Startup School, April 29, Stanford University.
I've been following the mixup over Scoble's meeting at Amazon, from a distance. The guy from Amazon apparently asked Scoble to cut the bullshit and tell him why he should be interested in blogs. If I had been there I would have said that blogging is now an expected channel of communication with at least some customers, with developers and the press. Amazon has customers, and presumably wants more. And they have a developer pitch too, and they have stories they want to communicate to the press. So if some of the people you want to reach like to receive information via RSS and blogs, why would you not want to provide it? To me, asking why you should use blogs is like asking why you should answer the phone. It might be a customer, a developer who wants to use your services, or a reporter who wants to write about the company. Your competitors answer the phone, so you should too.
Dennis Forbes: Interesting Facts About Domain Names.
Jason Calicanis says he's "ripping off" my style, which is totally okay, and I especially appreciate that he credits me. Perhaps he should use an outliner to write his blog? That could make him even more prolific.
One of my many mottos of the past is "Only steal from the best." When you use someone else's idea that's the ultimate sign of respect. But it's important to say who you're stealing from, because they're the best, right?
Some people have speculated that I'm going to stop blogging on Saturday, which is the 9th anniversary of Scripting News (also Apple's 30th). I don't plan to, although Murphy's Law says anything that can go wrong will go wrong. My plan is to stop as soon as the end of this year, maybe earlier. I want to get some things done first. And in the meantime, I've been getting some intriguing offers now that people know there's an end to this weblog. I like that very much. Marc Canter wishes the software industry would clone the ideas that were in Radio 8, which shipped over four years ago, and speaks as if I had already retired. Not true. And the codebase of Radio 8 is largely GPL now (we could probably GPL the rest of it, need-be). I want to build a developer community around it. Marc, how about we work together, instead of giving up, let's show em how it's done! There's still time, Murphy-willing.
Steve Gillmor is thankful for many things.
BrainJams New Orleans: "On May 4th we are going to bring the best of Web 2.0 to the New Orleans small business community in what could be one of the biggest Unconferences of the year."
Somehow I think he knew I'd link to this cartoon.
Paul Boutin tries to figure out what Web 2.0 means, and comes to the conclusion it's just the Internet.
Apparently BART crashed last night. (Not a train crash, a software crash.)
They say all the good domains are taken, but in my experience none of them are.
News.com interview with Guy Kawasaki about Apple at 30.
The second of Niall Kennedy's SF Tech Sessions is tonight at the St Francis Hotel, 7-9PM.
Steve Gillmor: "This concludes the GestureBank Q&A."
3/29/05: "It's not the shape, it's how you shake it."
Steve Ballmer: "I've got my kids brainwashed: You don't use Google, and you don't use an iPod."
Lifehacker: "FeedBlendr is a web based RSS feed aggregator that pulls all of your favorite RSS feeds into one aggregate feed."
Podfeed does something similar, for podcasts.
HotelChatter: Worst Wifi Hotels for 2006.
My father has a very popular Flickr picture, it's been viewed over 7000 times.
There was lots of pickup on the idea of an unconference on unconferences.
I was surprised to find that the podcasting page on Wikipedia now more or less tells an accurate story of the development of the technology. What they mostly omit, however, is the development of the art, and the key roles of Steve Gillmor's, Doug Kaye's and my own early podcasts. But I'm glad to see Chris Lydon get the credt he deserves. He really was the first one to do a series of podcasts, with his 2003 blogger interviews.
TechCrunch report on Evoca, a new podcasting web app that appears to have it all, and can record Skype calls.
Jeremy Zawodny asks for ideas for evolving Yahoo Groups.
Jared Russell says "no way" to the idea of Second Life as a new operating system. He's right, I have no idea what lies beneath the Second Life user interface, my main point was that the next platform is likely to look entirely different from the Mac/Windows user interface, and to think creatively about what comes next.
Scoble says Second Life is an OS. He makes a convincing case. But will Microsoft port Windows to run inside it? That's not actually a joke.
Hotel Chatter: Best Wifi Hotels for 2006.
Here's a cheat sheet we came up with for BloggerCon III that explains how unconferences work. "We don't have speakers, panels or an audience. We do have discussions and sessions, and each session has a discussion leader."
I'd like to do an unconference for people who do conferences. The topic? How to improve conferences, to make them more valuable to the people who participate, to actually enable problem solving, moving the discussion from the hallways into the conference room.
A discussion about unconferences may be developing at Matthew Ingram's blog.
One year ago, an interesting discussion about Feedburner. Not sure if the issues were resolved.
Rex Hammock on recovery efforts in Pass Christian, MS.
I visited the area in December and took pictures.
Mini-Microsoft on last week's bad news and Microsoft's reliance on Scoble to communicate with bloggers, among other topics.
Don Park has been digging into World of Warcraft. Gamers are reaching new heights of collaboration. Once in my career, I led a team that worked together the way Don describes, where each member was "in full contact all the time and each of them are fully aware of what others are doing at all times." The key enabler was instant outlining, and (even more important) a commitment from every participant to work together. As Don says, it's "powerful and exhilarating. Perhaps, even scary." Fear is frozen fun.
Thanks for four years of great blogging, Paolo. I know some people are going to give you shit for that post, but it always felt to me that your blog was written just for me.
Last night's movie was Confederate States of America. I didn't really like it that much, most of the jokes were spoiled by an NPR segment I heard a couple of weeks ago. Went with Sylvia, she really liked it, so don't go by what I say.
CSA begins with a quote from George Bernard Shaw. "If you are going to tell people the truth, you'd better make them laugh. Otherwise they'll kill you."
You can view the 60-percent-Vista-rewrite story as something of a software development IQ test. Anyone who believes that it's conceivable is someone who hasn't got the most basic clue about how software development works. It's akin to believing that all the US troops in Iraq could come home for the weekend and then on Monday all be back in Iraq fighting the insurgents. That much code movement just isn't possible. It's almost for certain that that much code wasn't rewritten in the transition from XP to Vista and that's already taken five years. You gotta understand it's not just how much time it takes to write the code, it's got to get stabilized too. So if you were to write an operating system from scratch (or 60 percent from scratch) today, you could expect to get some use from it in 2011, maybe. But not with an installed base like Windows and its out-the-door rate for new machines. It would be completely diseconomic, the support costs would be astronomical, even if any users would be willing to use the damned thing, because it wouldn't run any of their software. Microsoft is learning, as we all are along with them, that you just can't do major overhauls of Windows anymore. The only way a new OS is going to bootstrap is with a whole new environment, perhaps on the XBox or maybe Second Life will be the new operating system for this century. It takes a lifetime to build the momentum behind an OS.
I had to book a quick trip to NY next week, and the choices on Expedia weren't good so I tried Orbitz, which has a bunch of features I've wished for on Expedia. Like being able to see the seating chart before making the flight choice. This way I can find out if a flight has some empty seats, and guess if they're empty now they might still be empty on travel day. I know, it's a crap shoot, but look at it this way, if there are no seats available now, I know the flight will be full. The second must-have feature is the ability to say "give me results on one day on either side of this day." Which means if I have some flexibility on when I travel, if there are some better choices, a cheaper flight or a more humane time (I hate red-eyes, won't do one unless I'm traveling overseas, when they're unavoidable) I would choose to travel a day earlier or later. This time I was able to save hundreds of dollars by staying one day longer, and instead of having to race to the airport at the crack of dawn I get to go in the middle of the day, in both directions. I still like Expedia's customer service, and their site works better in Firefox, but in the end convenience, comfort and economics win out.
Rafat Ali snaps a pic of Barry Diller at a cupcake shop.
Amy's 17-year-old son is planning a "virility festival."
When I'm feeling down I'll just remember that Scripting News is Amanda Congdon's favorite weblog. Wow.
Lifehacker advice on hitch-hiking. I've done a fair amount in my younger days. Here's my number one tip. If possible, ask to be let off at a rest area. Then, if you have the chutzpah, walk up to people and ask if they could give you a ride. This gives you a chance to size them up and it's hard to say no to a person, where it's easy to drive by a guy on the side of the road. Also people feel better after a little rest, and are more likely to give you a chance.
NY Times: "A 24-year-old blogger for The Washington Post, Ben Domenech, resigned yesterday after being confronted with evidence that he had plagiarized articles in other publications."
Niall Kennedy: "I am in west Los Angeles today and dropped by theOffice, a community workspace serving the professional writing community of Santa Monica."
Steve Gillmor: The Allchin Tax Cut.
tvRSS just got a major upgrade. BitTorrent, RSS and TV. This is a really big deal. It's time for all aggregators to learn how to do BT.
Marc Canter says Bill Gates learned to say microformats just in time for his Mix 06 talk. Imagine if he had learned to say BitTorrent. Amazon is leading the way, busting through as the first major Internet company to embrace BitTorrent. It's time for them all to follow suit, there are lots of non-infringing applications, like podcasting, for example. BitTorrent is rational technology, it's long past time for the technology industry to stop bending over for the entertainment industry. Bravo Amazon!
Lifehacker: How to get happy.
Odeo says podcasting pays. "People want to listen to good stuff! And they'll even pay for it!"
The power went out today so I snuck out to the movies and saw Inside Man, which was super-good. I especially liked Jodie Foster as the borderline-evil arranger.
The top stories on Memeorandum this week have been the delay in Windows Vista and the reorg in OS development at Microsoft. Their web conference in Las Vegas didn't make much of an impression in the blogosphere. My guess is that they just went with safe bloggers, and if you go for safety you might as well not do it at all. Now, if they had come to us and said, what could you do with the resources we're going to put behind this conference, could we have created some lasting value? Without a doubt. How many millions of dollars did they spend on Mix 06? I'd have gone looking for a college classroom building we could use during spring break, and put participants up in Motel 6, Best Western and Hampton Inn (and pay their airfare and incidentals). One space for podcasting. One for blogging. One for APIs. And so on. Add 1/3 Microsoft people so they can absorb the culture. And do a hack-a-thon, something that's definitely part of MS culture (they were doing them as far back as the 80s). But today they have strict rules about who controls what is said. And as a result, their bad news dominates. So much for control. What a waste. A conversation? No way.
According to David Richards, an unbelievable 60 percent of the Windows Vista code is going to be rewritten before it ships. It's unbelievable because if it's true, there's no way it's shipping in 2007. If true it's not just a setback, it's a multi-billion-dollar debacle on the scale of Apple's Copland (which, if you recall, resulted in regime change). Basically until someone from Microsoft confirms this, I'd give it zero credence.
I've said before that I believe RSS is going to embrace and extend Microsoft, not vice versa. I'm sure Microsoft doesn't accept this. But the longer they delay, the more it will cost them in leadership.
Who are the three men and what are they smiling about?
Dan Farber: Craig Newmark's modest anti-spam proposal.
Bill says to Mike, you better sit down, I got some bad news.
Some rational thoughts on A-list blogging. Like this. "Every A-Lister could stop blogging at once and the blogosphere will continue on." You bet it would. Wouldn't it be interesting if every certified A-lister, by convention, didn't blog during the third week of every month. What if that idea caught on? Heh. That might be a mind bomb, right there.
Le blog de Jean-Louis Gassee.
Fred Wilson's favorite business model: "Give your service away for free, possibly ad supported but maybe not, acquire a lot of customers very efficiently through word of mouth, referral networks, organic search marketing, etc, then offer premium priced value added services or an enhanced version of your service to your customer base."
Jacob Reider sends pointer to docs for a Wiki that has an XML-RPC interface.
Britannica responds to Nature on Wikipedia.
Om Malik: Meet Ajax Write.
TechCrunch: Jigsaw is a Really, Really Bad Idea.
Can you come up with a creative caption for this picture?
Wired: How France is saving civilization. Amen.
Jon Udell explores Amazon's S3 network storage system.
And Matt Croydon is backing up his Flickr pics to S3. People ask why. Because it's interop. It's a blade of grass popping through the ground, certain to be followed by many more. The next blades will be more useful.
David Berlind expands on the possible connection between OPML and wikis.
Phil Jones found an XML-RPC interface for a wiki, not the MetaWeblog API, though.
Sometimes, rarely, Valleywag has me in stitches.
Scott Rosenberg explains how he followed yesterday's story of the Windows Vista delay, through Digg, the NY Times, Scripting News and Mini-Microsoft, and what this means for professional news organizations. The challenge for professional news organizations is to find a way to deliver all that through their web presence, with the trust and authority of their brand added to the breadth and instant responsiveness of citizen media. I'm ready to help news organizations make this transition, when they're really ready to do it.
Three years ago today: "Microsoft doesn't really exist to give customers what they want, the harsh truth is that they exist to keep employing more Microsoft people."
I'm having lunch today with Sylvia to talk about Sunday's CyberSalon. Here are some of my notes.
I sat in the front row, an unusual place for me to sit, but it allowed me to pass a note to John Markoff, technology reporter for the NY Times, who was one of the panelists. My note said "It doesn't have to be adversarial." He wrote a response, which wasn't public, so I won't include it here, but a productive discussion followed, and a handshake, and we're having lunch next week in San Francisco.
If I had a chance to rewrite the note, I might have said -- It mustn't be adversarial, between us, because we already have a mutual adversary, the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, who would, if they could, completely disempower the press, and control the flow of information to the populace. Anyone who's paying attention in 2006 needs to be concerned about this. I think our concern has morphed to ambivalence, because we all feel so powerless to do anything about it.
But what if we combined resources, saw ourselves as part of the same effort, with the same goal, to improve the flow of information to the citizens, to counter the negative efforts of the government. I have a sneaky feeling that money would start flowing again, while our attention was focused on our mission, and if we looked at each other, pro and amateur, less like adversaries, and more like allies.
I've given guest talks at two Markoff journalism classes, one at UC-Berkeley and one at Stanford. At the Stanford one we talked about coverage of City Hall, which he pointed out was a problem, as professional journalism was retracting, it was leaving civic politics uncovered. I may have pointed out, probably did, that the people can fill in and increase coverage of civic politics. I vaguely recall that Markoff was unconvinced. But as time has passed I've become more sure this is the answer, and that the respective role of professional and amateur is that of editor and reporter, teacher and student, coach and player. There is a relationship, but it's a new one, and newness is always hard (but often fun).
We're not going to get anywhere by calling each other wrong, there's been finger-pointing both ways, and I've done it myself at times, and I've got to remind myself that it's not constructive. The pros have often erred by being dismissive of the bloggers, but maybe we're getting past that. They now tend to see the problem as economic -- that Craig's List is eating into their revenue. But there's a balancing opportunity. Some, perhaps not many, of the people reading Craig's List, share the passion for informaiton and democracy that a good idealistic reporter does, and will do it for love, not money. I believe the vast amount of editorial writing will be done for no money. This isn't really new, after all, the publications don't pay their sources -- and that's ultimately where the information comes from, right?
I envision an offsite, off the record, not for quoting or attribution, no grandstanding, no blogging, with five thoughtful reporters and five thoughtful bloggers. We set up in Big Sur for a week, go for hikes, sit around campfires, and do the bonding things that human resource consultants have Silicon Valley management teams do. During working hours our job is to figure out how we can help each other. I have no doubts that if we can relax and approach this creatively, we can solve a lot of problems that way, very quickly, because there's a lot of potential locked up in the connection between amateur and professional media.
NY Times: "Microsoft's said that its new Windows operating system would not be ready for consumer personal computers for the holiday sales season."
Mini-Microsoft: "Oy. Oy. Oy."
Fantastic piece in today's SF Chron about the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge. I thought the bridge was almost finished, but not nearly so. It won't open until 2014, according to the plan, which doesn't really exist, yet (even though construction is quite far along). The original plan called for the bridge to be completed by 2004, but politics interfered. But it wasn't rational politics, about where the most resources go, it was about esthetics. A completely functional replacement for the not-quake-safe eastern span could have already been deployed, but the mayors of each of the cities wanted something ornamental that would look stunning and be famous world-wide, like the Golden Gate Bridge is, on the other side of SF. They also worried about how the ramps toward each of their cities would look. Oy. And you thought software industry politics was bad! (BTW, there was a small quake today in the East Bay, a reminder that there are important non-esthetic reasons to finish the new bridge.)
Bruno Pedro has a tool that converts an OPML file into wiki-formattted text.
Donald Knuth, famous comp sci prof and book author at Stanford, doesn't have an email address, according to News.com. "You wake up, start answering email and the next thing you know it's noon." I know the feeling. He's also the #1 Don on Google.
Phil, thanks for listening, no sarcasm.
Scott Rosenberg: "Web 2.0 sometimes seems in imminent danger of collapsing in a heap of cutesiness, obscurity and alphabetical anarchy."
Anyway, send me a pointer to such a wiki, and I'll try to get the OPML Editor working with it. If there are problems, I'll document them, and when they're fixed, I'll try again.
There's absolutely no reason that you shouldn't be able to edit wiki-text using an outliner, and I bet it would be pretty useful.
Another very interesting narrative about my software strategies by Phil Jones.
1. He's figured some of it out, and he's trying, and that I appreciate.
2. I'm not at war. I'm not trying to defeat the Semantic Web, and I like wikis. You're not going to figure me out with warfare analogies, because
3. I only fight when people try to turn the clock back, because that's the weakness of, the thing I hate most about the tech industry.
4. And he allows me enough pride so I can respond. Many of the people who comment about my work say I'm stupid, or a bad person, and I'm neither, and I won't encourage such discourse by honoring it with a response. As soon as it gets personal, that's when I walk out of the (virtual) room.
I wrote a longer piece last night, but that's basically what it says.
It's not surprising that Microsoft is doing some funny stuff with their RSS support.
I'm not at their blogging conference this week, but some honorable folk from the tech blogging community are. I wonder if they're having a session on Fact-checking Your Ass.
Did you ever see the Sprint commercial with the guy sitting behind the desk in front of a top-floor skyscraper window, explaining how he's using his cell phone to Stick It To The Man. His assistant, a Smithers type, says, But you are The Man. He responds, "I know." So you're sticking it to yourself? Big pause. Maybe.
In other words, there's something weird and funny about a Microsoft-run blogging conference. There's something not very blogging about it. Hmmm.
Four years ago today UserLand announced we had made a deal with the New York Times that would allow users of our Radio aggregator to receive Times headlines, along with all the other blogs and pubs that were already supporting RSS. Here's a screen shot showing Times headlines from 2002 in my aggregator. Imho this was the tipping moment for RSS, after this point its growth was a sure thing as the publishing industry followed the leadership of the Times. I wrote that day, "When we started syndicating Web content in 1997, I set a goal to get the Times headlines flowing though our space. Today, amazingly, that goal is accomplished. To me it's a reminder that it's worth setting lofty goals."
Scott Rosenberg on last night's CyberSalon.
Dan Gillmor suggests that Yahoo might be the white knight to save the San Jose Mercury News.
I would support community involvement in saving the Mercury News, if the Mercury News would become a pioneer in community journalism. There are hundreds of thousands of potential journalists in the South Bay who could cover every school board, zoning commission, shareholder meeting. They could report on housing prices and gas prices, traffic patterns and other quality of life issues. How about helping us understand why mass transit doesn't better serve the area. Integrate the South Bay universities, which include some of the best in the world, with the communities.
A newly configured Mercury News would include daily reports from sister publications in Bangalore and Shanghai.
This is how news will work in the 21st Century. The South Bay would become one of the best-served metro areas in the US, after being one of the worst. I don't know very many people who feel fondness for the Mercury News. I lived in the their geography for 24 years, I never subscribed. I read the paper occasionally when I went out for breakfast, but I was raised on New York's newspapers, and in comparison the Merc is strictly second tier, if that.
To get people excited enough to rally behind it, they're going to have to do something exciting.
How to make money on the Internet v2.0: "If journalists won't write from a users' perspective, what's to stop the users from becoming journalists?"
Photos from the Berkeley CyberSalon.
One year ago today: "Danny O'Brien, writing on an O'Reilly site rants at and about me, and my position on Google's AutoLink. He quotes me saying things I'm quite sure I never said, and don't agree with, and then proceeds to make fun of me for saying these things that I didn't say, and he discredits the ideas behind the quotes, and not surprisingly he wins the argument -- that he's having with himself!"
"The irony is that the debate is about Google changing what people say."
Phil Jones continues to impress.
In the comments on Hugh MacLeod's blog post about me turning down god because I was too busy with RSS, he says: "Dave didn't invent RSS. Nor does he claim to. Go listen to the NerdTV interview he did with Robert Cringely where he explicitly says he realized that (to paraphrase) the second mover 'makes' the standard, and so he threw away his own syndication format to support Netscape's RSS."
That's true -- and an important consideration that most people don't seem to understand. In the world of standards the second-mover is the decision-maker, the first-mover is at the second guy's mercy.
In the case of simple syndication formats, Netscape was the second mover, they blew off my earlier work. So I decided that I could either sulk about it, or do the powerful thing. Of course I did the powerful thing.
I added all the features of their format to mine, which they responded to (as I thought they would) by adding all the features of my format to theirs. At that point, I had what I wanted, I put a bullet in the head of my format, and made RSS my cause.
Invention here is hardly the issue. What matters is adoption and forward motion. The smart people in this space do what smart people do everywhere, they listen, think, learn and adapt, like Jones is doing. The idiots rule the roost though, it's very hard to hear the intellect through all the honking and barking and ruckus that the idiots make. (Not talking about Hugh, his contribution is satire, and that's always welcome. If you can't laugh at yourself you break.)
It's really dated, kind of hard to watch because the acting is so bad, and the mid-20th century actors look so out of place in 19th-century Wyoming. But it was worth watching to understand what Nick Carr was saying about the place the blogosphere might be at.
Shane isn't shallow like many westerns, it's a faceoff between the old, the ranchers, who tamed a rugged and beautiful valley after the trappers fought off the Indians and laid traps for the beaver. The ranchers feel like the valley is theirs because they paid for it, many of them with their lives, and those that survived, with their youth. Along come the homesteaders, starting their pig farms and planting crops, fencing off the the pastures, and routing water to irrigate their fields so sometimes the rivers actually stop flowing. This is not fiction, this actually happened, the competing uses of land and water, and the argument about what god intended, continues to this day in the mountain west.
Shane, played by Alan Ladd, is a gunslinger for the farmers. The movie builds to a showdown with the hired gunslinger for the ranchers, played by a young Jack Palance. Ladd wins (of course, I'm giving nothing away) and the farmers take over, for now.
But when you drive around in this part of the country today you don't see many farms, the land is too poor for farming and the summers too short. I think the ranchers eventually did win the argument, which kind of undermines the plot of Shane and the story that Nick Carr told.
After writing this, I re-read Carr's piece, and it's funnier than ever. Carr is a great writer and thinker. I hope to meet him some day and shake his hand.
The question of whether my retirement has any significance for the blogosphere is likely to come up tonight at the well-timed CyberSalon, with a variety of different panelists with a variety of views of the staying power and utility of the blogosphere.
Me, I'm tired, and I don't enjoy being the the go-to guy for snarky folk who try to improve their page-rank by leading idiotic tirades about their supposed insights into my character. I want to enjoy the ability to plan and think before my would-be competitors have a chance to position themselves to grab the fruits of my labor. Too much transparency can be a hindrance, so I'm looking for less of that, and more fun, and more options.
Me, I'm thinking fiction might be fun. I'm thinking about dialog, and how a novel is a continuum, and a bunch of short stories hanging off a tree, and a few diversions to keep the reader on his or her toes. I'm thinking about the craft of writing in ways I've never done before.
I also see that much of what happens in the tech and publishing world happens "off-blog." This week I had a bunch of meetings, in San Diego, Berkeley and San Francisco, none of which were blogged, by myself or the people I was meeting with. Did they care about the looney tunes world that the tech blogosphere has become? Not one bit.
At the two conferences I've participated in recently, Under the Radar and PC Forum, after a long absence from tech conferences (Gnomedex last summer was the previous one, and that was an exceptional event for me) that absence does make the heart grow fonder. So by taking a hike and working on my health and learning some new crafts, and working offstage more and more, I hope to evoke more fondness, smiles and hugs, and less lies, sneers and dishonesty.
If we've learned anything about humanity, is that it's really good at closing ranks, filling gaps, and moving on. If a famous reporter were to retire, some young dude would come along and take his place, maybe three or four. In the competitive landscape that comes after a big tree falls, comes fresh thinking, as I hope to bring fresh perspectives to my next pursuits. And freshness is good.
For me, writing here is becoming stale, I'm energized by the idea of new frontiers, new holes to dig and then fill in and dig again.
Reminder: CyberSalon, tomorrow, in Berkeley.
Chris Pirillo: "Just as a Web browser interprets HTML, there will be a new range of products -- both Web-based and on your desktop -- that will support and parse this strange new OPML thingy for you."
0xDECAFBAD: "Why don't we have a Xanadu web run on Lisp serving up perfect, crystalline RDF?"
Dowbrigade reports on a new Internet scam that involves cashing counterfeit checks.
David Gewirtz: "Spam is certainly a problem, and email whitelists are certainly appealing. But while you might be perfectly happy telling your email client that your mom's on your whitelist, you're likely to be far less happy about having your ISP decide that Verizon or Caesar's Palace is trustworthy, but, because she didn't pay protection money, your mom isn't."
Movie: Train pulling into BART station.
Three years ago: "I've arrived in Cambridge. Rarin to go!"
The Web Innovators Group of Boston will meet on Monday at the Hotel at MIT.
Tom Morris: "I'm surprised that nobody has done anything Web 2.0-ish with the humble discussion forum."
Ben Barren may win the award for best list of possible (funny) TechCrunch awards.
I am an animated inventor.
Phil Jones: "The entire history of computer science can be interpretted as one long war between pragmatic tool builders and idealistic format / process builders."
People who doubt that thoughtful discourse is possible in the blogosphere, need only look at the discussion here about Goodmail. In just a few hours we've heard why Goodmail is not the solution to the spam problem. That is, unless someone who believes in Goodmail can explain why it's anything more but a new way for Goodmail, Inc and their partners (AOL and Yahoo) to make money.
ComputerWorld: New Orleans' Wi-Fi network now a lifeline.
Mary Hodder: 400 skydivers in tandem.
I've been emailing with David Berlind who is in the hospital recovering from back surgery yesterday, apparently it was successful and he's getting better. Best wishes to David and his family.
I missed this bit about a speech given by retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor, warning of "dictatorship" in the United States. It was mentioned at the end of the first hour of the Diane Rehm show this morning.
Dan MacTough: "The buzz-o-meter on OPML browsers is off the charts right now."
Dave Johnson experiments with the Microsoft Feeds API, and finds they've made some unusual choices, which may not be good for interop. The solution of course is to parse the XML yourself, and it's definitely not too late for the community to provide the equivalent of the Microsoft toolkit, if perhaps the community can discuss such a thing without flaming out.
Esther Dyson has an op-ed in today's NY Times about Goodmail. We discussed this in a roundtable at her conference earlier this week. Not quite an unconference, but some ideas were exchanged, in a relatively relaxed way. At one point I got the mike and asked if anyone could give an argument against Goodmail -- no one did. I'm not saying there aren't any, but what are they? BTW, I think Esther's piece is right-on.
Daniel Dreymann, co-founder of Goodmail, checks in. "Most leading vendors have already signed up with Goodmail to make it a standard feature on their MTAs."
I asked if they have filed for or received patents. Dreymann said: "We do have intellectual property here but we provide software libraries for implementing the sending side and libraries for the receiving side -- all free of charge to interested MTA implementers." Sounds like they do have patents. Okay, that's a reason it might not work.
MTA is an acronym for Mail Transfer Agent.
Congrats to John Furrier who raised $5.5 million to fund his Podtech podcasting venture. This was a surprise, but a nice one. John is a member of the Web 2.0 Workgroup, as am I, he's got lots of friends in the community.
Scoble laments all the flamers in the thread on Rogers Cadenhead's site, but isn't it obvious that the purpose of his post was to get a flamewar going? What non-flamer is going to post in the middle of a festival like that one? I'm not as worried about it as Scoble is, because I've seen better flamewars and I know how they turn out. In a few days he's still going to have to try to resolve the matter with me, and the flamers will have gone on to some other trumped-up controversy. The days when you could fool any number of real people with a charade like this are long past. And people who use pseudonyms to call public figures schoolyard names are not really very serious or threatening. Jeneane Sessum is right in saying it's extreme to call this a lynch mob. It's just a bunch of anonymous comments on a snarky blog post. Big deal. Not.
Sylvia: "Geniuses are not only supposed to be innovative thinkers -- the ones who come up with new memes, technologies, and art -- they're also supposed to be kind and loving to competitors, thieves, ex wives, and assholes."
It took a couple of days for the brilliance of the continuity in the Sopranos to catch up with me. It's been two years since the last episode, and instead of picking up where they left off, the characters have gone on while the show wasn't being aired. So now Uncle Junior is completely demented, Tony has a newborn niece, and his marriage with Carmella is repaired. We have no clue how any of this happened, but there it is.
While on the subject of the Sopranos, I noticed something about the picture on the website. Who's the guy in the middle? I thought I knew all the characters. And who's not in the picture! Without wanting to spoil it for those who haven't seen this season's opener, remember what it leaves unresolved. Are they using the website to give us a clue as to the resolution? It's like Kremlinology. And where was the picture taken? Does that look like a funeral home to you?
It's been a while since I commented on ads in RSS feeds, but don't you think the signal-to-noise ratio is a little low in this Economist feed?
Another low signal-to-noise ratio feed.
This is why I think of Nick Bradbury as a stand-up guy. Sometimes to do the right thing you have to say something.
MediaBaron says that the guy with the jacket over his head is Robert X. Cringely, which is creative but wrong. Kosso doesn't quite commit himself, but let's give him the points anyway. It's me. I had the jacket over my head because the sun was so bright there was no other way to see what was on the screen. And ten karma points to La Costa for having such good free wifi that we were able to consult the web during an outdoor identity politics discussion between Mike Graves of VeriSign, Kim Cameron of Microsoft and Johannnes Ernst of Netmesh. Lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce, was Identity Woman, aka Kaliya Hamlin.
PaidContent reports that Netscape.Com is coming back as a Digg-like site, with Jason Calacanis at the head.
I noted that the first item in the Grazr demo is the outline of past DaveNet essays. I wondered if people were aware that the archive of Scripting News is also available in OPML
There are several ways to access it.
Here's today's Scripting News, viewed in the OPML browser. Interesting, no?
I hope other people will be able to use this in their demos.
Now you might see this blog in a new way.
Scripting News is just an OPML browser.
They don't have parking meters in the mountains outside Salt Lake City, Utah; but they do have signs that advise you not to litter. Click on the pic to get the joke.
Unfortunately, there's another controversy with Rogers Cadenhead. He asked to handle this matter privately and using attorneys, both of which I agreed to. Then he apparently changed his mind, and published my attorney's letter to him.
Marc Canter says "aggregate."
People have pointed out that there's more than one level of irony in yesterday's post about Identity Woman.
Since I've been at a conference the last two days, I haven't had enough time to follow all the discussion about my decision to stop blogging. This morning I got up very early, ready to fly back to the Bay Area, and had some time to wade through the commentary and had some comments, since I am still blogging.
Several essays stood out as thoughtful, interesting, original, and had elements of truth to them, imho, that were unique.
Nick Carr: Once upon a time in the west.
I've never seen Shane, but I will. I like the imagery. Even now some friends send me emails saying I should fight. I thought I said pretty clearly that I'm not fighting. You want a fight, you do it. I gave at the office.
Some people have characterized my post as a suicide note, and that's correct, it is a suicide note. Let me explain. There's a virtual Dave and a real one. Here, you're reading the virtual one. Some people hate this guy, some people love him. Lots of people invent new features of this guy, that are so different from the real guy that if the real guy met the other people's version of the virtual guy, he would line up to punch him in the nose too.
Over time, this duality has gotten further off track to the point where people come up to the real guy in restaurants and shake the virtual guy's hand. People threaten to hurt the virtual guy, and mistakenly hit the real guy. The real guy has serious health issues and has to take care of himself, and everyone who reads this blog knows this, yet they still create huge battles with the guy, and otherwise considerate people stand by and watch and do nothing.
Eventually the real guy decided enough of this bullshit. I just want to be the real guy.
When I started blogging it was all about creating a platform for people to be real. Well if I have to live up to your fantasies to be able to blog, I quit.
Maybe there's still some life left in the real guy.
This is not meant to make you feel sad, or guilty or miss me or anything else. This isn't about you. It never was about you. When you read other people's blogs, think about that. They're not writing about you, they're writing about them.
The real Dave won't stop writing, btw. The virtual Dave is going to stop. Bye-bye. See y'all later.
So Nick, I'll watch Shane, for sure, but another movie whose plot may be like this story is Heaven Can Wait. If you like reading the real Dave, be prepared to play the role Julie Christie played. If a stranger walks up to you and asks to buy you a cup of coffee, you might want to say yes.
Scoble: "I'm getting fat but I'm fat and happy."
I just signed up for Amazon S3. Here are the docs. There doesn't appear to be a web app that allows you to upload a file to try it out? I really wish they had an XML-RPC interface, if they did, I could start programming it right away, since they don't have sample code for my environment. It seems that XML-RPC would get them support for all the environments, not just the ones they say are most popular. No matter what, I'm going to try programming against the SOAP interface.
BTW, to Jon Udell, who raised a question about standards and implementation to standards, this is why you need open formats. Some people like Python, some like Ruby, and some like environments that other people don't think of as environments. Roml's hypothesis only works in a monoculture; sometimes it looks like there is only one development environment that matters, but there's always someone, who's doing something important, who isn't using the consensus platform. Some people thought CP/M was the only environment that mattered, but others insisted on developing for the Apple II. When the IBM PC ruled, there were still Apple III developers, and then Mac 128 developers. When the Mac ruled, some insisted on doing character-based DOS apps. And all through the 80s, there were people who developed on Unix, waiting for the day when it would become the consensus platform. Brian Behlendorf used to argue that Apache was the only HTTP platform that mattered, but if that were true, no one would be using any other HTTP server, today, more than ten years after the advent of Apache. The problem with Roml's thesis is the world is messy. The proof is in Amazon's toolkit, they try to do it all by providing examples for languages and even so don't cover all the bases. How much better if we had a standard language for expressing web services that was supported in all environments, so one set of docs would work for all. We do have such a format, but if they don't use it (they don't) it's value dissipates, and eventually will go away.
9/12/99: "The purpose of XML-RPC is to end once and for all, the idea that there can or should be one operating system for all. No more über-operating systems, and no press releases claiming über-ness!"
Colin Faulkingham: "Amazon S3 supports BitTorrent, it will create and seed your object (file)." Bing!
That's one of this year's game-changers.
Nicco Mele: "The bill is designed to (a) protect bloggers and online political activity and (b) open large loop-holes in campaign finance law."
BBC: "Bullies are increasingly using the internet to terrorise teenagers outside of school, a survey suggests."
Gabe Rivera's new memetracker, "Automatic Dirt Digger."
No one guessed who the guy with the jacket on his head is. For 10 bonus points, why was the jacket on his head? Use the comments on the Flickr pic to post your ideas.
TechCrunch: "Move over Google Drive, Amazon just stole your thunder (for now)."
Hugh MacLeod: "I remember when God asked me..."
Scott Karp: "If Dave abandoned Scripting News and started a new blog with a new name, would it be fundamentally different from Scripting News, even if it was still Dave? I think the answer is yes."
The 2006 weblog awards were presented in Austin today.
Identity gurus hang out on the patio, catching some sun, talking politics. Guess who the guy with the coat draped over his head is. Kim Cameron from Microsoft said there isn't much chance that they'll disinvite Tim O'Reilly to Mix 06, but he might be able to talk Bill Gates into apologizing for inviting him, before Tim comes out on stage. I said I'd pay to see that!
One of this afternoon's presenters is bitty.com. Sounds very interesting.
News.com: "VeriSign announced Monday that it plans to acquire Kontiki for $62 million, in a move to enter the broadband content services market." This is an interesting and unexpected acquisition. Mike Graves from VeriSign is here in Carlsbad, I'll ask him what's up with this deal.
Yahoo: "It's a spiffy-looking module you display on your website to show off your series rating on Yahoo! Podcasts and encourage your listeners to rate and review your show on Yahoo!"
Mike Arrington says I can't quit blogging. A long-winded answer. My step-cousins in Jamaica used to goof on my uncle when he complained he didn't want to do something. They'd say "But Ken, it's goooood for you." Try to imagine two little Jamaican kids saying this in their patois, giggling in sing-song. Mike it'll be good for you. Maybe I'll write for TechCrunch. Maybe I should sell Scripting News to you. Maybe I'll do other things (I will). When a big tree falls, even a small big tree, it creates room for other things to grow. This will be one of those things. I could keep blogging until my blog had no life left, or I could quit while it's still alive. Of course I'd choose the latter. If the West Wing can stop, if the Sopranos can stop, then so can a blog.
It's always interesting to hear which of my podcasts people like the best. I have a hard time picking. I think the best one was May 12, 2005. It's also Julie Leung's. By far it's the best linear progression through all the steps that make up my version of Web 2.0, how all the technologies relate. Just 25 minutes. Then there are the thunderstorm "god-casts" where I figured out how to have a conversatioin with god (or simulate one, in all honesty) in a technique that could only work in an audio-only format. Or the one I did on my birthday with my parents at a New York diner. People fell in love with my parents, and that meant a lot to me. An incredible way to spend a big birthday. Dan MacTough, one of the bright lights in the OPML community, a New York lawyer who's also a programmer, likes the interview with Janet, the New Orleans woman, struggling with the mortality of her city. He has a point. As pure journalism it's the best one (except maybe the one we did walking to the Democratic Convention in July 2004).
One of the things that came up is Goodmail. They asked for a show of hands of those who like it and those who don't. No clear consensus. I said I like it. I don't get what the argument is against it. Seems like it would totally clear out the biggest abusers of spam. What's the problem?
Pictures of Monday's opening session.
Todd Cochrane at Geek News is a long-time Movable Type user. He isn't happy with how the product is evolving. The first comment is from Jay Allen, from Six Apart, the company that makes the product. Interesting back and forth between a customer and a vendor.
Last night's dinner was pretty fantastic. They've changed something at PC Forum, the first night used to be the speaker's dinner, but apparently not any more. The buffet was absolutely first class, I ate lamb, paella, a wonderful spinach dish, lots of great conversation, glad to see friends I hadn't seen in some cases in 15 or 20 years! We've all aged, quite visibly, but it's cool to reconnect after so long. Even the old rivalries have faded as the former powerhouses are either gone or faded (Lotus, Microsoft, Ashton-Tate, AOL, Sun, Oracle, etc).
I spent a long time talking with Bret Fausett, who Mike Arrington describes as the "Dave Winer of ICANN." Brett is a longtime Scripting News reader, who I had never met face to face, but whose blog I read regularly, and whose circles have regularly intersected mine over the years. Not surprisingly we had a lot to talk about, and had both figured a lot of the same things out. Now if we could just get everyone else on the same page!
Sat next to Jeremy Allaire from Brightcove, and confirmed that I do understand that they're seriously re-inventing television in the context of the Internet.
And while I missed Esther's opening remarks, people say that there were a lot of ideas from the Unconferences manifesto in her talk. She's going to try to include the audience more in the discussion. It's good to see she's feeling the influence, but I think they could go farther, faster, by having a session or two that's done totally unconference-style, to give the community (she has one too, even though the talk here is of other communities) the experience. This would give everyone a data point to think about in the coming year, the minds could accomplish a lot, with the information and the time.
It's been ten years since I was at a PC Forum, and while the onstage conversation is as ungrounded as ever, the place is humming, there's thriving going on, once again. I came back last, at the height of the dotcom mania, to find the river was flowing somewhere else. It was quiet here, not many people, not very much to talk about, and what was being talked about seemed to be covered better elsewhere. Today, more than ever it's the social events that are the pulse, and luckily we have a lot to talk about, and old friendships to renew. It's a sweet event, so far, and that's a surprise, a pleasant one.
I can do it, folks, I have already, in some sense, stopped one of my rivers, and soon, probably before the end of 2006, I will put this site in mothballs, in archive mode, and go on to other things, Murphy-willing of course.
It's been a long time coming. When I started blogging, depending on how you look at it, either in 1994, 1996 or 1997, I had different goals, and happily the goals have been accomplished. Billions of Websites now no longer seems an outrageously ambitious goal. We're pretty close to a billion, I suspect. The goal was also to create tools that would make it easy for everyone to have a site, and then more specifically a chronological one. That's done.
I wanted programming to turn upside down, to have the Internet be the platform instead of Microsoft and Apple. That worked too. APIs on web apps are now commonplace, and a basis for comparison between offerings. While user interfaces have gotten better, of course, there's been a steady flow of new ideas in how my work connects with yours, and vice versa, and we're doing it without a platform vendor controlling it.
I wanted decentralized news. We can do for ourselves what the pros haven't been doing. And politics -- I don't doubt that the House of Representatives will be filled with bloggers, if not in 2006, then surely in 2008. There's no turning back on any of it. The 20th Century is fading and the new century is going strong. There really was a big shift as the calendar rolled over, and I'm totally glad to be a part of it.
So there's the first part of my reason. Blogging doesn't need me anymore. It'll go on just as well, maybe even better, with some new space opened up for some new things. But more important to me, there will be new space for me. Blogging not only takes a lot of time (which I don't begrudge it, I love writing) but it also limits what I can do, because it's made me a public figure. I want some privacy, I want to matter less, so I can retool, and matter more, in different ways. What those ways are, however, are things I won't be talking about here. That's the point. That's the big reason why.
6PM Pacific: Arrived safely in Carlsbad, CA. Just spent a half-hour listening to Pierre Omidyar be interviewed by Esther, with Q&A from the audience. The questioners line up in front of the mikes, and are called on, one from each mike. The questioner identifies him or herself. The tone at Esther's is very spacy, it's hard to understand what they're talking about, seems unfortunate because Omidyar has so much practical experience (founder of eBay). If any Scripting News readers are here, please post a comment. Is there an IRC back-channel? If not, shall we create one? One question I was aching to hear answered is What about Skype? I've sworn however that I won't ask any questions, I find the format so unconducive to discourse. I'm going to try to sit with my hands folded and only answer when called on (which I don't expect to happen). Okay now it's on to the buffet and opening reception. Let the schmoozing begin!
Randall Stross: "Wikipedia's reputation and internal editorial process would benefit by having a single authority vouch for the quality of a given article."
I've been getting both public and private warnings that some people are going to try to do something nasty with OPML, maybe get a "war" going with me. I'd love to avoid having to protect my creative work this time. I think at this point, no one would argue that, for better or worse, I am the designer of OPML, and the author of its spec, and the developer of the app that defines the format (the last part probably some people would contest, but I believe most reasonable people would concede that). Yet, based on recent experience, there are people who think it can be "taken over." I don't know if it can or it can't. But why not wait until after the OPML Editor 1.0 release ships to try to hijack the format. After that I won't fight with you. I probably won't even fight very much now. The fight has pretty much gone out of me. I'm feeling the stress of all the fighting, and age, and I'm satisfied that I have enough money to retire on now. Why not let me go, quietly and peacefully, I'll stop writing my blog, I'll stop developing new stuff, you can be me if you want, I won't be in your way. How about it? If ever there was a peace offering, it seems like this one must be too good to be true.
An ex-Googler wonders why anyone buys Google stock at the current price. It's not really a mystery. They do it because they hope to be able to sell it at a higher price, later.
Mike Arrington: Flickr has some catching up to do.
I had a dream last night.
It was so vivid, so real, a little on the nightmarish side, with a premise from science fiction.
Somehow I had been transported back to 1983. I was at an Apple event, and there was Young Steve Jobs, with a full head of hair, talking with reporters, but not in a huge auditorium, in a room that looked like a high school gymnasium, kind of a user's group meeting. He was defensive, talking about the Apple ][, and the reporters were on his tail, hassling him, looking for defensive quotes to fit into what were sure to be stories about the death of his company.
I sought out one of the Apple marketing whizzes, these guys were like gods back then. He was young, in his early 20s, with an arrogant smile. They weren't winning any battles with the reporters, but I was just some old schmuck, he didn't have to be nice to me, so he wasn't. Didn't matter to me, I was on a mission. I wanted to tell him that it would all be okay, I wanted him to get the message to Steve. As proof that I came from the future, I told him I knew they had a new computer in the works, it would be called the Macintosh (I couldn't remember if they had decided on the name at this time) and it would ship in January of the next year. He corrected me and said they would have some news in February, not January. I smiled. I told him some more things that would happen in 1984, knowing this would not help convince him that what I was saying was real, but if he'd remember them, he'd know then that what I said about 1997, and the iPod in 2002 would likely be true and I was really a visitor from the future. He walked away, and a minute later a snotty security guy with facial hair like the guard in the Wizard of Oz came to escort me out of the hall. Apparently the young marketing dude thought I was a lunatic.
The dream didn't end there, it dragged on and on, my subconscious apparently was interested in how life would work if all I had in my wallet were about $100 in cash and credit cards with expiration dates like 2007 and 2008. It was pretty difficult to make a go of it, as a homeless person with almost no money. The place I live in, in Berkeley hadn't been built yet, nor had my car, my cellphone didn't work, and if I could find the younger version of myself in 1983, even if I could convince him that I was a relative of his, he was fairly broke then and wouldn't have been able to help me out much. And then all the different people and places got to be too much, and I drifted off into some other place, or woke up, or whatever.
Chicago Tribune: "It's easy to track America's covert operatives, all you need to know is how to navigate the Internet."
Nik Cubrilovic reviews Dabble DB. One of the most significant demos at Under the Radar. FileMaker for 2006, running as an AJAX web app. What Office Live should have been.
Marc Canter had BBQ in Austin and found a new anthem. I'm with him, I'm providing tools for people who eat BBQ, pay taxes, educate the next generation of kids, elect Congress and the President, and decide if the rest of us can live the way we want to. If we want to stay free we have to learn how to listen.
If you see Hugh Forrest at SXSW tell him I say hi, and I'd love to meet him someday, and I offer my services for SXSW 2007, as I do every year. Maybe one of these years they'd be willing to let me talk with their community on stage, because it's the same community, Hugh. Why don't we cut the distance and go direct. Who's telling you I can't speak from the SXSW stage. I can't figure it out.
I was talking with Mike Arrington yesterday about Microsoft's upcoming web conference, Mix 06. The same people who spoke at Etech are speaking there, as at SXSW, even though the Microsoft people told me straight out that it was going to be Microsoft people talking to developers (which made me think it was not a conference I wanted to go to). Then last week I found out that lots of people I know who don't work at Microsoft are speaking there, and to my surprise, that includes Mike. (He says he assumed I was part of the program.)
I felt so wronged, why do they lie about these things, don't they know eventually they'll get caught in the lies, or don't they care. (BTW, that includes Scoble too, I asked why he didn't give me a heads up, and the answer was unsatisfying.)
I did a lot of work for them for free. That's finished, not going to be doing any more of that. So embarassing.
I heard it's happening at Esther's too, which this year is focused on the Attention Economy, and the guy who drove this idea to the point where Esther does a whole conference about it, Steve Gillmor, isn't speaking and doesn't even get a free pass, even though he works for the company that's putting on the conference. Now that's something. Now I see things a bit more clearly, it looks like Esther wants us to think these are her ideas, and how inconvenient it would be to have the person whose ideas they really are, there, in the flesh, explaining how the stuff really works as she and her friends scratch the surface. I'm paying the $5000 to go to this conference, so I'm a customer, and I feel cheated. The real guy was willing to come educate us, for free, and the conference promoter said no. Yow. Maybe this should be the first question that gets answered as the show opens tomorrow afternoon. Why?
The way Esther does Steve, that's how O'Reilly conferences cover my work. They get someone who reads my blog to talk about what I do, without mentioning me, with cheap personal shots thrown in, ones that are safe from rebuttal because the guy they're criticizing isn't there.
And now Microsoft is doing it too. What's in it for them, I can't figure out. What about Bill Gates, who's giving the keynote, being interviewed by the Man himself, Tim O'Reilly. I've never known Gates to be unkind at an intellectual level to the people whose ideas he steals. He doesn't pay them very much, if anything at all (they never offered to pay me for the work of mine they've used over the years). I don't mind that so much, because that's the way it's always worked. It's this new notion that you don't need to tell people where your ideas come from. That's not only bad business, it's dishonest. Why the richest guy in the world needs to be so dishonest, well he doesn't, so I don't believe he is. He might try asking Tim O'Reilly some questions about where he gets his ideas from, when he's on stage with him at Mix 06. I won't be there to ask the questions, nor will any of my friends.
River of Meme-O-Randum: "I just had one of those AHA moments, when something clicked into place, and the only question is how to share the idea, because this is one that's just begging to be shared."
One year ago today it was 1000 days since I quit smoking.
Steve Gillmor: "Oh really? No, O'Reilly." Snark!
Okay I have the disk-image-maker working, and I've built a DMG for the OPML Editor. Admittedly, this is probably not the final look for the 1.0 package.
Google is "pleased to announce an alpha release of RSS feeds on Google Video." They announced it on a Yahoo mail list, where a Yahoo extension to RSS is discussed. How's that for cooperation. (No sarcasm.) It's even better because this is exactly where Apple could have worked with others in the industry, instead of blazing their own trail. One of the guidelines in my Busy Developers Guide: "Avoid using elements in namespaces when there are already core elements that do the same thing." I've added a #6 to the list. "Use namespaces that are already in use by others before inventing new ones." This is what Google is doing that Apple didn't do.
Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder: "Could you picture a Jew deciding that he has the right to kill but you have no right to draw an insulting picture?"
At the 106 Miles talk on Wednesday night, I was asked to suggest some ideas for new tech businesses, so I went through the list that I had recommended to Yahoo. One idea I should have mentioned but didn't, is probably the most valuable and least glamorous. A web-based accounting app for families. Such a simple idea and so totally needed by many millions of people. Quicken is getting old, and it's hard to set up and it isn't accessible over the web. When that's done, do one for small business. Along the way either get acquired by or acquire a bank to make it even easier for your users.
Narrative: Tech support with MindVision Software.
Let's have a Scripting News dinner at La Costa on Sunday night to celebrate the return of the Sopranos, among other things.
Jeff Jarvis on BloggerCon. "I've wished for every conference since to make its mission bringing out the wisdom of the room rather than treating the room as a mere crowd."
Amyloo on the organization of the OPML Editor user community. She's sorting things out.
Nick Carr mis-states my point of view in his piece today about the value of meme-trackers, but I don't disagree with his basic premise. That's one of the reasons I'm looking forward to hearing Markoff talk about elitism in the blogosphere on the 19th. Too often critics of amateur media think we all buy into all that everyone with a blog says. Of course that's a fallacy since many of the blog critics use blogs to be criticial of blogs. Hey even I've noted that the blogosphere can be a more rabid pack of hunting hyenas than the pros are -- it happens -- all too frequently. People are people. The new media has potential to make things better, a potential that hasn't been realized yet.
Forbes Magazine list of billionaires. Bill Gates is #1 with $50 billion.
Google acquired Writely, a browser-based word processor.
Scott Karp: "If search only represents 5% of online media time, it shouldn't have 40% of the dollars."
Last night's talk was good, off the top of my head, two things were memorable. The guy who designed OpenSearch at A9 was there, a product that at first I didn't get (and said so) and then got and liked (and also said so). Everyone likes to talk about the calls they got right, but unless you make mistakes, you never took a risk, so I prefer to make them, and then correct them, and I think this is a good practice. The second thing is the name of a company that a guy told me about after the talk. MediaMelon. Now that's a good name, and I don't know why. I guess I felt like eating some melon when I heard the name. Melon is juicy and sweet, but not too sweet. It's healthy and fresh, not something you eat every day. I suggested that as his company grew there would be people who would urge him to change the name, but I said he shouldn't. It's a fun name. Melons are cool. You don't hear about companies named after melons every day.
Squash: Poor Web 2.0 fools. "This VC is a complete and utter twit."
A few simple ideas I call A Busy Developer's Guide to RSS 2.0. Comments and suggestions are welcome.
Nick Bradbury's BDG for RSS.
Jens Alfke, one of Apple's "inventors" stopped by to explain how there's no real generosity in the tech business. I can see where he might get that idea, working where he does.
Mike Arrington has screen shots of Google's new calendar.
Besty Devine: "I drove up to NH today to go digging around the Court Clerk's offices in Federal District Court, to see what lawyers for convicted phone-jamming conspirator James Tobin are up to in exchange for the $2.3 million they've been paid (so far) by the Republican National Committee."
I've been looking for the perfect day to run this picture of the 3 hot babes of the California web, and I guess today is the perfect day.
Over the years I've learned that you can't lead by asking people to do things. It doesn't work that way. If I want you all to paint your fences white, I can't say "Wouldn't it be great if your fences were white?" I could go on and on explaining how nice white fences look, how they last longer, and how if all the fences were the same color your property values would go up. No one wants to go first. So you have to do it yourself, even if you don't have a fence, even if you don't have a house.
Not too long ago I suggested that if you wanted to make RSS 2.0 better one could instead create what's called a profile of RSS. I was introduced to the term by Andrew Layman, in 2001, who was then one of Microsoft's chief XML architects. At the time we were trying to get a complicated protocol to interop, and I suggested that perhaps it would be easier if we looked at a small subset, instead of trying to get interop across what had become a far-reaching protocol. So we came out with what we called a Busy Developer's Guide, or BDG, and it proved to be quite popular.
So if I want a BDG for RSS 2.0 -- it's the white fences again. I bet if I write my own profile of RSS 2.0, others will get inspired do their own. Who does he think he is doing a profile of RSS. We'll show him! Ours will be better. And I'll be chuckling to myself thinking that it worked, I got what I wanted.
New idea: Ray Ozzie's clipboard for the web. "Let's say you have two sites both of which understand calendar data. I want to move an appointment from one site to another."
Danny Sullivan: "Having your page be described, sometimes inaccurately, by a third party, with no recourse, isn't acceptable."
Look at this, grokking is happening. Lisa, I call it the World Outline, analog of The World Wide Web. del.icio.us is on the path to the World Outline, so is tagging. DMOZ and Yahoo are single instances of the technology that's about the burst forth, in an open way, around OPML 2.0.
An interesting discussion about DMOZ has started in the comments on yesterday's Scripting News.
The March 19 CyberSalon in Berkeley is about elitism in the blogosphere. Should be quite interesting, as the elite of print publishing apply their standards to the brightest lights in the blogging world.
Notes on icon bitmaps for nodetypes on the Mac.
A delayed (positive) reaction to my post about mothers as the paragon of cluelessness.
One year ago today I went to see the Mets play in spring training in Port St Lucie, FL.
Want to make a million dollars?
Implement a search engine that accumulates all the stories pointed to by the top meme-engines over time. That way if I think of something I saw on Tailrank or Memeorandum a year ago, I just go to the universal meme search engine, type in the phrase, and get back the hits.
I always wondered what would come next after the meme-engines, and now I think this may be it. It's one level more concentrated than the meme-engines. Sure most of the nutrients are lost (to pick up on a Scoble analogy), but that's where the fun is. One pill makes you larger, one pill makes you small.
Make it run off their RSS feeds. You'd have to build it quickly (get there first) and build it to scale, because it would be pretty popular and would grow fast. If Gabe or Kevin moves quickly maybe they could do it themselves.
I really liked many of the young entrepreneurs I met at Under the Radar last week, esp the two box.net guys, so very young and directed and smart. But Under the Radar is hardly what they are, how about caught in the cross-hairs, in the middle of the next big thing, and destined to be swamped in all the hype over Google's G-drive. Can they emerge with an intact business, or will they get washed up on shore? I'm pretty sure they're going to have to find a nice hill to camp out on, that the market they're in right now is too big for a company that's so small and two guys that are so young (even though they are really smart and high energy).
My thought for them is Go Vertical. Find an app, preferably a new one, that works much better with integrated net storage. Really get creative. Pick something wild and wacky, something that a BigCo like Google would never shoot for. Look at how bland all their new products are. There's a reason for that. Once a company gets really big, they are always second-guessing themselves. Only very ordinary ideas survive that process. So Google isn't likely to copy you until it's way too late, only if your idea is truly unusual.
I gave Young Aaron a few ideas, but ultimately it's going to depend on the quality of his thinking, if they're going to make it past the next few months. From now-on the Google cloud will be darkening the market they're in now. They're going to come to hate that cloud (unless Google or someone else buys them first).
Essay: What is an unconference? "If you swapped the people on stage with an equal number chosen at random from the audience, the new panelists would effectively be smarter, because they didn't have the time to get nervous, to prepare PowerPoint slides, to make lists of things they must remember to say, or have overly grandiose ideas about how much recognition they are getting."
Mark Evans, a reporter in Toronto, suggests that we actually put four random people from the former audience on stage. That's not exactly an unconference, but it is an interesting idea.
I got locked out of Gmail again. Oy. Just checking email, sending some email. I'll fill out the form again. Sigh.
AOL: "The Open AIM program enables companies, communities and developers to sell advertising and access, and to facilitate up to 250,000 log-ins per day or two million log-ins per month, without additional licensing requirements."
Late last week I got an email from Ray Ozzie at Microsoft, and like the discussion we had about SSE late last year, this one promises to result in a new idea entering the web app space.
Wired: "I just hope when they're done remodeling our living rooms, we'll still be able to use our legally purchased content the way we want to."
N.Y.T.i.m.e.s article about R.S.S.
It was a subtle change at Google, but a profound one. It happened some time ago, without any fanfare, and at first confused me, so I haven't written about it until now. But it's major. Here's the deal.
On some subjects, where there is a DMOZ editor, the editor's descriptions of each page, right or wrong, biased or not, are included with each entry. I'm not going to give examples, because if I do, people will focus on the examples, not the practice.
DMOZ has a bad rep for having editors with conflicts of interest. And it's exclusive, unlike Wikipedia which at least has battles (never thought I'd say that) of people with conflicts, DMOZ doesn't even have dissent among conflicted people, only one point of view exists, because there's only one editor for each category.
Because Google accepts DMOZ as authoritative, it also accepts the conflicts of the editors as authoritative. Bzzzt, that's a bug. The opportunities for payoffs and bribery are incredible, so incredible it must be happening. No one supervises the editors. That Google is willing to give them editorial control over what Google says is surprising, to say the least. It's almost unforgiveable.
Basically Google has become an About.com, but with much more power, and without the scrutiny. They know they're doing it, and so do people who are watching Google, like me. How do we have a discussion about this?
OPML Editor: Changes to prefs in Community menu.
BBC has the Oscars. Crash was best picture. Brokeback Mountain won the director's award. Reese Witherspoon won best actress for Walk The Line (she was awesome) and Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote (ditto). I don't think Crash was the best picture, I would have gone for Syriana. George Clooney won supporting actor for that, and Rachel Weisz won supporting actress for Constant Gardener.
I had lunch today with Aaron Levie of Box.Net. He was one of the presenters at the conference on Thursday. One of the things we talked about is their storage API. Let's look at how it might be used to connect users of the OPML Editor.
The award for highest snark-to-information ratio goes to Nicholas Carr, who constantly sets the bar for would-be snarkmasters. These days you could rename Memeorandum to Snarksforall, with one blogger trying to top another for the most vacuous post. The latest controversy is whether Scoble knows his ass from his elbow. Let me know when this is settled.
Isn't it odd that the post above made it onto the ladder at Memeorandum? It's Sunday, so nothing is happening and a snark back at some snark, what we used to call "watching them watch us watching them" before all the newbies arrived (and arrived and arrived and on and on), is all that's going on in the tech blogosphere. That could be good. I did post a comment to Nick Carr's award-winning post explaining that of course Jeff Jarvis does get it, despite the snark, and I hope that isn't over-looked in all the good-natured Sunday morning poking.
DropDMG is the "easiest way to create Mac OS X disk images."
A new feature this morning for OPML weblogs.
Bpedro is editing his blog with OmniOutliner. It's as easy as I thought it would be. Just save the file in OPML in the right folder and the rest is automatic.
University of Wisconsin howto on podcasting.
The podsafe music movement gets a surprising boost from Tower Records. Nice!
A couple of observations on Thursday's conference. 1. There was a time, not too long ago, when a conference about technology would be all about Bill Gates. He'd be the elephant in every room, in the middle of every presentation and every conversation. "What about Microsoft?" has been replaced by "What is your business model?" Either they were going to kill you or buy you. They were the menace that was everywhere. This conference was different, even though it was held in a Microsoft office, they weren't mentioned (except by me, with irony that they weren't being mentioned) once. 2. I'm so tired of people talking about how their mother wouldn't understand something. I've been hearing this for 20 years, and it's sexist and ageist, and wrong and unfair, and how about let's get rid of this offensive idea. I'd never say that about my mother, who has a PhD, and is pretty smart. I certainly wouldn't want to encourage her helplessness! At one point I leaned over to Tara Hunt and expressed this sentiment. Then I realized that she's a mom, and said so. I wonder how many mothers were in the room and how they feel about always being held up as the paragon of cluelessness.
Doc Searls: "The only blog I read every day is Dave Winer's." Wow. That's nice. It's funny, I keep missing Doc. This year I'm going to PC Forum for the first time in ten years. This is the first time he's missed a PC Forum. At least we visit virtually, I read every post on this blog. Today Doc snarks back at Ryan King's snark at David Berlind, which is right, although the camp concept has run its course, imho. I'd like to see Doc apply his desnarking logic everywhere, not just where and when it's convenient. Anyway, to Doc, here's the pointer you're looking for.
One of my ego-filters caught an article in Red Herring, and strangely, the article has no byline. I found out later that this is a policy of the publisher, who doesn't want his competitors to hire away his reporters. In this case I'm pretty sure the author is Liz Gannes, who I met at Thursday's conference. I actually probably met her when she was six years old because she's the daughter of an old friend -- Stu Gannes, who now teaches at Stanford. It's a funny feeling to be so old that daughters of friends of yours write articles where you're quoted. I guess that's yet another thing I'll have to learn to live with.
Amyloo is working on the download page for the new OPML Editor support site. Another project we should start soon is a directory of tools that understand OPML. It would be a perfect demo of OPML, don't you think?
With my 23-inch Cinema display I now fully understand why power Mac users are so into keyboard shortcuts. You spend so much time moving the mouse from one side of the screen to the other, from top to bottom. It makes you wonder why anyone thought a mouse was a time-saving innovation. Seriously, it's a huge PITA.
Ryan King says Mashup Camp was a shark-jump.
One of the next things on my to-do list is to learn how to tweak up Macintosh DMG's so they tell the user what to do when they open them. I love the way they have big text and colorful graphics that say: Drag this to the Applications folder. Yes, most of my users know what to do, but I'd still like to put the color in there. Is there a howto somewhere that explains how to?
Scott Karp: "Bloggers are independent publishers, and the best bloggers are successful and effective because they do what the best Old Media publishers do -- consistently provide quality content that is interesting and useful to their readers."
Mike Arrington: Newsvine is Perfect.
Jeff Jarvis, in London, says that Reuters' CEO gets it. Seems like there are three stages: 1. media hackers (early stages), then 2. compete with big media (now) and finally, 3. become the media (always was inevitable).
BBN: "Evil Genius says boring ads made his nuts fall off."
Steve Rubel says the center of gravity is shifting.
Ted Leonsis: "Whenever new media tries to replicate old media, it tends to fail. When it takes advantage of the unique social and personal behaviors of this new medium, it does pretty well."
Essay: "Every conference emanating from Silicon Valley or its environs should have state of the art networking. For that to happen we have to define what that is, and the only way to define it is by doing it."
New York Times podcasts.
I took notes during the day on my WordPress blog.
Under the Radar was an excellent conference, but the wifi at the Microsoft campus in Mountain View was disabled by only allowing access on port 80, so I wasn't able to update Scripting News (my editing system uses a different port) and I wasn't able to use my aggregator (it does too). I'll write about the conference in the morning.
I'm spending the day at Under the Radar in Mountain View. Depending on the wifi that means not very much, or quite a lot happening here.
I was trying to send an email as I was heading out the door, and got a message saying my session had expired and I needed to log on again. Okay, so I went to the top level of Gmail, preparing to enter my username and password, and got this sarcastic screen instead (Lockdown in sector 4, geez Louise), saying my mail would be inaccessibe for up to 24 hours. Serves me right for choosing Google for my main mail address. I can't be 24 hours without email. (PS: It's only the web interface that's turned off, I can get in through the POP account.)
Doc Searls reviews the choices for Macintosh sound.
Heather Green: "There isn't a huge amount of money to be made just on podcasts and that the disruptive nature of podcasts lie in the fact that most people will be doing them for themselves and their friends and families." Amen.
Private Lives, March 1955: "Joan Crawford's power -- her abuse of people who refuse to bow to her, her control of the casting, direction, and production of her pictures, is the disgrace of Hollywood."
In case you think the blogosphere is mean-spirited, we still have a ways to go before we match Hollywood. I'm pretty sure we're going there anyway.
Announcement: "The public review of OPML 2.0 begins."
OPML 2.0 is easy to understand if you're intelligent, have common sense and are patient. I explain, in this podcast, why the improvements in OPML 2.0 will help users.
Here's what the CIO Insight interview with me looks like. Pretty funny! Do I really look like that?
When Joan Crawford saw a picture of herself at age 69 or so, she said "If that's what I look like you'll never see me again." They told her that's what she looks like and she was never seen in public again.
Nicholas Carr: "Edgeio enters a crowded market with a ton of pizzazz and a gram of strategy."
This can't possibly be true, but if it is, I'm going to rename my podcast the Morning Coffee Notes Podcast Show, and find out whose lawyer is doing this.
I love the way people are not buying Apple's horse crap this time. For crying out loud, it's a g-d stereo. I had one of those when I was 15 and that was 35 years ago!
Meanwhile, the mini-crisis in RSS appears to be over, as the group that was proposing to be the authority on the evolution of RSS has turned, and is now producing a best practices document, which is totally consistent with the roadmap because anyone can produce a best practices doc, Uncle Juan in Beirut can produce one, so can Aunt Alice in Bucharest. You can pick your plan, they can compete in the market, and everyone gets a choice. We live with the imperfections of RSS 2.0, because that's the way life is. Nothing and no one is exactly as we'd like them to be. Whew! That was hard work. Glad it's over.
Rick Segal and I go to lunch, and he gets an email from the CEO of a blogging tools company asking why Rick is "sucking up." That is so ridiculous, and beneath comment, if it weren't so common. Have the guts to put your name on a dumb comment like that. It leads to other people being openly rude just to prove they're not sucking up, and that's totally not constructive. Let's deal with each other as mature adults, let's get out of the mode where civilized behavior is considered cowardly. In fact it's cowardly to make personal attacks like that, anonymously.
A bunch of people want to know what Marc Canter's picture is doing here on Scripting News. Easy. It's a cool picture. And when you click on it, a bigger story is revealed. More coolness! Still mysterious. That's what I like.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.