Amyloo says what I've been saying. Too many feeds in a reading list makes for an overwhelming user experience. Before you publish a reading list you should try using a few to get an idea what it's like. In most situations, ten feeds is a lot of feeds for a reading list.
Paolo describes his ideal RSS reader.
Interesting word, pain-staking. I understand the pain part, but what about "staking."
Living in the East Bay, as I do, the Bay Bridge looms large in my life. It's the only road to San Francisco from where I live, and it's a traffic nightmare and is not in anyway your normal bridge. To begin with, it's actually two bridges. There's an island in the middle of the bay, the first bridge takes you from Oakland to the island, a tunnel takes you through the island and onto the second bridge which goes to San Francisco. That in itself would be fairly remarkable if it weren't for the fact that they're building a whole new bridge next to the first one, and they're completely tearing down the approach to the bridge on the San Francisco side.
My car, which is less than a year old, has a GPS system that's totally out of date wrt to the streets on the other side. Every day the roads go somewhere else, and when its done, I imagine it will be something like what driving in Boston is like now, a marvel of efficiency, tunnels from every where to every other where. But in the meantime, driving to the city is so pain-ful, as opposed to pain-staking, that you just take BART instead, which zooms you through all that without a care. It really is transparent and user friendly.
Now I have my own Bay Bridge construction project, which is part of the OPML Editor project. See, I use the OPML Editor to write Scripting News, but until now I've used an application on the back-end that I wrote when I was in Cambridge, called Channel Z. I am in the process of scrapping it, in favor of a very small back-end that ties into the OPML Editor's back-end, which will be my server environment.
So right now editing my site is very much like driving through Boston during the Big Dig, or driving across the Bay Bridge today, but someday soon I hope it will be like riding BART.
It's not pain-staking, it's pains-taking.
Makes much more sense!
Reminder: The second Berkeley Blogger's Dinner is Thursday at 7PM. We have room for lots more people this time. If you're going to be there, please post a note, let the networking begin now. You don't have to be a blogger to come, people from Berkeley and from the University are especialy welcome, as are people from the Yahoo office, which is just a couple of blocks away. We make these inclusive, the more the merrier, let's have fun and all that. Bring someone with. It's around the corner from BART, so we're an easy 20 minutes from downtown San Francisco.
Dan MacTough is looking for help with the Mac version of the OPML Editor serving on port 80.
This time Apple got it right. Their OPML is exactly what I wanted them to export. It should be compatible with every reader and aggregator and directory browser out there. As you can see from the screen shot the OPML Editor likes it. Schwinnng. Since I'm critical when they mess up one of my formats, I gotta say this time --> you guys did good. If I were down in Cupertino today I'd take you all out for a Starbucks and ask what's coming down the pike. Whoever did this should be given the keys to XML at Apple. Bravo!!
Steven Cohen at PubSub introduces a new Comics reading list.
Rex Hammock: "As long as Mick Jagger, someone we can remember from elementary school, is still skinny and bouncing around the stage in front of screaming fans, then we can't be that old." It doesn't work. Jagger looks better than I do, and I'm 11 years younger than he.
It's pretty bad when a trusted tool starts misbehaving, and it's worse when you pay $0 for it and don't have a phone number to call. You wonder if the problem is on your end, if you're the only one experiencing it. When it's email you wonder if you're missing something. How would you know?
This time it's Gmail, Google's free email system, the one I use. I wonder why I chose to do that. It just works so well. It just worked so well. For the last couple of days it's been getting slower and slower, on a weekend. I wonder what it's going to be like as the work-week gets underway.
It's been a long time since I was the one who did the app builds for the kernel that I develop all my software on. Over the weekend we did another build, the first since July, and released the result so adventurous users could test it. At first it was remarkable how much faster the new build seemed. I wasn't sure it was real. Now a couple of days into it I'm sure it is. Much faster. This build was done by Andre Radke, who used to work at UserLand -- he knows what he's doing. I love working with Andre, even for a few days. We used to joke that he was our German Engineering Department (Andre lives in Germany). Like BMW. Well, this build performs like you think it should. I can't wait to install it on my servers.
That would be god, and he sure has been dealing us some fine days here in California. Warm, clear and sunny. The clear sunshine you get only in California. Very nice. Good work, and thanks!
Good thing Pittsburgh won the SuperBowl yesterday. I don't know anyone in Pittsburgh, but I know lots of people in Seattle. If Seattle had won they would have been insufferable. We got off easy.
Essay: How RSS can bust through.
Question: How do I get my data out of Flickr?
For adventurous OPML Editor users, new kernel apps for Mac and Windows, with minor cosmetic improvements.
8 years ago: "I believe we have the most to learn from the people we want to listen to the least."
When marketers switch from email to RSS, they embrace the market model of the 21st century, that recognize that people seek out commercial information, and that's only way you will gain access to their minds, with permission.
Nick Bradbury: "I can't give customer data to Microsoft without some idea of how this data will be used."
What's next? "Mashups" of feeds, forming virtual publications. That's another way of describing reading lists, the hot new idea for RSS in 2006. Readers can delegate the act of subscribing to experts in subjects they are interested in.
Amyloo: "A slant on reading lists I've thought about are specialized lists that change their composition entirely on a periodic basis, a list in which none of the feeds you see today may be there next week."
James Little: "Imagine going to a newsstand where every piece of news is separated by author or publication, then placed in envelopes which have descriptive labels attached. No one would read anything."
NY Times: "America Online and Yahoo are about to start using a controversial system that gives preferential treatment to messages from companies that pay from 1/4 of a cent to a penny each to have them delivered. The senders must contact only people who have agreed to receive their messages, or risk being blocked entirely."
TechCrunch on new competition for Memeorandum.
Jon Udell on lock-in with Apple iTunes and RSS. They really are a piece of work. When we did our deal with the NY Times we could have easily locked everyone else out, but we didn't because we wanted the format to grow. Now Apple is cashing in our generosity. The tech industry is so desperate.
This idea originally ran on 4/12/04. Still a good idea, still waiting for one of the search engine companies to do it.
A search engine views the Web as a set of pages. Before Google, they were unrelated pages, but Google started a practice where pages were considered more relevant to a topic if other pages linked to them using the topic as a key word. The more relevant the page doing the pointing, the more relevance it transfers to the pages it points to. It was and is a brilliant and very useful idea.
A picture named pingIBook.jpgAt roughly the same time we were developing weblogs, RSS and aggregators. They change the unit of the Web from a page to a post. And because RSS is becoming quite common, it means that search engines can become more relevant to users in a different way, by precisely finding the context of a pointer, and perhaps relating other pointers that are nearby. The RSS helps introduce certainty into the concept of "nearby."
I'm not an expert in search engines, but I've yet to see Yahoo, MSN or Google return a hit for a news item in a weblog or news site, so I assume they don't understand RSS. If they did, they might be able to provide a richer service to users.
Flickr diagram: Big Life Lesson #1.
Don Dodge interviews Gabe Rivera, the author of Memeorandum.
Ron Bloom: "Radio sucks."
Here's a schnook who thinks the Windows desktop is the only place people run software. The FUD is already starting. I can feel my air supply being cut off. Just kidding.
Schnook is a Yiddish word.
Adam Green: "Microsoft long ago mastered the trick of calculating exactly the minimal feature set needed to suck the air out of a market it wants to enter."
Like me, Adam is a dinosaur who walked the earth in the days when little software animals had to scurry and run for cover when a giant invades. But it's a different world today, because we don't depend on industry trade publications to get news of our products to users. Those publications didn't prove dependable because it was in their interest to promote the products of their largest advertisers. That's why, if it were 1986, I might agree with Adam, but it's not 1986, it's 2006.
It's possible, even likely that Microsoft's RSS technology will be the most-installed, and their influence on the future of the format will be considerable, and it concerns me that at some point they may throw their weight around like Apple is (I think it's pretty likely they will, if not this year, then next year, or the year after that).
But none of that means that I can't find enough users for my aggregator, and you for yours, to be able to continue development and influence the market, because we don't have to convince the editors of PC Mag and PC Week that our products matter. When the big dinosaurs, Microsoft, Lotus and Ashton-Tate, and later Borland, wanted our market, the publications had little choice but to give it to them. Now I am a publication myself. I can communicate directly with users. That changes everything.
But even back then, if their product wasn't up to the job, their attempts to take the market often failed. I remember when the CEO of a very large software company came to me as a friend (hah) and said I should get out of his way because he was going to take my market. His product was inadequate, and it didn't work. He tried again, and again it didn't work. And again, and again. And my product was still standing. So even in the 80s, size wasn't enough to get you a market.
Microsoft took spreadsheets by being much better than Lotus on the Mac. Word emerged from the flock of word processors by being the first to make it to Windows in a usable fashion. Adam, I don't have to tell you how dBASE fell to Fox. I don't think they would have overcome any of their competitors back in the 80s, if their product had been as weak as their aggregator product is today. Same thing is true, by the way, in their competition with Netscape. Microsoft's browser probably would have won on its merits, they didn't need to use anti-competitive tactics, their product was better enough, and their development methodology strong, they would would have won anyway, imho. (And so I argued, even pleaded, at the time.)
On the other hand, the aggregator developers could sure use some competition! In the last four years there really hasn't been very much improvement, in fact I think in many ways we've lost capabilities that we once had. Maybe a little pressure from a BigCo will separate the winners from the losers in this space, and we can start thinking about a market that is, instead of a market that will be.
Mini-essay: Scott, they need a River.
RodK: "I wish that there was some way to use OPML editor to create a site that I could blast up to my hosting service via FTP." There will be something like that for sure.
Valleywag is "a tech gossip rag, focusing mainly on the people and stories of San Francisco and Silicon Valley." Excellent. It's not about Berkeley. Whew. Close call!
There's a limit of ten photos in a Flickr feed.
News.com reports that Cambridge, MA is getting free city-wide wifi.
Mike Arrington at TechCrunch has teamed up with Kevin Werbach at Supernova. Congrats to both.
Also wanted to thank Kevin for acknowledging the Verisign deal back in October, and sorry for hurting his feelings, although I'm not really sure what I did.
Elle: "Would it make sense for the blogging community to be looking for a way to circumvent attempts to censor the blogworld?"
WebMonkey: BitTorrent Client Shootout.
Essay: "We always say we're exporting our way of life to the Chinese, but to me that seems as naive as the expected peace dividend people were talking about at the end of the Cold War."
I always have to reinvent this, every time I want to set up a WebEdit server running inside the OPML Editor. So now, by posting it here, I can just search for it and I should find the instructions. If you don't understand, don't worry.
user.betty.rpcHandlers.webEdit = @webEditServer.rpcHandlers.webEdit
people.newuser ("Bull Mancuso", "passwordgoeshere", "firstname.lastname@example.org")
people.attachServiceToUser ("Bull Mancuso", "Custody")
people.attachServiceToUser ("Bull Mancuso", "WebEdit")
Essay: "I first learned that Google is a business run by business people when, a few weeks after buying Blogger in 2003, they added a Blog This button to their toolbar."
New Flickr set: A bunch of us went for lunch today at the restaurant where the next Berkeley Blogger's dinner will be held on February 9 at 7PM. It seems like a perfectly huge place for our dinner, the food is good enough, and the service friendly, and fairly third world as is the hotel. I swear downtown Berkeley is in Jamaica or Africa or maybe South America somewhere. The wait staff seemed to be from Honduras or El Salvador. The food of course is Afghani. We had a lot of laughs at lunch today and ate too much, but it was totally fun. I think we found a great place for blogging. Oh yeah, they have free wifi. What else do you need!
Movies from today's lunch. 1. Marc Canter makes his entrance. 2. Then I asked Don Hopkins, repeatedly, if he had something to say to Scripting News readers. Click on them in sequence, Don is reallllly funny. 3. And then Marc got a call from Mary Hodder.
I got an IM from a Frontier user from years ago: "I'd like to contribute to the OPML Editor community. Can we talk about the appropriate way to do this? I have a large amount of UserTalk knowledge that I want to continue to use." My response: "Just join the community and start participating. There are no formal roles. Become an expert in something and help people out. That's how it works.
Per today's podcast, here's a revised howto for the OPML Community Server plain vanilla install.
I am definitely part of the publishing industry as I wrote in January. Every day I become more sure of it, and every day my distaste for the tech industry grows. What a bunch of greedy selfish control freaks. I never thought I'd see the day when I could point to Microsoft as an oasis of service, and help and understanding for users. Yahoo is great too. The rest of em, esp the small ones struggling to find a business model or get acquired, they're so desperate, so small-minded, so greedy, so uncreative, I can't find enough adjectives to tell you how far away from them I want to be. I am a publisher, I love RSS, and I'm proud of it.
Today's podcast is about WordPress, Google and the OPML community. It's especially important for the leaders of the OPML community to listen to this podcast, because I want to explore ways for the support system to grow. I think we just had a very good experience and I want to build on it.
As part of today's podcast, I set up a new section of the OPML Docs directory for the server. What an oversight that the docs weren't linked into the directory. Whew.
Listen to the Blog of the Union show, aired yesterday on various NPR stations.
News.com: Newspapers want search engines to pay.
In yesterday's State of the Union piece, I suggested that The West Wing must not be very expensive to make, but Hal O'Brien wrote to say that in fact it is one of the most expensive shows. Every Senator's office cost $80K. Yow. Okay, I don't care about the sets. Put it on a stage in a high school auditorium. Make it a Sims scenario. It's the story, the characters, their brightness and integrity that I value. Sure it's nice that the sets look cool, but that's not what makes the show so great.
A follow-on thought to the Friendship piece, there's another type of false "friend" -- one who sees the relationship as some sort of business model. He or she builds up equity (I suppose in the form of trust) and then when they feel its got the highest value, cash it in. As you get more famous this happens more often, sadly, it becomes harder to tell who would be your friend even if you weren't influential and/or rich. This is one of the reasons I sold the big house and started driving an ordinary car. You only think the trappings matter before you have the means to aquire them. Then, oddly enough, I found I wished to be ordinary, because in fact I still was.
Maybe this is what was behind Greta Garbo's sunglasses and her famous "I vant to be alone" line, which is from Grand Hotel, a wonderful movie, one of the early "talkies."
BTW, I basically like any movie with Joan Crawford in it. I recently got The Women from Netflix. Awesome. Crawford plays the cold bitch to Norma Shearer's big-hearted fool (who gets wise in the end). An incredible all-female cast (not one man appears in the whole movie, not even an off-screen voice).
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.