Raise your hand if you believe President Bush. I didn't think so.
ZDNet Australia: "When companies launch a brand new product it usually takes some time to weed out the niggling issues; but how many systems need to break before the situation is recognised as a disaster rather than an unfortunate blip in quality control?"
Josh Bancroft is live-blogging the birth of his second child using YoMoBlog. (!)
Scoble: "I'm boring."
Geotagging makes pages like this almost obsolete. (I couldn't arrange for it to show me all pictures taken at 451 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA, the location of the Apple Store.)
Jeff Veen has been geotagging too.
Glenn Ford, the thoughtful Hollywood leading man, died Wednesday at age 90.
Slate: "The fifth anniversary of 9/11 looms before us, and it's hard to say which artifact is gloomier: the awful memory of the attack itself (especially to those of us who witnessed the towers crumbling) or the spectacle of our leaders wrapping themselves in its legacy as if it were some tattered shroud that sanctifies their own catastrophic mistakes and demonizes all their critics."
Mike Yamamoto: Can Web 2.0 save newspapers?
Today's song: "Then I'll get on my knees and pray we don't get fooled again."
Apparently Yomoblog works with Drupal. That's cool! (An illustration of the power of community developed standards. There was no standards body that Drupal was a member of that decided this is the way we should work together. One vendor stepped up and said "This is how we're going to do it," and the next one said, "Okay we'll do it that way too.")
I honestly don't understand how people can send their computers to be repaired for a month, have them come back, not work, and then send them back again. I hear that all the time about people and their Macs. If I'm down for two days I have to buy a new computer.
Back to Macs and how they
Timidly, Scoble asks if he wasn't invited back to O'Reilly-ville because someone complained about him taking videos.
Today's song: "I'm goin' home, and when I wanna go home I'm goin' mobile."
Last year on this day: "The New Orleans Times-Picayune has switched to weblog format for breaking news."
Business 2.0: The New York Times' digital makeover.
Todd Ziegler: 9 Ways for Newspapers to Improve Their Websites.
Chris Kelley: "I hope Steve Gillmor is right that links are dead because I can't see anyway to get A URL in here."
In the Trenches: "Pretty darn sick!"
Brian Jepson: "Dave says it's short for Your Mobile Weblog, but I think it's short for Yo! Moblog!"
Today I'd like to share a tool I wrote that allows me to write and edit blog posts using a mobile device. I knew I'd have to have this tool as soon as I found myself carrying a Blackberry at times when I'd usually have my black MacBook with me.
If you visit that page, which is designed to work on a mobile device (it'll look crunched up on a desktop or laptop) you'll be asked to enter several bits of information (it may make sense to gather them in advance).
1. The address of your weblog. It must support the Metaweblog API and Really Simple Discoverability (RSD). Most WordPress, TypePad, Movable Type and Manila sites do, we've tested the service with these tools with good results. If you're not sure whether your blog is compatible, give it a try. Important note: If there are problems please report them on the Blackberry-Bloggers mail list, which has been set up for that purpose.
2. Your email address. You know the drill. We'll send a confirming email to this account, with a magic URL that validates your account. So you must be able to receive email at this address.
3. The username and password for your weblog. These are the two bits you use to log onto WordPress, TypePad or Manila. You must provide these so yomoblog.com can post on your behalf.
Click Submit, check your mail, click the link, click again, and enter your email address and password. (This is the tricky part. The username here is your email address, not the username for your blogging software.)
From then on you'll visit:
Which is also designed for a mobile screen and will look scrunched on a desktop or laptop.
A few notes. When you delete a post, you are only deleting the copy on our server, the post on your blog is not deleted. This is a safety precaution.
It does support categories, which appear as checkboxes on the form, which is long. Scroll down to see the checkboxes and other less-often used user interface elements. There's also a list of previous posts, which you can edit whenever you like by clicking on the name of the post, and then editing the text in the form.
Yomoblog.com works on any web-enabled mobile device, not just a Blackberry.
This is experimental software. Please back up your data. We are not responsible for any loss in service, or loss of data entered into the system. Will not use your personal information for any purpose other than to allow you to create and edit posts on your weblog. The security of the system is lightweight, don't trust it for sensitive information. We make no guarantees about performance, uptime, and we may cancel the service at any time, for any reason, at our discretion.
A page listing recent blog posts:
YoMoBlog stands for Your Mobile Weblog.
If you use it, I hope you enjoy it!
I know it may be hard to believe this, but I don't wish your company harm, or anyone at your company including the top guy. However, it wasn't until the last round of BS that I realized why there's such a big disconnect, and I thought I should share it, in case any of you are tired of the disconnect too.
Even if you don't care about mending fences with me, there's a bigger problem, and it's going to spill over, I think pretty soon. You can feel it out there. Hire a consultant if you don't believe me. It's worth checking out. A dam is about to break. There are a lot of people pissed at O'Reilly, every time you do another exclusive event, more people are getting angry. But so far they're not saying anything publicly because your company has said, clearly, that if you say anything negative about them, you won't be invited. Enough people still have some hope that they don't want to be the one to say how they feel about it. But there's lots of back channel grumbling.
Me, I am an ornery dude. If someone tells me that I have to shut up or I won't get invited, my response is to tell you to fuck off, in public, loudly. I value my independence more than anything. I don't want an invite to FOO Camp next year, or the year after. If you want me to sign something that says I will never under any circumstances come to FOO Camp, I'll sign it. So I'm not kissing up here, I don't want an invite.
But what I do want is to avoid a bloody mess. We have work to do here. We have a bubble-pop to avoid. We need to start doing some real investing in technology, not the BS that passes for technology investing that's been going on for the last decade.
So if you could take Tim aside, and say look, this isn't working, we have to grow bigger, and let people say what they think about us, and our role in the industry. We're not going to be able to keep a lid on it much longer, and it's better to let it out in a way where people know we're listening and we want to work with them.
I had an experience like this with Apple in 1997. The company was in disarray, the market was sinking fast. Craig Cline, who was running the Seybold Conference at the time asked me to chair a panel entitled "Can Apple Survive?" I accepted the assignment with gusto. This is exactly what we needed to get out in the open. But Apple controlled the conversation and they tried to sabotage us. Well we had the discussion anyway, ask anyone who was there, it was a real good thing we had it. A lot of people were very concerned, and rightly so. By getting the angst out of the way, we were able to focus on what was working in the Mac market, and that played some role in the revival of Apple. Not a very famous role, but I think an important one.
We need to get all hands involved in what we used to call Web 2.0. It's time for it to stop being exclusive, and it's way past time for one company to be controlling who's supposed to participate. I've totally earned the respect of this community, and dammit it's time O'Reilly to show some of that. You've behaved really inappropriately for a company of your stature. Let's get past this, and let's start building, and forget whatever it is that's been in our way. I posted a very generous invite to Tim two days ago, I've been reaching out this way for years, now it's about time you guys responded, don't you think?
Yeah I know it's a long shot, but I want to be able to say I did everything I could to fix the problem. It's worth trying to fix, and pride (which believe it or not I have a lot of) isn't something that should get in the way.
And with Eric Schmidt on Apple's board, not much chance of Google launching an iTunes killer.
I'm still hoping Republicans for Cut and Run takes off as a community project. Let's look for Republicans who have decided we've wasted enough lives and money on trying to turn Iraq into the United States. If you participate in the political discussion, let other people know we're looking for Republicans who have or are likely to speak out on the war. It seems with the election approaching there will be more.
Last night I went to the Oakland Coliseum to see the A's beat the Red Sox, 9-0.
Om Malik: "Today's news of Google CEO Eric Schmidt joining the board of directors of Apple Computer portends potential headaches not just for Microsoft, but for anyone with digital media ambitions."
Yesterday, perhaps in an awkard way, I asked a question, curious to know how Feedburner calculates the number of readers they report for a site like TechCrunch. Clearly the number of hits they're getting for Mike's feed must be going up, and perhaps the number of unique IP addresses is going up too. Do they count all the readers at Microsoft as 1 subscriber? Is that just the number of times the feed was requested per day? How then would they factor in people who read it more than once. My aggregator reads it 24 times a day, am I counted as 24 "readers?" Bloglines just reads it once for N people who subscribe, how do they factor that in? Just curious to know what the method is. Since no one has to sign up for anything they can't directly count the number of subscribers.
Mark Fletcher writes that Bloglines reports the number of subscribers each time it requests the feed.
Lorenzo Viscanti: "Feedburner's count is just an approximation."
Feedburner: "Subscribers is an approximate measure of the number of individuals currently subscribed to your feed."
Revisiting another question I asked clumsily, about restrictions on speech that you accept when you participate in an invitation-only event, I posted a comment on David Weinberger's blog this evening that attempts to explain the issue in 1-2-3 fashion. To be clear, although the questions are about Foo Camp, it's really more general.
EJ Dionne: "By Election Day, how many Republican candidates will have come out against the Iraq war or distanced themselves from the administration's policies?"
Duncan Riley names "kvetch" the word of the day.
kevetch.com is Derek Powazek's weblog, since 1995.
Four years ago today: "I would love it if the source for MORE were released. I think it would be a humantarian contribution of the first order, but it's not mine to make."
Without comment, here's a recent post from Tim O'Reilly.
David [Weinberger] -- I'm curious about the ambivalence you express here. It sounds to me like you're trying to curry favor with the well-known critics of FOO (and obviously, you failed) rather than giving us real insight.
Yes, FOO Camp is exclusive in the sense that it's invite-only, but if you're honest, you'll have to admit that it's one of the most diverse technical conferences you're ever likely to attend. We make a real effort to invite people from different technical communities, people who ought to know each other, but don't. One of our goals is to create new synapses in the global brain, so to speak. This is way more diverse than an open-to-all comers event that draws from the same community. And it's precisely because we limit attendance that we're able to manage that creative mix. Do you bake a cake by using whatever amount of flour, eggs, sugar, and chocolate you happen to have in your kitchen? There's a range of experiment, but in the end, you control the mix because you know that some combinations are essential for the cake to work at all.
This is not to say that an open-to-all comers event can't also work (assuming you have either a narrow topic that doesn't draw a huge crowd, or else a venue that can hold all comers, and a set of goals that will work for a very large event.) But it would be a very different kind of event, and for our purposes, much less successful.
Stop worrying about what Winer thinks. He's perfectly happy to attend exclusive events, as long as he's invited. He has a grudge against me, for reasons only he understands, and despite his many other virtues, on this subject, he just needs to be ignored.
There are lots of ways to do great events. FOO is one. Bar Camp is another (and we're honored to be imitated, and in fact have invited some of the Bar Camp people this year to be sure that they learn as much as they can about how we do it.)
One year ago today: "Good morning. It seems New Orleans has been spared the disaster. That's cool, it's a very nice city, and so far has been totally lucky. Knock wood, praise Murphy, seems the luck has held."
New OPML Editor feature: Portable rivers.
Liz Gannes: "Flickr photos can now be geo-tagged via a drag-and-drop interface with Yahoo Maps."
I was playing with typography for my new mobile blogging service, and thought it looked kind of cooool.
I've had the same problem with my MacBook spontaneously and instantly shutting down. My machine has always rebooted. I thought it was because I was watching a movie, that seemed to be when it would happen. The movie was Themla and Louise, btw.
On David Weinberger's blog: "Come on Tim, let's get beyond whatever it is that's in our way."
Mike Arrington boasts 100K readers of his RSS feed. I've always wondered how he knows how many people are subscribed to a feed. You don't have to register to read a feed. So what does the number mean?
Steve Gillmor: Beam me up, Sergey.
Here's a CNN story from June 16 with two Republican congressmen sponsoring a resolution calling for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. So the Republican strategy of cut and run has been on the record since June. Not sure when the Republican strategists started tarring Democrats with the term, was it after June 16? This is the first item on cutandrunnow.com, a chronology of declining Republican support for the war in Iraq. (Will Cate sends an email noting that the CNN story is from 2005, which certainly predates the "cut and run" sliming tactic. Bad bad Republican strategists, I wonder if they know they're sliming their own people!
3/28/03: "We can't win the war in Iraq."
Scoble kvetches that the tech blogosphere is paying too much attention to Google's aspirations in the Office market. Not here. I don't care about Office software if it comes from Microsoft, Google or God. I know a lot of people use it, but you can't touch the stuff if you care about lock-in. Office Wars are all about who locks you in the nicest trunk. I prefer to ride up front, even if the ride is rough and the door doesn't stay closed without a bit of rope.
BlogTalk, Vienna, Oct 2-3.
Wired: "Lockheed Martin's advanced Skunk Works unit is designing a small, 12-seat passenger jet that would travel at 1,200 mph (Mach 1.8) but which would produce only a whisper of the annoying crack once emitted by the retired Concorde."
I've seen a few blog posts asking why would you want to post from a Blackberry? After all, you could carry a laptop with you, and of course typing on a laptop keyboard is much easier than typing on a PDA keyboard (it is, no argument there). And maybe it's a good idea to take a break from blog posting sometimes, maybe it's a good thing that you can't post from every conceivable place.
Rather than quickly respond in a comment, I want to respond here, where I can create a list and add to it over time.
1. I think it's important to flip the question around, because when you do it helps reveal the why of it. Is email the only form of communication that makes sense when using a Blackberry? Well, maybe for some people, but for others, who may have to communicate with a workgroup, or their family, or create an RSS feed for their observations away from work or home, using weblog software makes a lot of sense, not to exclusion of email, but in addition to it.
2. Okay, great, but you can use email to post to a weblog, why not just do that? Well, I tried it. In 2001, I programmed Radio 8, which shipped in early 2002, to receive blog posts via email. The problem with that is that unlike email, I like to edit my blog posts, make spelling corrections, add items to a list, reorganize, prioritize, etc. When you're using email to post to a blog, it's a lot like email (surprise!) -- your first version is your last. Again, email is useful, I send emails all the time, but blogging is useful too.
3. To the point that a laptop can go with you everywhere a Blackberry can, that's obviously not true. I have my Blackberry with me when I'm in line at the supermarket, I almost never have a laptop with me then. But that doesn't mean I don't get ideas while standing in line. A few other places Blackberries go that laptops don't: ski lifts, restaurants, cabs, buses and yes, bathrooms. (Someone had to say that, glad it's out of the way.) Jackie Danicki writes that she blogged "from the Vatican during New Year's Eve Mass, with the Pope a few feet in front of me." You could also blog during a disaster like a hurricane or after an earthquake.
4. Bonus point. People have even said they tried reading news on a Blackberry and it was too cumbersome. That's why we have to bang the drum so loudly and even then a few days later people didn't get the message: With a simple change in the way news is presented, it works. It's not a technical breakthrough, it's a usability improvement, but it makes a big difference. Try it out before you dismiss it, and don't try it on a desktop or laptop, try it on a PDA. Here's the New York Times in this format, and the BBC.
Washington Post: "Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), once an ardent supporter of the war in Iraq, said yesterday that the Bush administration should set a time frame for withdrawing U.S. troops."
And now that we have our first quote, here's the site.
The second half of today's Meet the Press was truly wonderful. First I have to say the Republican tactic of labeling Democrats as being for "Cut and Run" is disgusting, it's dishonest, I can't say I've heard a single Democrat politician say that we should get out of Iraq, but everyone in both parties is thinking about it. Bush is thinking about it as he explains why he thinks we should stay the course (he calls it "adapt to win"). Isn't it obvious that it's time to cut and run? Anyway, I couldn't believe my ears when the two Republicans on the analyst panel, Kate O'Beirne and Robert Novak, started saying of course it's time to get out of Iraq, and that real Republicans were against going into Iraq in the first place! Then I heard about Christopher Shays, Republican representative from Connecticut, on his way back from Iraq who called Russert before the show to be sure he knew that he thought it was time to Cut and Run. There it was, the Republicans were crumbling, in real-time. It wasn't the Democrats who were saying Let's Cut and Run, it was the Republicans! Oh is that beautiful. Who's going to be the first to run on the slogan: Cut and Run.. For America.
I couldn't help myself, I had to buy CutAndRunNow.com. I'm going to put a Republican campaign site there, listing all the Republican quotes that come along that even hint of cutting and running. I expect an overflowing site.
Ray Edwards: "One thing that I have noticed about the OPML editor/Newsriver combo is that it changes the way I blog."
Dennis from WAP Review: "The Rivers are 50-75K for the main page. Ordinary mobile phones like the RAZR for example, and just about anything without a keyboard or touchscreen have a page size limit of between 10 and 30K."
Bernie Goldbach, via email: "All 3G phones sold in Europe deliver over-the-air playback of MP3 files that make the experience feel as though it's streaming service. I pay around $60 a month for podcasts that get me to and from work. I'm limited to 2 gigs of transfer traffic a month before I start paying around $1 a megabyte for the privilege of getting podcasts 'live.'"
Bob Stepno: "Back when Jimmy Carter was president, anyone with a big computer downstairs and thousands of dollars in wire service subscriptions could read a daily 'river of news' on our computer screens."
It doesn't take much to amuse me. I think it's cool that there's a picture of Jimmy Carter on Techmeme.
Thanks Marc for the kind words.
Actually, there is lots that's new in what I'm doing now, except it was new in 1999, when I was doing it for the first time. And as you can see from Bob Stepno's piece, the concept is as old as journalism. He's saying the same thing that Paul Kedrosky said, without being condescending. (We should give awards to people who find a way of giving feedback without attacking someone on a personal level. Stepno, who is a gentle person, would rate high.)
Some wise old fart once said, "Everything on the Internet is just like something else. Or if it's any good it's just like everything else." So, we've been having this discussion about whether or not something is new, for a long time. And it's such a waste of time, because whether it's new or not is hardly the issue. Doc Searls gets that and says it well. What's new is that people are getting it and they're happy! I think sometimes that's a big problem for some of the kvetchers and complainers, they just don't want anyone to be happy. If you're feeling happy don't worry, we can fix that!
I love that one of the jackasses who says I'm an idiot also happens to be squatting on the "generic" domain in this area. Yeah I'm working for the asshole, but he isn't smart enough to avoid kicking me in the ass as I make him a bunch of money. Isn't that the height of stupidity? (Don't worry, I bought newsrivr.com, just for fun.)
People said, in 2004, that podcasting was an instant success that could only happen in Internet Time. Uh huh. Except that we started pushing it in January 2001, and didn't arrive at the right pitch until the summer of 2004. Of course the world had to change too, it helped that there were lots of iPods and people were receptive to thinking about new ways to use MP3.
We were excited about WAP in January 2000, and we (UserLand) made it so Manila automatically generated WAP and WML from each site's home page. Where did that go? Nowhere, because no one was using mobile stuff then, they were just having conferences about it.
You have to stick with ideas if you want to actually deliver. No doubt there are people with khaki pants and blue shirts, MBAs, and mid-range BMWs, raising money right now with VCs to do what you see me doing here. They don't like old Jewish guys who use their hands when they talk. I think they're scared we might hug them. Anyway, some of the khaki dudes will get rich, and some of them will meet me at a TechCrunch party one day and thank me for the work I'm doing now.
Your crazy uncle,
PS: Sneak preview of tomorrow's big feature.
Heads-up: NYTimesRiver now includes podcasts. The new feeds were added at about 9PM this evening, so most of the items in the river now are podcasts. This should even out over the next few hours. If you want to listen to the podcast, click on the sound icon. Note that some mobile devices can't play MP3s; this unfortunately includes the Blackberry.
Something to ponder. How close the various PDA-makers are to something that would kick the iPod in the behind. We just need a quick way to get an MP3 over HTTP. These cell phones, with built-in speakers even, are good at audio.
NewsRiver feature: Eliminate duplicate stories?
NewsRiver feature: Goodbye annoying "web bugs!"
Andrew Baron: "Google Video is set up so that you can actually link to any second in the video."
I learned something today on my walk that I did not know. Writely, the Google-acquired web-based word processor, can generate RSS. This I have to check out. If it works well, that means that Writely is actually a blogging tool. Could it possibly be that cool? I'll report back. BTW, it came from the NY Times Tech Talk podcast.
Postscript: Hold on to your hats, Writely supports the Metaweblog API. That's awesome!
Library Camp East, Darien CT, Sept 25.
Phil Windley: Which Mobile Device Should I Buy?
Earlier this week, while trying to sip from a firehose of feedback, Ed Vielmetti pointed out that the BBC river derived from their UK Edition, and that there was more in the World Edition. So it went on my to-do list, and this morning I was able to find them and now they're tributaries.
David Weinberger: "If FOO doesn't make an effort to be diverse, the old boys will just naturally become better friends because they spent 2.25 days camping, eating and peeing together."
As long as you keep carrying their water you'll be peeing with them. The minute you say something honest and honorable, you're out. This is why the tech industry is so rotten.
Tatoo this on your forehead: It only works when it's open to all comers. No matter how much of an "effort" O'Reilly makes, a closed community is still closed.
BTW, keeping it closed is a perfect way to be sure you've got a bubble. If you want sustainable growth, you have to keep investing in strange new ideas. That's what I told John Doerr just after the last bubble burst, but he didn't listen. You guys aren't listening now.
By keeping it nice and closed, and keeping everyone you invite too scared to say what's obvious, you make sure that this little euphoria you think you're having will pop at the first sign of trouble. There's nothing sustainable about what you all are doing.
You need to invest as you're spending, but there's none of that going on. If you have any guts insist that Tim ask me to keynote his Web 2.0 conference and I'll lay out a roadmap for investment. That'll be a good first step toward insurance against this being a bubble.
In a perfect world every item would have a unique guid.
In a better than perfect world, not only would they all have unique guids, but they'd all be permalinks.
In an even better world, if an item appeared in two or more feeds it would have the same guid (and it would also be a permalink).
But it's not a perfect world, and even if you put it in the spec that it must work the best possible way (as the Atom 1.0 spec did) there's no guarantee that it will actually work that way. But it sure would be nice if it did!
We have to live in a less than perfect world. I know many people think I'm omniscient and all-powerful and it's my fault that the world isn't perfect, so go ahead and blame me, if it makes you feel better, but that's not the point of this piece (although my detractors will surely stop right there).
You can do a decent job of figuring out if you've seen an item before and not show it to the user if you look at the title of the story. Like the situation I describe above, it ain't perfect, but then neither is anything else in the world.
Why the title works...
I noticed that headline writers tend to be creative, they don't come up with different headlines when a story appears in more than one feed, so I tried using that as the guid, it worked! Poof there go the dupes.
Now I'm sure you'll miss some articles as headlines get re-used, but I've found that it's much more likely to go the other way. As a day goes by the editors play with the titles, making slight, subtle editorial changes. I have a table that tracks this, and it can get really humorous. An inside peek into the mind of an editor.
Anyway I thought I should share this bit. Have a great Saturday!
A moderated mail list for people who blog and want to use a Blackberry, Treo or other web-enabled mobile device to create and edit blog posts. I'm starting this group to test some software I'm working on, but it can be used to discuss anything related to blogging and mobile devices. Please join the list if you have time in the next few days to test the software.
Harish Rao: "Nicco's recent post about his support for Senator John McCain has caused quite a lot of ruckus. We at EchoDitto disagree with his decision. While Nicco does not work for Senator McCain, his support for a possible McCain candidacy runs contrary to many of our core beliefs at EchoDitto."
Mike Arrington proposes the creation of an open API for job boards. "I don't want to have my own garden, a sort of mini monster.com. I want to be a part of an ecosystem." Amen.
Guardian: Dipping into the River of News.
I just spoke with Nicco. I don't think he really thought it through before he said he supported McCain. He's definitely not a seasoned political operative (not that I am either). I consider Nicco a friend, and I know him pretty well, and I've been listening to McCain, and I think it's a total mismatch. Almost every reasonable person can agree that there's something admirable about McCain. But he can't be the next President and solve the problems created by the current President. He is a loyal Republican. Even if he were secretly against the war, he couldn't take the steps needed to end it. And he's always said we need more troops in Iraq. Nicco worked for Howard Dean, and while there's a lot that I don't like about Dean, he got the war issue right, back in 2003. It's even clearer in 2006. For Nicco to support a pro-war candidate now is completely unreasonable, and I told him so. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this.
BTW, even Republicans can now agree that Dean got it right, no matter how galling it must be to admit you were wrong. What if we had never gone into Iraq? Would the country, the region be better off than it is now? Obviously, no matter how bad Saddam was, his crippled and contained regime was preferrable to the bloodbath that Iraq is now; and come on, we all know it's going to get much worse before it gets better, if it ever does. We're not the idiots the Republicans make us out to be. And never mind Iraq for a minute, what about the US? Isn't the President's first responsibility to America? There's no doubt we'd be better off if we weren't fighting a war in Iraq. Something to think about when pulling the lever in November.
I told Nicco he was going the wrong way. People are going to be leaving the Republican Party in droves. It's like buying a house as the market is collapsing (which I just did, btw). Buying Republican stock right now is a bad investment.
Denise Howell on legal issues raised by the rivers.
Steve Garfield is testing a Nokia 93 cell phone over wifi with the R.O.N.
Yesterday Andrew Baron and Nicco Mele met in NYC. I suspect this meeting will be recorded in history books.
Nicco is always surprising. Yesterday, I just found out, he announced he's going to work for a Republican, John McCain. Moral of the story -- be careful who you help today, they may become a Republican tomorrow. And to think Nicco is a Mets fan, and therefore, presumably has a philosophy. What now, is he going to start rooting for the Yankees? Arrrgh.
People are still saying I'm a bad person in the comments on various blog posts. It's funny how they only say that when I'm doing good, if I stay quiet and don't ship any software they aren't compelled to say how much they despise me.
When it gets my blood hot, I calm down by explaining to myself that I chose to do this work knowing that the usual people would try to hitch a ride on the flow with their negativism. That's the way it works on the net. So be it.
I chose to do it because I knew that the River of News method of reading news is vastly superior to the hunt and peck method. On mobile devices it's so much better that it leads to an AHA moment for everyone who tries it. Kind of the way outlining made building a slide show so much better in 1986 with MORE (thanks to Guy Kawasaki for that breakthrough idea).
After this loop there will be a lot more news used on mobile devices, and that will make me happy. I know because that's what's happening with podcasting right now. Every time I hear a news organization, like NPR or ABC News, say they do broadcast and podcast, there's the evidence of some good I did for the world. And I might add, for myself. I have a much richer life because the news is flowing through open formats like MP3 and RSS 2.0.
As Phil Jones suggests in a comment on this post, in the next few weeks you will indeed see a strategy emerge. The pieces will have already been invented, for sure. In many cases the invention was mine, although some people will try to say someone else did it. It won't matter because the record is out there, people who care can find out where the ideas came from. Where the software came from will be totally apparent.
If you want to understand why honest people get upset when one of my ideas clicks, read Josh Bancroft's post on the subject. I think his comment is very honest and fair, and it's what I think is behind what many other people are saying. Josh wishes he was achieving the kind of success I seem to effortlessly achieve, but it only looks effortless, it's actually a lot of work. Do a search on Scripting for river of news to see how long I've been beating this drum. Also do some checking to see how long I've been trying to gain traction with a mobile version of this weblog and those created with my software. But that said, I think I understand where Josh is coming from, and believe it or not, I often feel the same way, about many of the things I have tried to promote, only to have someone else capitalize on it. I try to find the silver lining where I can, but it is indeed frustrating. You can also find that frustration in the archive of this blog.
Josh, I suggest that we find ways to help each other. We both want an exciting future for news on mobile devices. Let's work together to get there. Life is too short to be putting obstacles in each others' way, imho.
A note for those going to O'Reilly's invite-only camp this weekend in Sebastapol. Remember, no open standards work. Can't do open work at a closed event. Otherwise, have a great time, enjoy the lovely California weather.
Announcing the Nofoo Wiki, where influential and important people who are not going to O'Reilly's FOO Camp can sign up and be cool. Who knows, if enough people sign up maybe we can do some open standards work.
Amyloo: "I'd like to come to the virtual no foo camp, but it's sort of hard for the self-esteem-challenged to self select as important and influential."
Realized I had not officially announced the BBCRiver. Works great on Blackberry, Treo, web-enabled mobile device.
USCourts.gov: "The next time you see someone pop on the headphones and get that faraway look in his or her eyes, don't be so sure it's a tune that's beguiling them. It just may be the latest oral arguments from the Seventh Circuit."
Wired: "It's easy to forget that one of the reasons people were so excited about Napster back in the day was the social networking aspect."
Netflix announces its mobile site.
Amazon surprises us again. EC2 does for computing what S3 does for storage. I'm scratching my head, in a good way. What does their virtual machine run? Their only code sample is in Java. Postscript: Colin Faulkingham sheds some light.
Jon Udell's screencast demoing EC2.
David Galbraith: "EC2 allows you to put a disk image of a Linux machine onto Amazon S3 (their remote storage service) and create a virtual machine by installing from there onto EC2."
Marc Canter notes what we've also been noting. Google's development strategy looks more and more like the one that got Microsoft in so much trouble in the 90s. We gave them perfectly good ways of moving data around, so developers could use any company's infrastructure. Google reinvents it so you can only use theirs. I recommend going some other way, for now. And Google, we want to ride up front, with you, not locked in the trunk, with uncertain air supply.
Phil Jones: "The silliest thing, ever, is people getting all uptight because Dave is "arrogant."
Thanks Doc. We should start a union of explainers and justifiers who respond to the kvetchers and complainers who say we have no right to do anything new, or find a new angle on something that's been done before. I don't think I need to justify that I've contributed a lot of innovation here, yet that's what the other folk are making an issue of. Heh. My first river of news aggregator first appeared in 1999, when RSS was new. I've been doing them ever since. This was the week when the concept finally caught on, imho. As with outliners, that needed bullet charts to justify them to many people, the river of news concept needed mobile devices. As payloads for RSS (2000) needed podcasting to give it a purpose (2004).
The way technology works, for those who care about such things: Start with a vision you believe in, and keep trying to find ways to show others how powerful it is. Over and over, often for years.
Outliners took eight years from idea to product of the year. Podcasting took four years. River of news took seven. This is opposite the myth of invention, the Eureka moment when everyone sees the idea. The moment often takes years to play out. Maybe it always does. But when you finally break through, savor the moment, and don't pay any attention to the ballast. (Also, I find that the people with the biggest problems often turn out to be competitiors. It's a dishonorable way to compete. Much better to try to give users more good stuff, not try to keep them looking at stuff they like.)
I also uploaded the movie to blip.tv.
Steve Rubel: "Startups advertising on startups spells trouble."
Evan Williams surveys the podcasting directory sites.
Robojamie: "If less effort is required to use RSS it's use by a majority of Internet users will soar." I agree.
newsrivers.com is not my site. Amazing how quickly a popular idea takes hold on the web.
Ed Cone has an interesting perspective on NYTimesRiver.
The German version of Wikipedia is getting gatekeepers, on an experimental basis. Experienced users will approve changes before they go live. This could cut down on vandalism, but what else will it cut down on?
Just curious, what tools do people use to post to their blogs from a Blackberry or Treo?
I'm hosting a mobile version of the BuzzMachine blog.
Doc Searls: "The river metaphor makes me look at the supply side of blogging from a whole new perspective."
Doc Searls shows how the NYTimesRiver looks on his Treo.
Ewan MacLeod explains why River of News is the way to go, especially on mobile devices.
An interesting discussion has developed on Phil Torrone's Flickr post.
Jeff Jarvis: "Just the news, sir. And keep it flowing."
There's a teeny little leak in Dan Farber's write-up.
BetterBadNews on social networks of investors.
NYTimesriver on TechMeme.
Frank Barnako: "Dave Winer is a bit like Jack Webb."
Predictable backlash from people who say that reading news on a Blackberry is nothing new, they've been doing it for years. I'm sure they have, and people were listening to MP3s on Macs and PCs before podcasting, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a turning point for audio on the Internet.
Henri Asseily: "The Blackberry works for reading news."
Phil Torrone: "Nice work, I usually have a load of RSS readers on my phone, but the NYTimesRiver is something I'll bookmark on all of them."
When I got my Blackberry, at first it was culture shock, I wanted my Plain Jane Nokia back, but after a while I got used to using it as a phone, then fell in love with it because it did email so well, but I wanted more, I wanted news.
This was followed by a few weeks of experimentation, until I reached nirvana, on Saturday, on a trip on BART, where cell coverage is pretty good, I was able to read a few stories from the Sunday New York Times, and I knew this was it, this is going to be huge, these devices work for reading news. Now the question is how to promote it so that all the people who can benefit from it hear about it.
I've not been so excited or so sure about a new direction for mobile technology since podcasting in June 2004. I'm sure we'll look back on this as a turning point for mobile news.
Where does it make sense? Certainly for urban bus and rail commuters where there's good cell coverage. And for people who travel by air, many of whom have devices that are capable of reading news, but they may not know it yet.
Scoble: "When I was in the hospital room with Maryam's mom I could just go to the New York Times and it came down fast and in a readable form."
A movie shows how to read the river on the Blackberry.
Coming next, same treatment for the BBC, and then who knows...?
Predictable backlash from people who say that reading news on a Blackberry is nothing new, they've been doing it for years. I'm sure they have, and people were listening to MP3s on Macs and PCs before podcasting, but that doesn't mean podcasting wasn't a turning point for audio on the Internet.
The fact is that today most people with web-capable mobile devices aren't reading news on them. I'd wager it isn't because they don't want to, I think many of them do. If it were easy enough. The problem with most of the methods people talk about is that they require a lot of effort to set up, or only work in certain contexts, or are a lot of work to use.
NYTimesRiver is good because it requires no setup, one size fits all, and it delivers consistent value, and coverage. It would even be innovative for the desktop, because of the zero setup.
People get confused with difficulty to program and utility. It wasn't an act of great programming prowess to get this software running. But try it out on someone on an airplane or bus with a Blackberry or Treo, and watch their eyes light up, their chin drop. That's hard to do too.
Someday people will understand why simplicity in this stuff is essential, that's when it takes off, when it's reduced to its most basic value, and delivered in a package that can quickly gain buzz and critical mass.
Last year we did $2.3 million in revenue. Expenses? One salary (mine) and about $1000 per month in server costs. A few thousand for contract programming. Pre-tax profit? Millions.
People think blogs are about advertising, and I would agree, but they're thinking in terms of clicks and eyeballs, and I'm thinking of technology that's created using the intelligence of community participation.
Want to see how it's done? It's here in the archive of this blog. Don't have the time to read the archive? Read today's blog. We will get a whole new flow built here, through persistent experimentation, refinement, listening, promoting, thinking, and looping.
Is there money in this? A lot more than most people think, because they're still thinking in 20th century terms.
I don't share this space with hitch-hikers. I use my blog for my own ideas. They make good money. No point diluting what I have to say.
Want to know more? I wrote about it on August 3.
I watched the first installment of Spike Lee's story of New Orleans and Katrina. It's been a long time since TV gripped me so emotionally and not let go.
I went back to New Orleans in December to see what had happened, but I didn't understand what had been there during the flood, what had already been cleaned up. Where I drove there had been bodies floating. The water was so deep, I never had a sense of how impossible it was for humans to cope with that. How many people died, and here a year later, how can we put that in perspective. We weren't attacked, the deaths were largely preventable.
It is important to look back, to remember that last year we lost of one our cities, and many thousands of our people lost their homes. A culture died, and our political life is a void until we really feel that. It has never happened in the United States before. We've never lost a whole city like that.
The tragedy is still here, today, in our hearts. Perhaps we think we've moved on, but I don't think we have. New Orleans was part of America. It was part of us.
PodCamp in Boston, September 9-10.
Rising Tide/New Orleans, August 25-27.
Niall Kennedy: "SF Tech Sessions meets this Wednesday evening in San Francisco to learn about the latest trends in distributing large media files."
The Onion: "Wikipedia, the online, reader-edited encyclopedia, honored the 750th anniversary of American independence on July 25 with a special featured section on its main page Tuesday."
Mitch Kapor: "Second Life is a disruptive technology on the level of the personal computer or the Internet."
Learned the hard way... I like to use redirects as part of the user interface for my web apps. Rather than display an error message saying you have to configure the app, I just redirect to the configuration page. My framework only allows one kind of redirect, so I always do a permanent one, HTTP result code 301. Everything worked fine, but something apparently changed in Firefox and now it notes 301s, and implements them on the client side. It probably seems like an economy of some sort, but it broke a few of my apps, and it took the longest time to figure out why. Not saying they did anything wrong, but making a note so that next time maybe I'll remember it, and save some time. Or maybe this will save you some time. Back to work.
A more careful explanation of the redirect issue.
David Hornik's view of the Friday TechCrunch party.
One thing to be thankful for is that in all the reviews of Friday's party, very few said it was about Web 2.0. We seem to have gotten that out of the way. Arrington's parties are inclusive, and net-net that's a good thing. Web 2.0, as designed by O'Reilly and Battelle, excludes lots of good people, and that's a bad thing. I'd argue it's even bad for O'Reilly and Battelle, but I'm not so worried for them.
Try reading the mobile versions of these popular weblogs on your BlackBerry, Treo, or web-enabled cell phone.
Not bad, eh? We're getting somewhere, it seems.
Andrew Keen's interview with yours truly. People say it's pretty good, I haven't listened yet.
Abby Sher: "I walk in the most crowded of places, preferably where some people are seated and some passing by. My favorite place for Friday nights had become the food court of the local indoor shopping mall, Santa Monica Place -- that is until last Friday night, when at 6:40 I was politely advised to take my slow walk elsewhere."
August in Berkeley is so temperate.
I rewrote the PDA version of Scripting News. It now reads from top to bottom, much easier than the old method which put each item on its own "page."
Talking with Steve Gillmor, a longtime Blackberry user, this afternoon, he confirms something I had heard elsewhere. Only recently has the Blackberry become competent for web use, previous versions were unusable. Perhaps this explains why there is this huge vacuum of web-based mobile content. I see a flood coming. Yesterday, riding on BART, I read the news on my Blackberry, it was an easier and richer experience than reading a physical newspaper. I suspect I am one of a very small number of people who are now doing that, but it won't be long before lots of people are, it's so compelling. Imho.
Salon: "Watching Spike Lee's four-hour epic on Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans Arena with my neighbors, I felt awed, exhausted and heartbroken -- and more convinced than ever that somebody should go to jail for what happened here."
12/15/05: New Orleans after Katrina.
Scoble on Friday night's TechCrunch party. "Be seen, and see. Take photos or videos, get videoed or photoed. Talk about tech? I tried. But it was just too noisy to have a decent conversation on video." I was able to have a few interesting conversations by sitting off on the side, not hanging out in clusters of people. Added bonus, no pictures. Next party will have to be in Moscone, and they'll call it a trade show. Watch out for parties where the beer and wine are free and the lines at the bar are short. As the night goes on, lots of really rude drunks. Maybe the bubble is peaking? The last one peaked (imho) when the big topic of discussion was which pet food IPO was going to be bigger.
According to Andrew Grumet, Treo's can play MP3s (with a bit of messing around). As far as I know, Blackberries can't.
Jeff Jarvis: "Small is the new big."
Steve Martin: "Immediately after the show, we're all gonna go out.. and get really small!"
Dare Obasanjo: "Kiko was a feature, not a full-fledged online destination let alone a viable business."
Scott Rosenberg: "Calendaring doesn't easily lend itself to large-scale social interaction and wisdom-of-crowds behavior."
Wired News sent a reporter to Mountain View to try out Google's wifi coverage. They got through. I tried it at a restaurant on El Camino near Castro, and Google appeared in the menu, but the signal was too weak to connect.
Hmmm. Did Valerywag get hacked?
Talking Point Memo notes that the NY Times has gotten side-tracked by the JonBenet story too.
Emotional BBC interview with Sha Xu Kang, Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva. I recorded the last half of the interview as an MP3. The quality varies (there was static on the radio), but it's well worth a listen.
Scoble: "Now I can read TechCrunch while walking around tonight's TechCrunch party."
pda.scripting.com gets an overhaul. Now that I'm spending serious time using my Blackberry, I can see how unnecessary some of the ideas I implemented for the PDA version of Scripting News are. Now I have it as a simple uncrufty, unadorned list of posts. Now of course if all the sites I pointed to had mobile versions. We need to work on that. I also have mobile versions of TechCrunch, GigaOm, PaidContent and Scobleizer. If you see me at the TechCrunch party tonight, ask for a demo. And I have one more little goodie I'm not even going to write about here, now, it's so damned sexy.
When I went to Yahoo Maps to get directions, they were able to show me there's no traffic on either route (Bay Bridge, or Dumbarton), and they happily sent the driving directions to my cell phone. Now, to really get cool, they'd send them to my Toyota with GPS.
Google Reader has a mobile feature.
Jeff Cohen: "In a media system dominated by entertainment conglomerates, it's no accident that we're served up a steady stream of 'top' stories saturated by sex, violence and celebrity."
Of course I wasn't happy that Boeing cancelled its plans for in-flight Internet access, and on reflection, I wonder how much of a trial it actually got. I have never been offered Internet on a domestic flight, and had it been offered, there's no doubt I would have taken it, as long as the price wasn't too unreasonable. I've never even heard of anyone using Internet on domestic flights. Only on a few international flights, and as Scoble says, without power, it was good for two hours. I don't doubt that Scoble would have used it. Considering how many laptops and cell phones you see on flights these days, I really doubt they know that it wouldn't be profitable.
A hardware upgrade is coming later today.
At 9:20PM Pacific, the hardware upgrade is done.
Lance Knobel: "On Heinz Avenue in slightly industrial west Berkeley, there was a large farm truck, with its ramp down. Gleefully charging out of the truck was a large drove of goats, being herded into a derelict, hugely overgrown site."
Amyloo: "Hil says she is running out of time to do anything with her giant Dave masks in time for One Web Day."
Lisa Williams: "I am at The Berkman Thursday Blog Meeting demoing the OPML Editor."
Here's why Countdown is down for the count. Dan Abrams, who the MSNBC "chief legal analyst" (and led off the yesterday's count) is the new president of MSNBC. Apparently Hardball today is all about JonBenet too. Oh my god. Dan Abrams, the Worst. Person. In. The. Worrrrrrrld.
BBC: "Boeing is scrapping its in-flight high speed broadband service because of lack of interest from leading airlines."
NY Times: "A federal judge in Detroit ruled today that the Bush administration's eavesdropping program is illegal and unconstitutional, and she ordered that it cease at once."
What's the deal with JonBenet Ramsey. I don't get it. I totally tuned it out every time the press became obsessed about it, there was always some news report that didn't go crazy, but now there's not. I've gotten in the habit of watching Countdown every night at 9PM on MSNBC, it's biased, but it's biased in my way, always taking the dimmest view of Bush, without going into total fantasy-land. And last night, with President Clinton suggesting the obvious, that President Bush is using the supposed terror crisis in Britain as an excuse to bash Democrats, they spent 45 minutes on some development in this 10 year old murder case. How many Iraqis died yesterday? How many Americans died in Iraq? How's the Lebanon peace thing working out? What about the hysterical passenger on the flight from London to NY? Not one word on Countdown. All through the show Olbermann is making lame excuses for what they made him do, obviously they're trying for more ratings. I couldn't let this pass without saying something.
Michael Markman noticed it too. Would someone call Olbermann and tell him we'll forgive him this one transgression, but that's enough of the sensationlism. Go back to bashing O'Reilly and everyone will be happy. (Oh and to repent, name yourself Worst Person in the World.)
And at the same time, CNN is actually getting better. Anderson Cooper is on vacation, and they have Wolf Blitzer and Christianne Amanpour substituting. Neither of them are great, but I'll take anyone over AC, who is a complete utterly ditzy airbag (who wears great clothes even when he's running from Hezbollah rockets). Someone needs to tell him that war isn't exactly like a hurricane.
BBC: "Ambassador Sha responded strongly to the allegations. 'It's better for the US to shut up,' he said."
Later today I'm going to upgrade the hardware that the OPML community server is running on, basically splitting it into two machine, one for the blog hosting and directory hosting, and another for everything else. I happen to have the extra server capacity, unused, so it won't actually add anything to my monthly bill.
However, it will not be a transparent change if you're using the server to host directories with your own domain name (using the Map A Domain feature).
If you read the docs for Map A Domain, you'll see that it calls for you to map your domain to 126.96.36.199.
That will change to 188.8.131.52, when the upgrade is done, probably sometime tonight (I'll post a note on Scripting News).
I'm not posting this on support.opml.org because the server is so slow I'm concerned no one will be able to read it.
Sorry for the difficulty in this transition, however, the good news is that we should get better performance. (Fingers crossed, praise Murphy.)
At 9:20PM Pacific, the hardware upgrade is done.
To file a complaint, push the red button.
Platform Wars: "Getting bought by a large media 1.0 company wouldn't make much sense for TechCrunch."
Maryam: "Robert will only link to you if you pick on him not me."
It would be interesting to do a study to see if people can tell you what a blog post said some short interval after reading it. Something like the SAT, for blog readers. I bet the numbers would be astonishingly small. I have reasons to believe that almost no one actually reads this stuff.
A story I like to tell. Once I wrote a short bit explaining why I like a certain web technology that people are somewhat fanatic about. I got flamed, en masse, by people who thought I was dissing it.
Another. I can't tell you how many times I get emails that "solve" a supposed "problem" that is discussed in the first sentence or two of a post, where the solution is explained in the third or fourth sentence. I conclude from that that people read something, it triggers one of their canned responses, and before reading the rest of the post, they're typing the answer in their email app, or asking for more info, when the info is in the next sentence of the blog post, the part they didn't bother to read.
I think a lot of people skim quickly and click on links, skim quickly and then hit the back button, then hit the back button again. So what's the point of being on the A-list if no one reads, they just scan. (And guess what they're scanning for, their name, of course!)
What I really value is new information or ideas that I receive from reading blogs. I don't care so much about being heard, because I know from experience that there really isn't very much of that going on.
Scott Karp: "Even if no one reads this post, I feel better having written it."
So to Scott, that may be the only joy available from blogging, the satisfaction of getting something off your chest. It really can be therapeutic, and also, having written it, you can then move on to the next thing, and the next thing after that. By writing something you really have to think it through.
The problem with Wikipedia hype is that the proponents over-sell, and they're often smart people so maybe they'll stop doing it if I point it out. Here's an example.
Simply appearing in the Encyclopedia Britannica confers authority on an article. Simply appearing in Wikipedia does not, because you might hit the 90 second stretch before some loon's rewriting of history or science is found and fixed.
Someone who hasn't spent the last 30 years online might not understand that it's equally possible that the looney version of the story might be the one that gets reverted to, after someone who knows the subject edits it to represent more than the single point of view of the troll who's camped out on the article, or the group of trolls.
I've seen so many articles on Wikipedia on subjects that I know that are just plain wrong, and when I try to fix it, the fix gets undone within minutes. Sorry I'm not willing to commit my life, or a big portion of it, to a Wikipedia page. So mistakes live on, sometimes big ones.
There is value in Wikipedia, but please, let's not undermine other approaches, let's not put unnecessary barriers in their way. Wikipedia has been so successful that we're in danger of going back to a monoculture. We're trading a bad system, imho, for an even worse one.
Jessica Lange: "Just when I think I've found the perfect man, an even worse one shows up, and that's when I make my move."
On Monday, I wrote: "They're different from us, but you can't tell from looking at them, because they look exactly like us, unlike black people who usually have darker skin."
From Walter Purvis, via email: "As I understand it, the 'us' in that sentence is Americans. Now re-read that sentence pretending you're a black American. It's funny how racial biases creep into our thinking so subtly, isn't it?"
Gulp. That is correct. What I said was wrong, and I'm sorry I said it.
What I was trying to say made no sense, and it did occur to me as I was writing it. Canadians look so much like us that there are Canadians of all colors and countries of origin, just like people from the United States. In my defense, I was thinking about racial contrast because the first part of the piece was about Jackie Robinson and the integration of baseball. And I did say that Robinson and I both come from the same country. But Mr Purvis noticed something that I didn't, and he is correct, and very generous in his criticism, and I appreciate that very much. because it makes it easier to say I was wrong.
Yesterday I wrote about Macintoshes and how they crash, as all computers do.
No one, even the most idiotic Mac idiot, disputes that Macs crash. They disagree on whether it's my fault or whether I got a bad Mac (obviously I did, two of them). I don't run any unusual software, and I don't install experimental stuff on my computer. I'm really conservative. I know what it's like to live on the edge, I used to write drivers and other system-level software, a long time ago. These days it's Firefox and OPML, Handbrake, Azureus, The Sims (v 2), Flickr Uploader, VLC, iTunes. I have an HP printer and scanner, iChat, TextEdit. The computer that crashes is a dual CPU G5, bought virtually at the end of its lifecycle, so it should be well burned in.
But all this michegas is beside the point (which most people seem to have missed, even though it was pretty clearly written). I know computers crash. There's no such thing as an architecture that can't crash (even toasters catch on fire, no one's fault, shit happens). That's why its irresponsible for Apple to advertise that Macs don't crash. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems fraudulent to me. And as a programmer, it's really tempting fate to make such a claim. Bad Murphy karma. Put it this way, if you were a pilot, would you fly a plane if the manufacturer said it can't crash? How much faith would you have in their support system if you thought they really believed that??
NY Times: "Even as it rolls out a local wireless Internet service in Mountain View, Google says it will not be a national provider of such services."
Marc Canter: "Facebook is now offering open APIs."
Amyloo: "I still don't get the Rocketboom naysayers."
MacWorld: "Apple is attempting to take control of the word Pod within product names."
Jeff Ubois on Google's secret deal with the University of California. "The terms of the agreement are secret, and were arrived at with no public input."
The Canadian Tech Mob is a "not for profit, grassroots campaign to try to publicize Canada's tech presence."
Apple: "Your toaster doesn't crash. Your kitchen sink doesn't crash. Why should your computer?"
Good question. The answer is that computers crash, even Macs. In my experience, they crash more than Windows machines. Giving Apple the benefit of the doubt, their marketing people don't understand computers. Better to promise to help users when the computer you sold them crashes, than to promise they don't crash.
Sounds like the SEC is wanting to re-invent RSS?
News.com: "Few people really need 1 terabyte of storage. But it sounds cool--sort of like you could be running a ballistic missile tracking site in your den."
David Weinberger: "If I had a nickel for every million dollar idea I've had, I'd be rich by now!"
Every time George Bush opens his mouth I think of how many Americans are going to have to die to pay for that gaffe, and how many billions it's going to cost us to dig out of all the messes he's already created and the ones he's yet to create.
The latest, Lebanon, really was Israel's problem, but he's insisting on getting us on the hook for that one too. After helping get a cease-fire, working with France (bravo!), he says that Hezbollah was responsible for all the death and destruction, and they lost the war! Holy shit. Now we have to back that up? With what? More money and more death?
Everything we do seems predicated on the assumption that we have an infinite amount of money, and that an American (or British or Israeli) life is worth an infinite number of Muslim lives. We don't have an infinite amount of money, and an American life and an Arab life have exactly the same value.
I'm working my way through Ken Burns's documentary about baseball. As a lifelong fan of the sport, I've been learning a lot, filling in huge blanks in my knowledge of the history of the sport.
No one knows who invented baseball. An early commissioner of professional baseball, a man named Spalding, created a myth that a Civil War hero named Abner Doubleday invented it in Cooperstown, which is why the Hall of Fame is there, but it's not true. The game had already been invented when he supposedly invented it.
Babe Ruth wanted to be a manager, but for some reason they wouldn't let him. He spent his last year in Boston, playing for the Braves, that's where he hit the 714th home run. The Yankees must not have known how great Ruth was. His greatness is still something you can feel, so many years later. But he sat by the phone, in retirement, waiting for a call that would never come.
A very wise man said that baseball isn't a matter of life and death, but the Red Sox are. So true. That explains the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, imho.
I come from a family of Brooklyn Dodger fans, on both sides, and having just watched episode 6 of the Burns series, I understand why this is a matter of great pride, because the Dodgers were the team that broke the race barrier in baseball. Of course I knew the basic facts, everyone who cares about baseball knows that Jackie Robinson was a great courageous player, but what I didn't know is that, according to Arthur Ashe, they were, unequivocally, black America's baseball team, because of their act of greatness. But that's not the point of this piece.
What was remarkable to me was how this got to me emotionally. I'm white, not black, and in my lifetime baseball has always been integrated. Robinson wasn't just a great player in that he could hit and run, and was smart on the bases, he was a great man because he didn't play for himself as much as he played for his race. And they so desperately wanted to be part of our country, how they rose to the good news! The Negro League no longer was needed, as long as Jackie Robinson was playing on the Dodgers. It's just a feeling, there's so much love around the memory, and it's not even my memory, it's my parents memory, and their parents.
Then I thought of something that grabbed my heart in the same way, at Gnomedex earlier this summer. I didn't fully understand why until a few minutes ago, watching the story of Jackie Robinson.
Probably because it's a user conference and because Seattle is so close to British Columbia, this year there were lots of Canadians at Gnomedex. They're different from us, but you can't tell from looking at them, because they look exactly like us, unlike black people who usually have darker skin. That they're different is something I've come to appreciate, having spent considerable (for me) time in Canada over the last couple of years. They don't seem to mind that we think they're just like us, but they don't feel that we're just like them.
Anyway, the last day of Gnomedex happened to fall on Canada Day, and in celebration, Chris and Ponzi brought out a big cake and the Canadians rose, and sang their national anthem, Oh Canada. I had heard it before, but never in its entirety and for some reason this time it really grabbed me. Patriotism is moving, even when it's not your patriotism. Maybe even more so, because it doesn't get all mixed up with personal stuff, you get to experience love of country through someone else's eyes, and it's really beautiful. But then I saw a friend of mine from Berkeley, Kaliya Hamlin, standing, and singing. I had to look twice and think, and then I remembered, she's Canadian! That's right. I'll never forget that image, Kaliya is tall and strong, opinionated, a bit nutty (in a nice way), a leader, and underneath it all, she's even more different from me than Jackie Robinson was, because she's patriotic to a different country, and Robinson and I are both from the United States.
We can be very different from each other, and loyal to what makes us different, as Robinson was to his race, and Kaliya to her country, but then that devotion can be an inspiration even if you aren't black and aren't a Canadian.
1. I think it's great that Microsoft is making a wizzy editor for bloggers. I've been asking for this since 1996, I thought it should be part of the browser, but having it outside the browser is almost as good.
2. It's only innovative because it comes from Microsoft. UserLand did one for Manila, in 2000, and then later, created an open API so that anyone could make one for any blogging tool, and they did. There are lots of fine editors for weblogs.
3. I remember being told that Microsoft would never use XML-RPC, just like they once told me they would never use RSS. I said, in response, that they should focus on utility not programmer religion. Somehow Microsoft got there. It took six years in one case, and ten in the other, but it did happen. So when programmers tell you that they won't use XML-RPC because REST is better, so you have to wait, tell them that Microsoft used to say shit like that, and eventually they decided to stop waiting, and they just wrote the code, shipped it, and everyone was happy (except Mac users, but we already have many fine editors that work just as well).
Since I own a house in the Pacific time zone, my blog and servers should express time in my home zone. So Scripting News is, once again, a west coast blog. If I remember correctly there will be some bugs to shake out.
Hil observes that there have been a lot of unfair generalizations in the post-BlogHer discussions. I too wanted to respond to what Maryam wrote about men and our supposed lack of softness. Please we should expect more of ourselves and each other, not less. Of course men have soft insides, just like women, but the world treats us so harshly. Be a man, you can take it. I notice this, because as you get older you're not as strong as you once were, but there's so little mercy. Even crossing the street, drivers challenge men, where they stop for women. I refuse to run to get out of the way of a speeding car, for fear that I'll trip and get run over. And I don't run so well anymore. Being hit by a car hurts a man almost as much as it would hurt a woman. And on the Internet our bodies are exactly the same size. But men are still supposed to put up with bashing. No wonder our emotions turn off. We're punished for showing any of it, sadness, fear, joy -- these are considered unmasculine. The only emotion men are permitted to have is anger, which is why you see so much fear and sadness, even joy, expressed as anger. The day when you are ready for men to express their emotions is the day you will see that we have them.
Mike Arrington: "Google smugness is at an all time high."
Doc Searls on the blogger as eyewitness. Yes, that is journalism, imho. As he says, journalism will become an everyday thing, practiced by people as well as professionals. I've recommended to every journalism professor I meet that they expand their scope. Instead of only teaching journalism as a profession, they should think of journalism as a basic requirement for a good education. It's a skill they should be teaching everyone who gets a bachelor's degree, from now on. Think of it this way, we've had microprocessors, now it's time for microjournalism. Think small picture, not big. The idea seems to be out there. Seth Godin has a new book with the theme. I think that "small" is such a big idea that I bought a domain for my work in this area.
Dan Farber reviews the big professional news networks arising out of the blog world. Lots of new competition for Denton and Calacanis.
I like websites with simple direct domain names.
Most major news networks have one or two news podcasts that are worth a listen on your daily commute or while exercising. ABC News has the Nightline podcast, it's excellent, produced every weeknight. I would never watch it live on TV, it's way past my TV-watching hours, and after getting tired of the Ted Koppel version, it would never have occurred to me to watch the new version. But I'm always looking for a longish news podcast for my daily exercise, and Nightline fits the bill. Right up there with NPR's On the Media and NewsHour, and NBC's Meet the Press.
Kevin Burton says that Tailrank has a mobile mode. I'm still going to work on my own software, I want to play in this area, literally, I'm having fun.
David Berlind: Use 'POD' in your trademark, get sued.
2001: "Open the pod bay doors, HAL."
Stray Packets: "People turned to the encyclopedias like the Britannica because they had established a trustworthy reputation for accuracy, not because they knew how to deliver perfect accuracy all the time."
Now that I have a BlackBerry, I want to take a PDA version of everything I do on my desktop with me into the PDA-land (otherwise known as The Real World). Immediately, every time I pick it up, I want to know what's new. I've got SMS to connect with other PDA users, and email for everyone else. But what about news? At first I thought a "mini" version of my news aggregator would be the right thing, but that's too much news. I want just-enough, which is less than the firehose I have hooked up to my 23-inch screen at home. So I tried creating a reading list of all the NY Times feeds, and subscribed to that. Okay, that's pretty good, but then I needed a small version of my feed reader, one that works better on the small screen. Let's see how that works.
Steve Rubel on reinventing the media interview.
Dasht: "Article squatters are the feudal lords of Wikipedia and the only way to displace someone is to spend a great deal of time fighting with them, possibly escalating through the central authority. No doubt there exist article squatters who make it there mission to work with others to improve content but, in my samples, the trend is more towards censorship."
Today is the 25th anniversary of the IBM PC. I wrote a remembrance for the celebration five years ago. I thought of it as a "big blank machine."
Yesterday's Ze Frank wasn't funny, but it was right on. Listen carefully to the words President Bush uses, and decide for yourself who the real terrorists are.
NY Times editorials are almost never funny, but today's editorial about the politics of terror in the US shows how our Vice-president was already playing politics with this latest round of news even before we knew about it, but when he certainly knew it was coming. Also note yesterday's news was completely managed by the US and British governments. How much faith do you have in their honesty? Why?
These days when I get an interview request from a professional reporter, I offer to answer the questions, best I can, on my blog, without saying who the reporter is and exactly what questions were asked. This way I create a public record, something that can be useful to anyone, and I avoid the problem of being quoted selectively and out of context. Having created a record that's likely to be as widely read as the story, I make sure what I have to say has a chance of being heard.
In this case, the question basically is if any trend can be discerned from my decision to stop blogging, on or about the end of this year, and the answer is no, imho.
Blogging is a lifestyle, not something you do inbetween things. For a guy like me, it's the background, it's what I do when idle, and when busy, it's what I think about every waking hour. The lessons I learn from life appear in my weblog, but maybe not so much these days, for a variety of reasons.
I'm what many would call an "A-list blogger," not by choice, it's not something I decided to be or something I wanted to be, but because I was first, and the first generation blogs were rooted in my work, and their work formed the roots for the next level, what I write here tends to get a lot more attention than what someone might write at a random blog at Blogspot or Typepad. You might think that's good, and at times it is good to have such a pulpit. But it also means giving up on some things that are important to me. I don't want everything I write to be seen as a U.N. Security Council resolution, yet often my posts are read and picked at as if they were formal documents, and they don't stand up to such treatment.
I'm also a software developer, and part of the satisfaction of blogging for me was writing the software that made it possible, and then creating software and formats that made reading massive amounts of blog material possible (reading is going to be a big deal in the future, as I've written earlier this month). I don't think there's much room for changing what blogging is, but I do think there's a chance to create new ways of writing on the net. Key point, if I'm blogging every day, I won't have the incentive to create new software. Blogging is good enough, but it may be possible to do something richer and more powerful, and I want to find out.
I think there's a subtext to the questions my professional colleague is asking -- can we say that blogging is just a temporary thing, bound to pass as people get tired of it. They seem to keep wanting to see this, but no way, that's not what's happening. In fact, blogging is just beginning to come into its own. Yesterday we got the scoop on the news of the terrorist threat from a blogger, Doc Searls. He beat the mainstream reporters, who were (presumably) waiting for official word from the governments, because he was there, at Logan Airport, experiencing the event first-hand. And as the day went on, bloggers posted their accounts of the human view of the events, the eye witnesses, while the pros were (importantly) reporting on the governments. See how the two complement each other? We need both views, and it would do us all good if the pros would stop predicting the demise of blogging, and get busy learning to use blogging in their reporting. It is happening, they are giving up the fight, but every so often I'm asked to defend blogging, which I will never stop doing.
Sylvia, my friend, wrote about my silence at BlogHer, describing me as a parent or grandparent, proud of what his offspring are accomplishing. My blogging voice will go silent, by choice, but I will still be standing behind the medium with every ounce of my being, proud as can be to have helped get something so powerful and empowering started.
Rex Hammock: "Are terrorists idiots?"
Just heard an expert on the WBUR show On Point saying that the terrorists were going to use iPods to detonate the bombs. Also, an obvious point was made, we have always been vulnerable to this kind of attack, which contradicts the constant claim of the politicians that they're doing a competent job of protecting us. Seems more likely luck was what's been protecting us, so far.
Der Spiegel: "Terrorism experts believe that five years after the September 11 attacks, it's not the bearded man in the cave or his foot soldiers that are giving counterterrorism officials a headache -- it's young killers from Europe who are radicalizing quickly and almost invisibly."
AP: "With even the most sophisticated screening equipment unable to prevent terrorists from smuggling bomb incredients on board a jetliner, a ban on many everyday items that could be used to trigger those bombs may be coming. The way we travel could be changed forever." Can you imagine traveling without your iPod, laptop, cell phone?
Doc Searls was at Boston's Logan Airport early this morning waiting while the air travel system went into red alert mode over a disrupted terrorist plot.
Globe and Mail: Social media and the London terrorist plot.
MarketWatch: "Security officials said the terrorists planned to smuggle liquid explosives aboard the planes in beverages. The detonation charge would have come from a small electronic device."
NY Times: "Delays and cancellations rippled across air traffic grids in the United States and Europe, disrupting travel far beyond London and causing severe congestion in airports."
Brad Neuberg: "The original OPML spec actually references Douglas Engelbart in its text as the originator of outlining tools."
Frank Barnako interviews Rocketboom's Andrew Baron.
Reminder, there's a PDA version of Scripting News. It's still running and still up to date.
At this week's Berkeley geek breakfast, Sylvia Paull, feminist agent provacateur and friend, noted the name-calling and flaming about my post-BlogHer pieces. I had told her that when I write about gender I get attacked. I've told other feminist friends the same, and said it at BloggerCon in June. They denied it, telling me basically to be a man, suckitup, stop being so sensitive. This time Sylvia got to see both the cause and the effect, and I won the argument, finally. She now sees the barriers, ones she herself doesn't have, but others of her gender do have, to letting men say their piece about gender.
I failed to point to Liz Henry's original piece, the first I saw of her writing was elsewhere, so that's where I pointed. She was one of the doubters, post-BloggerCon she ridiculed me for asking for permission to speak on gender. Perhaps unwittingly she gave the best demo of why I, and other men, are fearful to speak about gender. In a condescending and humiliating fashion, we get lectured by women who don't stop to think before they name-call and attack. No, Liz I don't think it's cute when you call me a sexist. And I don't think it's fun if it doesn't go both ways. I don't want to call you or anyone else a name, but if I did what you did, imagine the verbal stack of bricks that would come down on me.
We still have a long ways to go before we're having fully respectful discourse about gender. Men know what we have to do, we've had it drilled into us for at least a generation. But there's a long to-do-list for women, and because men have been forced into silence on this subject, that list hasn't had a chance to develop. Liz, it's time to bend over backwards to create safety for men to speak on this subject. Many of your colleagues are already doing this. There are still a few standouts, and you are one of them. No more gender-bashing, lecturing and name-calling, and no more tolerance for that. I will consider what you have said. Now it would be great if you would do the same.
Dowbrigade: "It is obvious to the Dowbrigade why the terrorists, despite their threats and the capacity to act on them, have refrained from hitting us again. Like professionals everywhere, the elite international terrorists like working in America."
Jason Calacanis on AOL's data spill: "I was so angry today that I had to get off my computer and do a three-mile run. I'm back at my desk but I'm still seething--how could this happen?!"
NY Times: "Mr Geary disputed claims made by Lamont supporters that the Lieberman site was running on a cheap Internet service that did not have enough bandwidth."
Mike Arrington points out that at least some of the CEOs in the Web 2.0 promo have trench-level experience.
One of the things I learned at Wikimania is that Wikipedia is what it is and it won't change. There also appears to be a disconnect between the promoters and the people who do the work. When Jimmy Wales says that the focus in the future will be quality not quantity, this doesn't seem to translate to anything new in the work on Wikipedia. It's a very slippery subject, but an important one, because Wikipedia pages rank so high on the web. If they didn't, there would hardly be a reason to discuss. In the web before Wikipedia, every point of view had a chance, but Wikipedia tends toward centralization, toward one or two views prevailing, those that are represented by people who are willing to maintain a presence on Wikipedia. This what I'm not comfortable with.
Kevin Burton disputes Technorati's numbers.
CNN: "Officials with US Senator Joe Lieberman's re-election campaign say that 'dirty politics' and 'Rovian tactics' are to blame for what they call an online attack on their campaign Web site as Connecticut voters headed to the polls."
Kos: "They are paying $15/month for hosting at a place called MyHostCamp, with a bandwidth limit of 10GB. MyHostCamp is currently down, along with all their clients."
Niall Kennedy: "I am leaving Microsoft to start my own company."
Macintouch reports on yesterday's Apple announcements.
Wired: "He effortlessly sucks the audience into his famous 'reality distortion field,' a state of suspended disbelief that makes even mundane products seem like miracles of technology."
Trying to find a good summary of Apple's announcements. Here's what I've discerned: 1. A new Mac desktop with Intel processors. 2. A new version of the operating system. For me it's the first new version of the OS since I became a Mac user again in Sept of last year. The features I've seen so far don't excite me. But then when has an operating system ever had anything in it to get excited about?
Ed Cone: "BusinessWeek's best bet is to say, 'We goofed. We wrote an interesting article about an interesting subject, but we made a pretty bad mistake in the way we headlined the story.'"
Scott Rosenberg: "The magazine can either publish a correction, which I doubt it will ever do, or live with the diminished credibility it deserves."
Mike Kowalchik's report on our meetup, podcast and dinner in Cambridge last night. This morning I'm at the Ambassador Club at Logan waiting to fly back to the Bay Area. Great time on the east coast now let's switch back to Pacific time!
American Airlines supports RSS.
A Morning Coffee Notes podcast with Doc Searls, Mike Kowalchik, Jason Calacanis, Steve Gillmor. It contains breaking news about a new career move by Doc Searls. And an ad for Digg by Jason Calacanis. Steve is a tinny voice on the Blackberry and he takes a few cheap shots at Scoble. "At this point I smell a lawsuit," says Calacanis.
Betsy Devine is giving a talk about "vandal waves" on Wikipedia pages, using the swiftboating page as an example.
Getting a late start today in Cambridge. Went for a walk around the old neighborhood, it's so pretty, and the weather is so nice. I can't believe I feel lucky to get such good weather, at least during the Boston part of the trip. It's in the 70s, clear, cloudless, light breeze.
Tomorrow Doc Searls will do the same docnography for Dan Gillmor's unconference on citizen journalism that he did for BloggerCon IV in June. I had dinner last night with Dan and a bunch of other people, to talk about tools for citizen journalism. I asked Dan what the song would be, he said there would be no song, I said it was a requirement (with a grin of course) and even suggested one by singing it. Let no one say I've never sung for my dinner.
BTW, we did a little technography at Berkman in 2003.
BTW, it's nice to do things for Doc because he's so damned appreciative and because he reciprocates. That's not to say I wouldn't help if he weren't but it just makes me happier to do it because he's such a pleasant dude.
Apparently my computer hacked itself somehow when I signed onto my hotel's Internet service. It reprogrammed the page linked into the Home button. Okay, I've seen that before, so I went to the browser prefs page to reprogram it, but when I click the button it still goes to its page. And when I type the address in manually it goes to its page. Okay, so I reprogrammed the Home button to take me to scripting.com instead of www.scripting.com, and that worked. But now, even when I'm on the Harvard wifi network when I go to www.scripting.com it takes me to its damned page. I guess there must be an invisible pref that got changed. Aside from the question of why Firefox lets a website do that, how do I get my browser to go to the right place when I type in the address of my site? (Postscript: Th0m thinks its a DNS cache that needs flushing.)
Kahle mentioned a television archive for the week after 9/11/01, but I'm not able to find it. Does anyone know where it is??
Jamie Parks, the guy who drove from Austin with his girlfriend made it to Cambridge.
Rasterweb is waiting for his lifetime achievement award. I think you have to quit blogging before you get one. Amazingly, this site has never won an award. Must be a piece of shit.
Amyloo is looking for examples of OPML usage for live blogging, instant outlining, technography and publication content storage.
I want to use my Blackberry as a modem for my Mac. Is it possible? (Postscript: Apparently not.)
Okay I was called a sexist by Liz Henry and Chris Boese echoed it and added a few other insults to the mix. Both of them claim it's just humor, but it's not funny.
I think we're in a transition period, out of the 20th century when men had to shut up on gender issues, to a different place, where there is some tolerance for men having opinions about gender. At least in principle, the people who came to BlogHer said they wanted to hear from men. But, put into practice it's actually really hard to hear men say things on this subject.
A simple case of men talking about gender, pointing out male-bashing. It's not proactive, it's not even very imaginative. A woman (and sometimes a man, to impress a woman) says something negative about the male gender. I've tried to object, to point out the male-bash, and been told to lighten up, it's just a joke, or be strong, be a man. In other words, shut the fuck up. Your opinion is worth even less if you're white. And something I've only been learning in the last few years, if you're old, white and male, you're worth less than shit. (You can see the ageist BS in Chris Boese's post, although she said nothing about my whiteness, perhaps because she is also white?)
So, ironically, all these people who tell us to shut up have one thing in common, they're fighting for freedom, but don't see the contradiction that freedom has to be inclusive. If you fight for your freedom by supressing someone else's, well, the math just doesn't work. Freedom isn't exclusive, it has to be inclusive.
That's why BlogHer was so revolutionary, not a word I use lightly. Over and over I was told how glad people were that I came. When I asked why, they said something that made a lot of sense. They were flattered that I was interested in what they had to say.
I needed reassurance that my presence was welcome, after a lifetime of being told to shut up. Gradually, if the door stays open, something great is going to happen. There are always some who are scared of change, and I think that's what Liz and Chris are doing. There are others who aren't scared, or are willing to go through their fear, who want to see what's on the other side. I'm one of those people. I'm tired of living with other people's fear, and am willing to go through my own.
If I am a sexist, I'll own that. But there's not much point in calling someone a sexist, there's very little chance they're going to hear it. So little chance that it seems when someone uses that word they must be talking over my head, to someone else, trying to say "Let's stop this fucker before anyone listens to him." That's the bad kind of fear, the fear that stops motion. I've seen it happen with men, all the time. We do that to each other to keep progress from happening. Now we're seeing it happen with women too. My guess is, it's for the same purpose.
Steve Rubel reports that China is blocking RSS hosted by Feedburner.
5/21/06: "It's absolutely essential that the user own the domain that their feed is hosted at, so that, in case of emergency, they can switch to a different hosting service. If they don't own the domain, it doesn't matter how many promises the vendor makes, or how well-intentioned they are, an act of god could result in a blackout of a huge portion of the RSS network." Or an act of government.
It would be possible for the Chinese to block RSS even if it were totally decentralized, but it would be expensive, they'd have to actually look at the payload and see if it contained RSS. But when all the feeds come from one domain, it's easy and cheap, as easy as blocking CNN. That's why we should decentralize as much as possible, and every move to centralize has costs, because it makes it easier for censors.
I'm in a session led by Gary Price and J Baumgart, talking about how to do research on the web. Great stuff. One of the things they pointed to is a new French search engine called Exalead.
As we were walking to lunch, we saw a group posing for a picture on the front steps of a small office building (next to the old Berkman office). I couldn't help myself, I had to take a picture of my own. And a movie.
Movie: Wikimania Q&A.
Doc Searls is sitting two rows down. David Weinberger, who has lost a lot of weight, is across the room in the first row. Dan Bricklin was sitting in the last row on the other side, but seems to have left. Mitch Kapor is typing away in the middle section of the room. Andrew Baron is IMing in the seat to my left.
Movie: Tour of Pound 101 at Wikimania.
Movie: Cab ride on Storrow Drive along the Charles River.
According to News.com, Foster's beer is shifting all its TV ads to the web.
While we're Wikipediaing here on the east coast, back in SF there's WordCamp, a 1-day conference for WordPress users and developers.
Doc Searls arrived in Cambridge from the west coast after the heat wave broke, missing the awful weather that tormented the east coast this week.
TechDirt: "BusinessWeek has written the ultimate Web 2.0 hype piece without the slightest hint of skepticism about the numbers that it throws around."
NY Times: "...the Lamont campaign tried to harness the energy, anger and muckraking zeal of an expanding network of blogs in its effort to unseat Mr. Lieberman."
The name-calling gets pretty dense over at Chris Boese's weblog. Lots of misunderstandings, and a fair amount of snark.
This is an example of what didn't happen at BlogHer.
She says it seemed like I was anxious about going to the conference, yup, that's right and this is why. When a man speaks, it can't be about gender, or else the bashing starts right off. It's hard to imagine that a man could say anything about gender without someone taking issue, which is why I saved my comments for after the conference, where there would be a record and no doubt of what I actually said. The funny thing is, the brief time I spent hanging out with Liz Henry at BlogHer (who Chris quotes extensively) was quite pleasant, surprisingly so, since she bashed me on her blog after BloggerCon.
Liz says I won't mind being called a sexist, well, she should ask before assuming. Yes I mind, and I bet you would mind too Liz, but I'm not going to call you names, because I want to work with you, and name-calling is not great way to do that.
The schedule for Wikimania. It starts tomorrow.
News.com: Wikipedia bans Stephen Colbert.
Scott Rosenberg wonders why Technorati is "so unstable."
Marc Canter: "PeopleAggregator is for people who want to build and run social networks."
I'm at LaGuardia, where it's still sweltering, even in the air conditioned terminal you can't avoid the heat outside (100-plus). I'm waiting for a flight to Boston, and checked the temperature there, and see that it's just 73. Can't wait to get there!
A Google engineer, Mihai Parparita, ranked the most popular namespaces used in feeds.
Two friends, Robert and Patrick Scoble, embark on a fantastic road trip today, from the Bay Area to Livingston, Montana. I've done the drive myself, in the opposite direction, and it's a great one. Lots of fantastic scenery and lots of empty miles on great roads to space out and relax in. Wish I was along for the ride, but Wikimania should be pretty cool, esp if the heat wave breaks, as it's predicted to. Tomorrow's high in Cambridge is forecast at 81. Man, that's coooool.
Yes, I have put ads on some of my sites, but never on Scripting News. I didn't want to interfere with my message by selling rides to hitch-hikers. Frankly they weren't offering enough money to make it worthwhile to me. In order to get me to share the space with them, they'd have to compensate me for the distraction, and for the bad vibes that comes from trying to distract the people whose attention I value most, the readers of Scripting News.
An example. As you know, I'm in the process of buying a house (the closing is a week from tomorrow), so I do a lot of email with my mortgage broker, accountant, realtor, insurance agents. They're all using email these days, so there's less phone tag, and it's easier to compare offers, juggling details is possible, even while I'm traveling. Last time I bought a house, in 1992, it wouldn't have been possible to go to NY and Boston in the week before the closing, but you can do it now.
So every time I get an email from one of these people, Google shows me ads for their competitors. I get an email from my accountant, ads from other accountants appear in the margin. My insurance agent sends me a quote, and links to other insurance agents appear. This is per the design of Internet advertising, but it's pointless. If I wanted information about competitors I know how to use the search engine, and I would go look them up (as I did when I was getting started).
That's the key point, we are seeking out commercial information all the time, as we live our lives in a material society. All day every day. I have to go into the city in an hour or so, and I used Google to decide to take a bus instead of calling a cab to take me to the subway station. I was able to estimate the cab fare, and since I don't live in NY and they keep changing the bus fare, I was able to find out how many quarters I needed to get on the bus (eight). It may seem trivial to you, but it wasn't to me. They require exact change. Now did any of the ads I've seen in the last hour get me that information? No.
When they finish the process of better and better targeted advertising, that's when the whole idea of advertising will go poof, will disappear. If it's perfectly targeted, it isn't advertising, it's information. Information is welcome, advertising is offensive. Who wants to pay to create information that's discarded? Who wants to pay to be a nuisance? Wouldn't it be better to pay to get the information to the people who want it? Are you afraid no one wants your information? Then maybe you'd better do some research and make a product that people actually want to know about.
At a meeting yesterday, at a famous media company, to illustrate this point, which can be a little subtle today, but will be making people billions in a couple of years, I pointed to my computer and my Blackberry. I said maybe Apple would provide software that made the Blackberry work as well as the iPod works with a Mac, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Then I pointed to something I noticed, another person in the meeting had a Blackberry and a Mac too. Amazing that we would both be customers for the same product that doesn't exist, and isn't likely to exist, the way things are going.
And that's why things will change. The current product development process, that focuses on a few supposed geniuses and ignores the intelligence that's in the user's minds, same as with unconferences, is about to run its course much as the old style conference can't possibly compete with one that involves the brains of the people formerly known as the audience. Think about it. There's a big trend here, imho it's the difference between the 20th and 21st centuries. In the past the flow of ideas for products was heavily centralized, and based on advertising to build demand. In the future, the flow of ideas for products will happen everywhere, all the time, and products with small markets will be worth making because we'll be able to find the users, or more accurately, they'll be able to find us. "Targeting" customers is the wrong metaphor for the future. Instead make it easy for the people who lust for what you have to find you. How? 1. Find out what they want, and 2. Make it for them and 3. Go back to where you found out about it, and tell them it's available.
I've been singing this song since 2000. I think we're almost there. I saw that Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are banding together to fight click-fraud. That's about as likely to work as the fight in the 80s to stop people from copying copy-protected software. The incentive to defraud is too great. And who's frauding who, I think it's the companies that take your money to hitch your message on "content" where it isn't welcome. Imagine taking people's money to turn their products into a nuisance. The kids being born today won't believe it used to work this way.
User-generated content is actually on the road to nirvana, but it's not a sustainable model in itself. In all that content, which today's companies view as frankfurter meat, undifferentiated slurry, a medium for unwanted hitch-hikers, is the idea for the next iPod, or the formula for peace in the Middle East, the campaign platform for the President we'll elect in 2012, perhaps even a solution for global warming. You just have to believe that intelligence isn't concentrated among the people who rose to the top of the 20th century's ladders to believe that there are nuggets of wisdom waiting out there for the taking, among the minds that created all that UGC.
Yogi Berra: "You can observe a lot just by watching."
Washington Post: "Maynor said the two have found at least two similar flaws in device drivers for wireless cards either designed for or embedded in machines running the Windows OS. Still, the presenters said they ultimately decided to run the demo against a Mac due to what Maynor called the 'Mac user base aura of smugness on security.'"
Jason Calacanis on the pre-conference at Wikimania: "No venture capitalists, no headhunters, no PR people, and most importantly no CEOs!"
New directory: PR and marketing podcasts.
Yahoo has a corporate weblog. Subscribed.
Frank Paynter on the men at BlogHer. Someday I hope we'll just be able to laugh without wondering if it's politically correct.
I drove to the airport today, thinking I'd get there faster than I would with BART (I was running a little late). Nope. Even with very modest traffic on the Bay Bridge, it took 1.5 hours from my front door to the American Airlines terminal, compared with 1 hour via BART. And BART is much cheaper, and less stressful. I hate to sound like an ad for public transit, I was actually surprised by the result. Regardless, I made my flight, had an aisle seat, with power, so I was well entertained and comfortable.
Steve Rubel, a NYer trying to survive the heat, has word of podcasts from Metro Transit.
The bashing I've gotten on the web has done nothing to dim the glow of the conference. I'm wondering how much of a letdown Wikimania will be this weekend. I really want all my conferences, from now on, to be 97 percent women and 3 percent men.
Okay, Maryam (who's like family to me) says men don't notice the small touches, the clothes women wear, the paint on their faces and finger and toe nails. And I suppose that's true, somewhat.
But why did evolution make the women the flamboyant gender of our species? Aren't men more visual than women? I was talking about that on Sunday with Ponzi, when she and the Scobles and Paulls came over to look at my new house in Berkeley. Why are women so good at dressing up, and men care how their dates look; and women (think they) overlook the looks, and focus on other qualities. We got started talking about this because Ponzi suggested a date for me with someone I don't find attractive, even though she's smart and clever, and laughs at my jokes. What makes someone attractive, either gender, is pretty much a mystery.
Maryam thinks we don't notice how they dress up, but I don't know about that. Put me in a room with 700 women, and I really did think about the massive amounts of makeup that were consumed that morning, and how different that was from any other conference I'd been to. Of course maybe that's what Maryam is saying. Maybe there's some other way of looking at it? (Extreme example, yes, I see the irony.)
I said to Ponzi that I'm 75 percent gentleman and 25 percent Neanderthal. I think she was hoping I'd be 100 percent of her ideal a man, but I'm sorry, I still live in a cave, can't help it, it's in the genes.
It was a very sweet event, because women can be very sweet. I say that the same way women who like men tune into our sweetness. But the environment, now that we've returned to the web, has become bitter. Reacting to one of my posts, an angry man says that my attitudes are a throwback to something old, if so, I pity the young men, who don't see the love and beauty in women, or are afraid to talk about it. I wouldn't have said these things at the conference, because I don't yet trust the women not to bash when they get scared. And nothing scares people more than a man saying what he sees, even if what he sees is beauty and love.
I did speak once, and afterward a woman (one of the discussion leaders) said that I was expressing my female passion. I said "that sounds like a compliment." She said it was. But inside I wondered why she thought that, does she think men don't have passion? Does she understand that, while she was expressing a compliment, she was also putting down my gender? Would she have understood if I had said something negative about her gender, for example, if a woman was being analytic or solving a problem, that it was her maleness that was speaking? Hard to imagine that conversation taking place in 2006. This may be what makes Frank Paynter tremble.
I'm going to continue to believe that the bitter angry people are the outliers, and I'm going to stick with the love, and look for it in others. See the put-downs, and ageist and sexist attacks as people who are uncomfortable with males being happy or in love with females. I'm going to listen when my heart wells up thinking about all those courageous and beautiful women bloggers, who want something more than the cave, and the men who let women give us that.
At BloggerCon I said I wanted to speak about gender issues, and I don't think our BlogHer guests understood. To them, men always get to speak, about whatever we want. It's only natural to see the barriers that are in your way, the barriers that are in other people's way are invisible.
BlogHer was a demo of barrier-less discourse, for women. I think. And that men were welcomed, and that the women were glad we were there, was a surprise, and an unqualified good thing. But I can tell you that we're not all the way there yet. Maybe next time have a session at BlogHer with a panel of men on stage, and women in the audience. Just one out of the 20 panels. You might have a very hard time finding men who are willing to do it (not sure I would). But if you could, we might have our eyes opened, even further.
Bottom-line: We still have a ways to go before everyone is free to say what they see.
Hi, my name is Jamie Parks, we are digital friends thru flickr. Right now it is Tuesday Aug 1st, 10:47pm Texas time. My girlfriend and I are about to start driving North for Harvard Law School to attend Wikimania.
But check this out, I just found out about wikimania thru ScriptingNews like yesterday. So I went to the wikimania-wiki to learn more about it and then saw that the registration period was closed.
I e-mailed the wikimania dudes but never heard back. Is there any way my girl and I can still get into this thing or are we out of luck this year?? I still plan on roadtripping either way. Let me know something if you got the time.
Marshall Kirkpatrick has the scoop on a new RSS namespace proposed by Bloglines that would limit access by search engines to the contents of a feed. Seems a bit early to be saying it's a standard, better to let people look it over and comment, imho.
New header graphic. BlogHers nerding out during Friday's keynote lunch. They're definitely prettier than we are, but when it comes to our laptops, and our attention, we're apparently not all that different.
Speaking of heat, the projected high in NYC today is 101.
The first few days I hated my Blackberry and I just wanted my el cheapo Nokia back, but now I'm hooked. The big deal was getting it all wired into my email, now I can check mail while I'm in line at Andronico's. Not too bad to have the web right there too, but I haven't yet got that all set up. It takes a while to get the hang of the funky little keyboard, but every email comes with your excuse automatically inserted at the end. "Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless." And my mother loves me, even if you don't.
Scott Rosenberg responds to a rant that outliners are considered harmful because they force hierarchic thinking.
I've spent most of my adult life thinking about this, at least part-time, and with all due respect, the people who are criticizing outliners have vastly over-simplified them.
Think of an outliner as text-on-rails. It does exactly the opposite from forcing you to live with a hierarchy. It allows you to edit the hierarchy.
The equivalent criticism of unstructured text would be to say word processors are harmful because printing forces a rigidity to thinking, but the power of a word processor is that it doesn't force your ideas on to paper, it makes revision easy, and that has led to many variants from email to blogs and wikis. All were descended from the word processor, which was originally designed (misguidedly imho) to put words on paper.
I am one of the major proponents of outlining, along with Doug Engelbart, and I never imagined an outliner that forced you into a hierarchic box. For me, the puzzle wasn't solved until the hierarchy was perfectly malleable. We reached that milestone, again imho, a long time ago, in the mid-late 80s, with MORE, and since then, text-on-rails has been a solved problem. Now the trick is to introduce the idea more broadly. That's still waiting to happen.
My entry in this cause is the OPML Editor, which is open source, GPL, and is also a powerful text programming environment and content management tool, following in the tradition of previous programmable text tools, like Emacs on Unix.
Shelley Powers said recently that I would never point to her, while observing that I had pointed to her in the past almost as often as I had pointed to Scoble. I point to her when she says something worth thinking about, which is often, but only those that don't contain personal attacks.
Today, in a long piece about BlogHer, she said something that not only is worth thought, but which I wholeheartedly agree, and was wanting to say at the Politics panel, where they started the old tired male-bash that we don't point to women often enough and that's the cause of their suppression (which I don't buy and for the most part neither did they).
Here's what Shelley said. "If we, women and men both, follow a path where the only measure of success is the number of ads at our site, the links we have, the money we make, then the only power we're exercising is that of consumer-catered to, perhaps; but essentially meaningless."
I know I'm going to catch hell for this, but it's time to say something. Israel is wrong. There aren't two sides to this anymore. I've heard all I want to hear from Israel. It's time to stop the attack on Hezbollah, withdraw back into Israel, stop firing bombs into Lebanon, and shut up for a while and let everyone else sort this out. It's not just Israel's problem. There are hundreds of millions of lives at stake in the Middle East, and this time not only has an Arab country, and that's what Hezbollah is, withstood Israel's attack, but they're also clearly justified in their response to the Israeli attack.
Hezbollah has every right to have defenses against Israel. If I'm not mistaken, Hezbollah didn't start firing rockets into Israel until they were attacked by Israel. Okay, they took two Israeli soldiers hostage. And now Israel has killed hundreds of Lebanese, destroyed large parts of the country and its infrastructure. It's enough already. Even a Jew like myself sees how wrong the Israeli position is.
Maybe there's a silver lining here, maybe Hezbollah, having won not only a military victory, but also a political victory, maybe they can see their weapons as defensive, if not now, maybe soon. Especially if the western powers help get Israel to stop attacking.
Look, I'm not a diplomat, I don't speak for a country, I'm just telling you what I think. I don't expect a thoughtful response, but enough is enough, it's time to say something.
Note: This post appeared last night, but shortly after posting it, the flames started and I decided to pull it. Then I got an email from an Israeli saying it was good I realized it was wrong and pulled it. So I put it back up. For me the turning point was listening to the Israeli ambassador to the UN blame the killing of 50 Lebanese civillians, many of them women and children, on Hezbollah, even though they were killed by an Israeli bomb. Had the tables been turned, had it been 50 Israelis, I can't imagine Israeli logic concluding that they themselves were to blame for the deaths. Israel is not just defending itself, we are defending Israel. Without our army, our arsenal, our economy, Israel would not exist. They have an impossible problem, true enough, but they're not the only ones anymore, and they're just 3 million people. I don't understand where they get their support. I'm an American Jew, first-generation, child of refugees. If anyone would support Israel, it would be me, but I don't. This war has to stop now.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.