Weblog Archive >  2006 >  September Previous/Next

Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, September 30, 2006. Saturday, September 30, 2006

NY Times: "Top House Republicans knew for months about e-mail between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Newsweek has a lengthy excerpt from Bob Woodward's new book on the war in Iraq. I bought a copy at Amazon for delivery next week.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Google News articles about Idiocracy. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Closing line from the narrator in Magnolia: "We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The Beatles sing Ticket to Ride when it was new and they (and we) were young. This is why YouTube is great, even if they don't make a trillion dollars. What memories. And what value.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Word is getting around about Idiocracy, a movie written and directed by Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill), that opened only in a few cities at the beginning of the month. I heard a review of it this morning on NPR, they said it was great. I totally want to see it.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named silo.gifDoc talks about a Vendor Management Systems, to balance the other side's Customer Management Systems. I, of course, like. A prototype for this is a movie review system where I own and control my data. Today, I rate movies on Netflix and Yahoo, but I can't get them to share the data with each other, so they make recommendations without info the other one has. If I had a place where I kept my movie ratings and gave each of them a pointer to it, they could read it and I would control the data. It would be very easy to set up, the technology is no trick at all. The hard part is getting enough users to do it this way to gain critical mass. This is also the idea behind Edgeio and Marc Canter's People Aggregator. Open systems, users own the data, silos smell of sulfurPermanent link to this item in the archive.

According to this (anonymous) guy, people like me are "destroying discourse in this country." Or is it that I just know scripting and should stick to that? Or was yesterday's political writing the best in a long time? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Michael Markman: "History asks, 'Where were the good Germans?' I don't want future history to ask, 'Where were the good Americans?'" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

People are using this post of mine to say I support things that I don't support. I was asking for an icon for validated OPML. An icon that would link to the validator. To link from HTML to an OPML version of the data behind the page, I generally use the white on orange XML icon, as I have for years, and I'm not going to change that. Hopefully that's pretty clear. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, September 29, 2006. Friday, September 29, 2006

How Bush goes Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I seriously think my country has lost its mind. We're getting the best wakeup call possible with the torture bill. We're getting the warning, if we re-elect the Republican Congress, we deserve what we get.

A picture named kissinger.jpgHowever, it's not up to me, it's up to the Republicans. That's the basic truth. If you love the Constitution, if you love this country, how can you support what Congress just did. I struggle to find something to say, but then there really is nothing left. If the Republican voters can't figure this one out, we're totally screwed.

I wonder if Bush will leave office at the end of his term. Someone should ask him that question and listen carefully to the answer. An unequivocal "yes" is the only acceptable answer. I don't think he's planning to leave. That's what all this maneuvering is about. The next step will be they'll find some American citizens who are terrorists, and Congress will vote that in time of war the President doesn't need to charge them with anything to imprison them until the war is over. They can already put non-citizens, legal or illegal, in prison, indefinitely without charging them.

What's next? How far is "economic terrorism" from Islamofascists? Not really very far at all. When McCain runs for President the immigration issue will be front and center. Use your imagination if you want to understand what the final solution will be. And you should worry. I don't believe U.S. citizenship is any kind of protection.

We may be in the last moments of free speech in this country, unless we do something about it. It seems we still have a vote. I will vote against the Republicans, take that as a given. But that isn't enough. We need people who voted Republican in past elections to stand with us, to vote them out, now, so we can begin the process of unwinding the mess we're in.

I heard a talk by Joseph Biden earlier today. I think he's got some interesting ideas. Might want to take a look at that, for something positive and constructive we can focus on. And yes, once there's a new Congress, we can begin the impeachment process. That's how Bush goes. We can't wait for him to decide whether he wants to leave or not. It's time for him to go.

An important life lesson Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I should probably do a Flickr illustration for this one.

Four years ago today: "One of the lessons I've learned in 47.4 years: When someone accuses you of a deceit, there's a very good chance the accuser practices that form of deceit, and a reasonable chance that he or she is doing it as they point the finger."

Yahoo opens its identity system Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jeremy Zawodny links to Yahoo's diminutively named Browser Based Authentication (or BBAuth).

I can't explain it but the little dude reminds me of Mike Arrington.If it's easy to program, and delivers on what it says it does, this is a huge deal. Basically Yahoo is opening up their identity system, and user-data system, so developers can build on Yahoo as a platform. It's a bit further than Amazon was willing to go with S3 (it has an identity system, but it's not the same one that Amazon uses).

The Identity Gang folks are going to be talking about this for a long time to come. Now Google and Microsoft have to speak. I'm pretty sure they're not going to federate with Yahoo. Will they?

Ryan Tate is "confused but interested."

Wes Felter: "Google released the same thing a few months ago."

Wikipedia as a tool for character assassination Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named wikipedia.gifSeth Finkelstein: "For people who are not very prominent, Wikipedia biographies can be an 'attractive nuisance'. It says, to every troll, vandal, and score-settler: 'Here's an article about a person where you can, with no accountability whatsoever, write any libel, defamation, or smear. It won't be a marginal comment with the social status of an inconsequential rant, but rather will be made prominent about the person, and reputation-laundered with the institutional status of an encyclopedia.'"

I don't believe in War On Terror Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named noBuyMe.gifI don't believe in "War on Terror." It's a Republican code-phrase which is used to change the US from a republic with a strong foundation for freedom, into a Christian terrorocracy. The irony is of course that the terrorists are the ones who always invoke this idea of "War on Terror." After the latest fiasco in Congress, we're once again dependent on the courts to uphold our basic values. We've lost two branches of government. For now the executive appears to be respecting the courts. Key word there is "appears." I have no idea what they plan next.

Daniel Conover: "Shame on us."

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, September 28, 2006. Thursday, September 28, 2006

Podshow raises another $15 million. Oy. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

JC: "What on earth Podshow is going to do with almost $25M in funding is anyone's guess, but it's not going to end well I can tell you that." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

In other earth-shaking economic news, I bought a couple of chairs today. And a table.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

New header graphic, taken in the living room at my old house in Woodside, CA. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Interview with Ann Greenberg on the future of media.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Now that Facebook is open, I have joined, and also started a group for Scripting News readers. Let's have fun! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named vaio.jpgHere's a perfect description of the MacBook shutdown problem. It appears a lot of Mac users are dealing with this, yet there has been no public acknowledgment from Apple. The symptoms are now very well-known. It doesn't cure itself, it only gets worse. I've reverted to using my Sony Vaio, which is really hard on my eyes. The MacBook shuts down so frequently, it's become useless.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, September 27, 2006. Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A picture named football.gifScreen shot. Three days into the ad program at Techmeme, one of the advertisers, oDesk, has used their spot to announce something noteworthy, and it bought them more visibility, at least with me. The second just says Techmeme Sponsorship which seems a fair waste of the attention, why not say something about your company. The third does explain what the company does, but not very efficiently. Seems like people are still figuring this out, or the price isn't so high that it's worth much thought. If I had a slot there I'd be trying more ideas out, for sure.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Scoble: "Find me the best blogs from Demo." Ditto. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Random idea -- A BitTorrent device that plugs into your router (or maybe it is a router) that senses when you're not using the net, and starts serving BT content. As soon as you start using the net, it goes offline.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Steve Matthews: Top 10 Uses for RSS in Law FirmsPermanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named blackmacsmall.jpgI took the MacBook down to the Apple Store in Emeryville. The "genius" (no sarcasm) took a quick look at the machine and said they know what the problem is (he wouldn't explain), and ordered a replacement part. I'll have to leave the computer at the store for 4-5 days in about a week. Why I had to drive down there I don't know. What would it be like to own a Mac where the Apple Store is a hundred miles away?  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Another dumb question. I have a Windows machine that's misbehaving badly, but I think I can trick it into launching the Explorer, but I have to do it from the command prompt. But I'm stuck, cause I don't know how to type the name of a directory that has a space in it. In other words, I want to CD to a directory called "FOO BAR" without the quotes of course. Is there a way to tell command.com to change to that directory? (Postscript: Two things made all the diff. 1. I switched from command to cmd. 2. And instead of launching the Explorer, which seems to be damaged in some way, I just used MS-DOS to copy the files to a backup disk. It took a couple of hours, but it's done. Thanks for all the great advice!!) Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Martin Schwimmer says I'm right, the monkey is wrong.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Liz Gannes reports on Day 1 at Demo. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Duncan Mackenzie is thinking about tags vs categories in blog posts.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On this day in 2003, Doug Kaye added an RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures for IT Conversations. I wrote: "Hey we're starting to get a (very small) installed base of interesting feeds that use the enclosures." That's how standards get created. Someone goes first, then someone goes second, compatibly. And so on. In this case, Doug was the "ratifier." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

When I see this dialog I think it's only talking about photos. But then I read it carefully and "albums" might refer to music. Is this the place where you lose all the music on the iPod if you click on Yes? I don't see how it could be. And damn if I know what they're talking about. I've never synced (is that a word) this iPod with a photo library or folder. I just use it for music.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

More on MacBook random shutdowns Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Via email from Tim Joransen...

A picture named blackmacsmall.jpg"A coworker's daughter had one with this problem. She had it sent in before she started college, but it happened again once she got to college. After a lot of stress and pushing Apple, they resolved it, by trading it up for a Mac Book Pro. So they spent more money, but they did get $200 off for having to do this. I guess the Apple tech person said they probably didn't want to bother risking it continuing. Not a pretty picture for those it afflicts.

"His daughter loves the Mac Book Pro even better (bigger screen), but my friend isn't too happy."

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, September 26, 2006. Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Jeremy Zawodny on Yahoo's Hack Day.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named blackmacsmall.jpgUpdate on my restarting MacBook. It's gotten much worse, to the point where the computer reboots every ten minutes. A few weeks ago I got some pointers from people saying that Apple is requesting people to bring their MacBooks into an Apple Store, so I called the store in Emeryville and was told they've never heard of the problem, and I should bring it in so a technician could look at it. So apparently Apple isn't aware of the random restart problem. I don't know if I should waste a trip down to the store, I know I can't be without use of the laptop for any extended period of time. Not a happy situation. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Eric Soroos had the same problem, after three weeks in service, his MacBook was fixed. He says at some level Apple is aware of the problem, if not at the retail level.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mike Kaltschnee has had two replacement Macs, still getting random restarts. He provides the range of defective serial numbers, my serial number is in the defective range. Guess it's time to take it in. Surprising that the people at the store don't know about this problem. Surprising that they're still selling defective computers?  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jason Calacanis reports that there are now mobile versions of all the Weblogs, Inc sites. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Good luck to my buddy Robert Scoble on the launch of his new show, aptly named The Scoble Show. Go get em dude!! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Why it's been so quiet here the last couple of days -- I'm furniture shopping with another good buddy, the world-famous Ponzi, of Gnomedex fame. She flew down from Seattle just for the occasion. She's a really great person to do this with. We're having a lot of fun! That's why there's a picture of a chair below, we call it The Million Dollar Chair. It's really nice.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named millionDollarChair.gif Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A monkey is living in my old bedroom at my parents house. He's typing random letters into a typewriter. In 1986 he typed the letters I, P, O, and D next to each other. He says I can sue Apple for trademark infringement. I say no way.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, September 25, 2006. Monday, September 25, 2006

Ray Ozzie named top Agenda Setter for 2006. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Where the fcuk is Gastonia? I asked my friend from Gastonia. She says I answered the question with the question.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named soup.gifEveryone's writing about the new ads on Techmeme this morning, so I thought I'd come at it from a different angle. I've often wanted to buy a spot on Techmeme, when I have something to announce, and don't want to wait for other people to point to it. I'd rather just pay a bit of money and get the idea displayed in the right margin. Not sure if it makes sense to buy a whole month. Will the sponsors actually have anything to say? We'll find out. A month is a long time to fill. Also, I wish I had had a chance to bid on an ad, I wonder how Gabe decided who to offer it to, and how he set the price. Will the value of an ad on Techmeme go up or down next month or the month after? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, September 24, 2006. Sunday, September 24, 2006

ConvergeSouth, Oct 13-14, Greensboro, NC. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Russell Shaw digs into Apple's history with the USPTO on trademark applicaitons for iPod and (gulp) iPodcast. This may explain why they're being so aggressive.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Check this out. Now Google is using my previous search results (and presumably choices) to find the results "most relevant to you." Good move. Next step: Let me tell you where my blog is, and you can use that data too.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Stewart Brand reviews Roomba. "It is perfect for bachelors of either sex who put off vacuuming chores for months." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

More twists and turns in my iPod saga Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named nowriteipod.gifThe commenters finally nailed the problem, I think. The DRM strategy of the iPod is getting in my way. Each iPod binds to one and only one desktop or laptop computer. Connecting to another is a no-no. That's why it comes up as a read-only device when you plug it into a different computer. There are ways to hack around that, by copying an XML file from one machine to another, but that's not too much help when the other machine is a few miles away, and aside from that, I don't like to hack around that way because -- dumb me -- I actually paid for this stuff.

So I decided to move the machine. It was time to do it anyway. So now the old desktop is in the new house, I downloaded the weekend's podcasts, some real good stuff, a few interviews with former President Bill Clinton, a Modern Love podcast from the NY Times, an all-star cast with Scoble, Malik and Arrington. Nice stuff for a walk on a Sunday afternoon. Only one problem. When I plug the iPod into the desktop, the original one, the one it used to like, it now acts like this is a foreign computer! Want to reformat the iPod, the Mac asks? No fucking way Jose. I like the iPod just the way it is, no thanks. But it insists. Sighhhh.

Okay, so this may seem a little subtle for people who are blinded by Mac devotion, but listen up. 1. I'm using these podcasts with the permission of the publishers. 2. I'm breaking no law. 3. I paid for the Mac and the iPod (quite a bit of money, I might add).

A picture named harris.jpgSo, dear friends, is this really the best the industry can come up with for a podcast player? Perhaps some venture capitalist with a bit of guts, instead of dipping their big toe in the market (i.e. Odeo, Podtech, Podshow, et al) wants to go all the way and fund the development of a real podcast playing device? Give me a call if you want to pursue this. I have a few ideas.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, September 23, 2006. Saturday, September 23, 2006

A picture named lydon.jpgThree years ago today: "Chris Lydon has been doing a series of audio interviews on his weblog at Harvard. There are already over 25 interviews, representing 40 separate MP3 files. The archive is nearly 300MB. It's a perfect application for RSS enclosures." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

My two cents on "podcast" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Today is, in a sense, the three-year anniversary of podcasting. It wasn't called podcasting then, but all the essential elements of what would become podcasting were in place. A regular show with a theme (Chris Lydon inteviewing people he finds interesting), a feed that has those shows as enclosures. The enclosures are in MP3 format. And a small number of aggregators that could do something interesitng with all that. A step down the road that would lead to podcasting.

When this became a juggernaut, almost exactly a year after the first Lydon feed, it desperately needed a name. Danny G came up with "podcast" and we liked it, so that was it, the decision was made, a "rough consensus" formed, and from then on we called what we were doing podcasting.

Now there's no doubt that part of the reason that podcasting took off then and not in 2003 or 2002 or 2001 is that there was an iPod and it was a juggernaut. People were interested in portable media, and the iPod had everything to do with that. So it made sense to relate this new art to the iPod, even though what Leo says is totally true, our podcasts work on things other than iPods. In fact, I wonder why Apple or someone else hasn't invested in making a device that is GREAT for listening to podcasts on the go, but that's another subject altogether.

Apple has a legitimate concern if you look at it from their point of view. Although I am not a lawyer, it seems to me that iPod is an excellent trademark, it's not descriptive, it's a made-up word, until Apple came up with it, it meant absolutely nothing. So, from the start, it was a defensible trademark. Then it went through the lifecycle that most runaway successes do, commercial interests try to take advantage of the popularity of the mark and name their products relative to Apple's, some leading to confusion, others not.

I think podcasting may create some confusion for the podcasters but not for Apple. No one confuses a podcast with an iPod, any more than car wax is confused with a car. And it's totally explainable that a podcast works on other hardware, by saying that the computer industry makes stuff that works together. To think that today's iPod isn't the leader in the market is to be in denial. So all competitors are able to play content that works on Apple's market leader. Emphatically, this is a good thing, and I feel no pity for Apple at being forced to be open, which is what podcasting forces them to be, like it or not.

I guess my take on it is this. I like the term podcasting because it causes people to find out where innovation really comes from. Apple has been coasting on other people's work, as well as contributing their own, but they're not very generous when it comes to sharing the credit. I'd be inclined to work with them on this, and other things, if they would be kind to us and our creations. Instead Apple sneers at the people who gave them this innovation, and sends demand letters to members of the community.

Maybe change is something Apple should contemplate? Maybe there's a way of working with creative people outside their own company that creates a win-win, and a foundation for further innovation?

Permanent link to archive for Friday, September 22, 2006. Friday, September 22, 2006

Paul Krugman on 9/21/04: "It's hard to identify any major urban areas outside Kurdistan where the U.S. and its allies exercise effective control. Insurgents operate freely, even in the heart of Baghdad, while coalition forces, however many battles they win, rule only whatever ground they happen to stand on." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The math of anonymous discourse on the Internet.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Wired: "Apple Computer has slapped Podcast Ready with a cease and desist letter, claiming that the terms Podcast Ready and myPodder infringe on Apple's trademarks." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A question about iPod that's sure to get me flamed.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jason Lefkowitz: "I do not agree that Microsoft has the right to 'turn off' my computer remotely if I've paid them for their OS, just because they don't like a new piece of hardware I've slapped in." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Keith Veleba: "Like most 'activation' schemes, it's a grave inconvenience to the honest folk, and no concern for the pirates, cause they've already broken it." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named soup.gifJay Rosen says when he explains his NewAssignment.net to journalists, they predict, "If people do step forward to fund assignments, they will be interests with an agenda who only want results that support that agenda. Or they will be passionate believers in a cause who know the truth and won't accept an account that differs. By taking their money you're asking for trouble." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

BusinessWeek: "Google and Yahoo at times passively profit from click fraud and, in theory, have an incentive to tolerate it." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Salon: "If one good thing can come from our country's apparent decision to legalize torture, perhaps we can finally agree to kill off the 'Myth of the Independent Republican Senators.'" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Today is OneWebDay. Yaaay web. Go team! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

No doubt the Apple zealots are going to flame me for this Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named nowriteipod.gifBut I swear I can't figure out how to copy some podcasts onto my iPod so I can listen to them on my daily walk.

Details. I hosed my Sansa by copying a 2GB folder on it. Now it just loops endlessly, refreshing the database, restarting, refreshing the database, restarting, until the battery runs down. I've been emailing with their tech support people, to no avail. The device won't respond to updating the firmware. I've tried all the magic incantations. Sansa == dead.

So back to Plan B. Try to use the iPod. It's plugged into my MacBook, not my desktop which is a few miles away at the old place. No problem, I have it configured for manual updating. But here's the rub, when I drag an MP3 file onto the "Dave's iPod" icon, in iTunes or the Finder, nothing happens. No file gets copied. I tried everything I could think of, honestly, so go ahead and flame me for being dumb, because I can't make this easy to use software do what it was designed to do.

Message to readers: Helllp!

Where do you want to go today? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named yourbase.gifI had an exceptionally unpleasant experience installing Windows on my ThinkPad yesterday. I answered all the questions it asked, entered the long registration string from the back of the package, but then the OS refused to boot, saying that I had installed it too many times. I could re-enter the number (which I tried, same result) or call a phone number. So I called. On the other end of the line was a robot, of course I was talking to the same piece of software that already said no, so it wasn't a surprise when I got the same result. You've installed the software too many times. So I hit the O button on my phone. Nothing happened. I hit it again, and again. Finally a voice with an Indian accent comes on the phone mumbling so I can't make out what he's saying. I guess that he wants me to read him the number, so I did, and this seemed to make him happy until I got about half way through it, then the line went dead, and a minute or so later another Indian voice comes on saying "How can I help you sir?" So I explain, again, he responds, not mumbling, and we get through it, and no surprise, it doesn't work. He says that I've installed it on too many computers. I explain for the third time that I paid for the software, got it just that day, installed it on exactly one computer (which I might add, already had a valid Windows license, so they got paid twice for this machine). I guess there was something in my voice that sounded sincere, and they give the guys in India some discretion because he gave me a number, that I entered, it worked, and the software is running. Needless to say if the computer needs a fresh install of the OS I'm surely hosed.

Straight talk Permanent link to this item in the archive.

John McCain wants to be President.

The last thing he would do is cross the current President, because that might mean he doesn't get to be the next President.

So when he "fought" the President and then made peace with the President, they were obviously just doing photo ops for TV ads they're going to run next month that explain how American democracy runs just great with Republicans running the Senate and House as well as the White House. They were also shooting commercials for McCain's primary campaign which I guess has already started.

So John McCain is some different kind of Republican?

Nahhh. El Diablo. Capitol Hill smells of sulfur.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, September 21, 2006. Thursday, September 21, 2006

Doc went to the Berkman Thursday meeting this evening.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Steve Williams, Digg: "If we could look in the head of the page to find the corresponding mobile-friendly page, we'd be ecstatic." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Dan Farber: "Mary Jo Foley has been a persistent thorn in Microsoft's side for more than 10 years." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mike Arrington says he knows who the anonymous blogger, Dead 2.0, is, but he hasn't told the rest of us. It could be a good thing for the tech blogosphere to put a name to this person, might make people think again before taking cheap shots if they could end up being responsible for what they say.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

MP3 of yesterday's NewsHour interview with General John Abizaid about the war in Iraq, from the NewsHour podcast feed

My inner-cynic has figured out what's going on with the "debate" about torture in the Sentate. It's so obvious, I don't know why I didn't see it before. The Republicans are about to lose Congress, at least partially because the electorate has come to realize how dangerous it is to have the executive and legislative branches both controlled by the same party. Solution -- show the President having an argument with three of his staunchest supporters. Fake controversy. Voila. Extra benefit -- it distracts the press and the public from the awful news from the Iraq. Challenge to the Dems, get the focus back on Iraq, asap. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, September 20, 2006. Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mary Jo Foley: "Blogging is the future of journalism." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Okay, I got cable installed at the new house today and got the HD option. Watching a random baseball game, it's awesome. 

A picture named roses.jpgEvery day on the NewsHour they have an American general saying the plan is to get the Iraqi army up and running. Sure it's difficult now, but soon, in six to nine months (he knows that's optimistic, but he's an optimist) they can start moving the American troops out and that's the plan, it's not great, but it's the best they can do. This has been going on since mid-2004 or so and there's no end in sight. Aren't the interviewers aware that we've been hearing this for two years and it just keeps getting worse, not better? You'd think they'd ask a question based on this simple observation, but they don't. Every day it's as if there had never been an American general on the show making excuses that no one believes. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Could someone please tell NPR that their podcast directory is empty. I'm getting errors on all their non-podcast feeds as well. I hope it's just a wire-trip. :-( Permanent link to this item in the archive.

NY Times: Some Hot Recorders for Those Cooool PodcastsPermanent link to this item in the archive.

BBC: Chavez tells UN Bush is devilPermanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named invisible.gifA few months ago I started noticing that, walking down the street, I'd have to veer to avoid walking into people. They weren't paying attention, if I didn't want to have a collision, I had to adjust my path. I couldn't figure out what was going on, did this just start happening, or did I just start noticing it, or what? I thought maybe it was the age difference, I'd always heard that when you get older you become more invisible, and in Berkeley, the average age is pretty young. But younger than Cambridge? Then, a couple of weeks ago, walking in San Francisco, I hit on what may be the answer. Cell phones and iPods. Perhaps people aren't as conscious walking on the street as they used to be? Listening to a really interesting podcast, engaged in an engaging conversation with a friend on a Bluetooth headset. If it's true, are people also walking into buildings more? Getting hit by cars? What's happening with the mortality rate of pedestrians? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Monkey Bites: How Buggy is iTunes 7? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Joseph Pisani at BusinessWeek needs a high resolution picture of me for an article he's writing. I don't have one, but people are always taking pictures at parties. Maybe someone has one. If so, send Joseph an email at bweekpic at gmail dot com. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Wired lists Web 2.0 winners and losers. Winners: Flickr, Odeo, Writely, del.icio.us, NetVibes. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

According to Valleywag, TechCrunch will launch an enterprise weblog today, edited by Nik Cubrilovic. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Two years ago today we took a walk on the Seattle waterfront. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On last night's Countdown, a constitutional law expert asks if the reason that the redefining of the Geneva Convention is being debated in the Senate is that news is about to break that the President has been ordering US military personnel to torture prisoners. If that's what's coming, we must act to remove the President from office. He is acting in our name, and we will have to deal with the consequences long after he's out of office. We can't support this for another two years. If the Democrats won't stand up to Bush, we must form a new political structure in which we can, without the Democrats. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Important note -- the dissenting Republicans are not opposing torture, they are proposing a different definition for torture. The Geneva Convention doesn't need redefining. Imagine of some other country were debating about this, how would we interpret it? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

BBC: Free anonymising browser debutsPermanent link to this item in the archive.

Glenn Fleishman reports that in-flight wifi may not be dead after all. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Transcript of NBC interview with Iranian president Ahmadinejad.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

From Jay Rosen comes news that Reuters has given $100K to his NewAssignment.net to "underwrite the costs of hiring our first editor, which is going to be a fun job." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, September 19, 2006. Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fulfillment by Amazon: "You send your new and used products to us, and we'll store them. As orders are placed, we'll pick, pack and ship them to your customers from our network of fulfillment centers." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named hotdog.jpgAmazon is kicking ass. I've long predicted that BigCo's would become fulfillment companies. I just didn't think it would happen this fast. Now I'll predict that long after Google is burned out and forgotten, we'll be shipping our wares to and from Amazon warehouses, with Jeff Bezos making some sheckels on each transaction. We'll think of Bill Gates as someone like Andrew Carnegie or Burl Ives. What do you mean he's still alive? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jason Kottke said something really nice about me today. Thanks man. Getting a MacArthur would be great. It would probably make my parents pretty happy too.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Joel Spolsky: "The phone they sent me, an LG Fusic, is really quite awful, and the service, Power Vision, is tremendously misconceived and full of dumb features that don't work right and cost way too much."  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Four years ago: "Weblogs, in a very real sense, get your mind out of bed, and back in the world. They can help alleviate the endless aloneness that's part of recovery." 

Sparkplug 9: "Pope says Islam is violent. Islamics react with violence. Pope apologizes." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Google has satellite pics of Baghdad. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Movie: More chickens on stilts from Sunday's paradePermanent link to this item in the archive.

YouTube offers "several RSS feeds for categorized groups of videos (such as recently uploaded, top viewed etc) as well as customized feeds for users and tags." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named richards.jpgIf the Democratic Party had a sense of presence, they would run national TV commercials commemorating the life of Ann Richards. A few schmaltzy snips from her convention keynote in 1988. "I'm delighted to be here with you this evening, because after listening to George Bush all these years, I figured you needed to know what a real Texas accent sounds like." I guess it would make today's party leadership look as anemic as it is.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Amanda Congdon is back with a new show, a roadtrip across America. A bunch of feeds, a website and a wikiPermanent link to this item in the archive.

I signed up to be a beta for MSN's Soapbox video community. I'll let you know when I get a chance to try it out. I don't feel bad, Mike Arrington doesn't have an account either. I guess Microsoft is learning the art of teasing? Or does it just look that way?  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, September 18, 2006. Monday, September 18, 2006

A picture named fusic.jpgGot my new Sprint AmbassadorPhone today, as I imagine a bunch of other bloggers did as well. I tried the music store, the software is dorky but I was able to easily get a few songs to play over the speaker. I tried hooking it up to my MacBook using the provided USB cable, but no-go, and since my Windows laptop is at my other house, I couldn't try it out today. The packaging is very nice. Has a built-in FM transmitter (haven't tried it yet). It has a web browser, but I haven't yet figured out how to enter a URL so I haven't been able to try one of the rivers out. They do have news, but the UI is molasses-like.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I went for a hike today with the parents in the hills. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Muslims who demand an apology from the Pope for insulting Islam would have more credibility if they demanded Ahmadinejad apologize for saying the Holocaust never happened. Think that'll ever happen? Nahh. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Niall Kennedy on private feeds. "I believe large publishers such as Salesforce.com or eBay would produce more feed content if they knew their customers' data was kept private and secure." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, September 17, 2006. Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dan Blank: "Much of the web needs to look deeper into making their mobile versions more user friendly." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Steve Philip: "Somewhere in the heartland of America, a conservative's head has just exploded." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Photos from today's How Berkeley Can You Be parade. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Movie: Chickens on stilts open Berkeley parade. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Movie: Mobile cupcakes. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

New header graphic. Volkswagen beetle art car.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named immerse.gifGo2Web20 reveals just how silly Web 2.0 is. A bunch of them have significant competitors that aren't included (in other words it's a club of some sort, with vague rules about who's included). I see a few there that are dead, in other words no one uses them. And quite a few that are vaporware. One where the CEO was just fired. A number of them are part of very large companies, so why aren't their other sites listed? Why are some Web 2.0 and others not? Who doesn't know this is all bullshit? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The Citizendium Project will "begin life as a 'progressive fork' of Wikipedia." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mike Arrington: "The Wikipedia community has completely intimidated me to the point where making a change to that site is unthinkable." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jory Des Jardins: The Conflicted BridePermanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, September 16, 2006. Saturday, September 16, 2006

Where we're at with mobile-friendly news. Matt Mullenweg and James Snell have made two different recommendations for linking a mobile-friendly rendering of stories into an RSS item. Imho either approach is workable. No spec text yet. The next question is what is a mobile-friendly rendering? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

And they say all the good domain names are taken.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named toyotaSienna.jpgTom Morris says that the innovative magnetic power adaptor for his new MacBook is already falling apart. I didn't want to say anything, but I noticed that it is pretty fragile, and suspected it wouldn't hold up well over time. I'm beginning to get the picture about Apple hardware, they make an import, like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, they spend a lot of time in the shop, but they're fun to drive. Me, I've always gone for Toyotas or Datsuns, they also are fun to drive, not necessarily very fast (but I don't like fast) and they require almost no maintenence, which is good for me, because I'm really baaaad at maintenence.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Gotta love President Bush. He says the Geneva Convention is too vague. He says a lot of Americans are confused, because it's complicated. It's not actually that complicated. We take care of the other country's soldiers, our enemy, because we want them to take care of our soldiers. That's why two Republican soldiers, McCain and Powell say Bush is wrong, and the US must continue to support the Geneva Convention. To do otherwise would be grossly unkind to our own soldiers. So many Republicans are coming out against this, you gotta wonder if this isn't some kind of trap for Democrats, who are saying nothing. Didn't Bush check with the Senate before going on this campaign? Is he running against his own party now? Hard to believe.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named airportExpress.jpgNext Apple question. I've got a cool little Airport Express at the new house. Scoble is coming over today, and I'm sure he's going to want to use the wifi, but he uses a ThinkPad, and I have a WEP password. I know how to enter the password on my Mac, I just type the damned thing in and it takes care of the rest. But it's not so simple on Windows. Suppose my password is ohyomama or something like that, what does Scoble have to type into his ThinkPad to get on my network? I used to know this, but I always forget. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

To Daring Fireball, maybe he does but he ain't here yet.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The last house was called The Internet Hut (among other names). The new house doesn't have a name yet. It's tall, so maybe The Internet Tower? Hmmm. Not sure yet. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A book I'd like to read -- Deadwood, the Rest of the Story. Assume the character development of the HBO series. Take the screenplay for the season they didn't produce and add some narrative. It'd be a best-seller.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, September 15, 2006. Friday, September 15, 2006

Chris Messina: "As a white boy who attended yesterday and today's Future of Web Apps summit, I feel compelled to speak up about a disturbing element of an otherwise well-produced event." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

SF Chron: "Technolgy guru Esther Dyson has quietly put out the word that the 2006 PC Forum, held in March in Carlsbad, California, would be the last." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Doc is in PhoneCo hell, with Verizon. No doubt all the people he's talking to are in India or the Philippines. That's what the SBC guys were telling me. But get this, I got a business card for one of the installers. It's like gold. He speaks my language. Even better, it has an email address on it! Wow. Pretty cool. It's a good idea to plant a few spies inside these big companies. Kind of like putting a blogger on the op-ed page of the NY Times. Hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure someday it will.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named summer.gifThe wait is over, the DSL is working at the new house. Halla fucking loo yah! The techs at SBC were great. Once we got dial tone working, they swarmed on the house, and made it their mission to squeeze 6 megabits from the ancient copper running down my street. The result is an awesomely fast DSL connection. I also got 5 static IP addresses, so get ready for some fun new servers.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Now that the DSL is in, it's time to stress over something else.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Today I'll be over at the new house waiting for the DSL installer. Knock wood, praise Murphy, maybe I'll have Internet at the new place. In the meantime, if anything interesting comes up I'll post it on my mobile weblogPermanent link to this item in the archive.

Gary Short: "It seems to me a namespace extension to RSS could be the way to go." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, September 14, 2006. Thursday, September 14, 2006

Evan Williams explains how Odeo screwed up.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

"Mr Gutman" on second-time entrepreneurs. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Now if Podshow's CEO, Ron Bloom, Odeo's competitor, were as insightful and open as Evan Williams, he would say something like this. "I thought all the technology for podcasting had been invented, but boy was I wrong!"  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Rex Hammock in 2/05: "Opportunism should never be confused with passion." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Engadget on Microsoft's new iPod-alike, Zune. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Todd Bishop: "If Zune is to become the long-awaited iPod killer Microsoft so clearly wants it to be, it'll have to compete on a much more elusive battlefield: coolness."  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Michael Gartenberg: "I can share any song on the device to any other device in range. DRM content or plain MP3s but don't get too excited." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I don't understand what Amazon is doing with Promotion via API and RSS for ECS, but it's intriguing. Are the feeds a demo, or is that real data? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mobile-friendly news Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named blackBlackBlackBerry.jpgThe next step in the evolution of mobile rivers is a way for a feed to link to articles that render well on mobile devices. I don't want to propose a specific way of doing that, I could, but then the argument would be why I think I have the right to do that, which is an old boring argument that I'd rather side-step. Rather, I'm going to ask the great minds of the tech blogosphere to mull this over, discuss it if you like, and propose some solutions. Even better if you are a source of content, and can vouch for a bunch of feeds that will support your proposed solution. Then we can seek a second party and a third to support the first workable solution that pops up.

Let me try to state the problem concisely, so we'll know when we have a solution.

First, consider the BBC and NY Times rivers. When I link to an article, I start with the URL to the "rich" HTML rendering, and apply an algorithm to turn the rich URL into a URL that points to a "plain jane" page, one which renders well on a mobile device. For example, here's an article on the BBC website, and here's the mobile-friendly version. See the difference? On a desktop or laptop, you'd probably prefer the rich version, but on a mobile device, like my Blackberry, the plain version works much better.

A picture named treo.jpgI was able to figure out a mapping for the Times and the BBC, but clearly that won't work in every case. Somehow each feed is going to have to tell us where the mobile-friendly version is. And that means, inevitably, using a namespace (creating a new one or using an existing one) to link from an item to its mobile-friendly rendering. Or so it seems to me. I could be wrong. Figure it out and let me know. I'll use whatever works and is supported by the community. (But the clock is ticking, I have an app almost ready to deploy that needs the solution.)

PS: Anticipating that people are going to suggest using Google's algorithmic method of generating mobile-friendly content, I'd rather not depend on Google, I'd rather the content people take care of this. Building too much on one large platform is a precarious way to build. We've already found, many times, that Google doesn't care what we think. So let's fix this ourselves, it'll work much better that way, imho.

PPS: I linked this into a new Technical Issues section in the NewsRiver.org directory.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, September 13, 2006. Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Feedburner: A Peek Inside TechCrunch's 100K MilestonePermanent link to this item in the archive.

Lessons from AT&T/Yahoo Permanent link to this item in the archive.

In early August, I wrote a piece about where the intelligence is in the network of users and vendors, and how so much of it is with the users, and in the past that was so poorly utilized, and how the Internet is in the process of flipping it around, to the point that users become manufacturers, and that's the process Jason was trying to explain yesterday. We still need expertise, I don't know how to design a bridge, and my doctor can't design a web app, but we also need the expertise that users develop, that today's manufacturer's just throw away.

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.

Back to AT&T/Yahoo. I could tell them so much about their organization because I've had to deal with 20 different people in their organization the last couple of days. The information I have is stuff they don't, and I'm sharing it with other people on the web, and it's going to show up in the search results when people try to figure out whether or not they should go with AT&T/Yahoo (so far, I wouldn't, I'm on the verge of cancelling the order, but they're getting another chance, because Comcast is even worse).

Ahem cough *tease* cough ahem Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named tease.gif

Ryan Sholin: "Does this mean a new NewsRiver online aggregator comes with a slice of strawberry cheesecake?"

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, September 12, 2006. Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A picture named grouchy.jpgAfter all the hassling today with the phone company I still don't have a dial tone at the house. I came back to the apartment, ready to sign up with Comcast, but they won't sign me up unless I transfer my old service. But I don't want to transfer my service I want service at both places. Never mind, we can't even do that unless you come down to our office to prove that you're not the old owners who apparently owe them money. Okay, I give up. It's apparently impossible to get Internet service in Berkeley. Grace Davis says I need a personal assistant.  

I got burned again by the Firefox bug/feature where it implements permanent redirects without looping the server in, and this was really elaborately fcuked up. Okay, so I had a bug in some software and it was redirecting where it shouldn't, and because I was doing permanent redirects, once I fixed the bug there was nothing I could do to Firefox to tell it to forget about my mistake (or was there? is there some programmer's switch I can flip that tells it to forget about all the redirects it's remembering? that would solve the problem). Anyway, so I map a different domain to the app, as I did last month when I hit this wall, and I used that one instead. However, I forgot to change the domain for the cookie the app was returning. So I spent hours chasing down a bug in some ancient mainResponder code that I haven't looked at in this milennium, and therefore didn't trust, when the problem was somewhere very far away, in my work around for this new weird and programmer-unfriendly behavior of Firefox's. Now I know some idiot is saying it's my fault for having bugs, but that's ridiculous. If I have to write bug-free code to use Firefox as a development tool, well then I'd better find another browser. Unless there's some hidden nerd switch (see above). Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Pretty soon Scoble will be more popular than Jesus.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

MacWorld report on Apple's announcements. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named wsj.gifInteresting back and forth between the leaders of the Wikipedia and Britannica communities. In defense of Britannica, there is indeed an important difference, Britannica tells you who the editors are, and Wikipedia can't. When directly asked about that, Wales dodges. I feel sympathy for the Britannicans, and I'm embarassed that the people from the web, which is where I hail from, are so hostile toward the print folk. When Wales cites an accuracy issue for Britannica (calling it "bad publicity"), it's clear they did the right thing, when the 12-year old boy found the errors, they thanked him, and made the corrections. What else would you have them do? Have no mistakes? Oh come now. At the end of the supposed bad publicity, "Lucian said that despite the mistakes, he still thought the encyclopaedia was the best reference book he knew." Bravo. The Britannica guy isn't as aggressive a debater as Wales, but when you look past that, there is a balance, you just have to find it yourself. At the outset Wales seemed to accept that both approaches are valuable, and you know what, he could have stopped right there. Yes, both approaches are valuable. QEDPermanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named ellen.jpgGood morning. Real busy yesterday and today with New House Stuff. I'll miss the Apple announcement, probably won't have a net connection either (today I'm waiting for the DSL installer). Like everyone else I'm looking forward to hearing what Apple will announce. And amazingly my Macs (knock wood) are actually behaving these days. However if they announce a replacement for either of my machines (or my 60GB iPod) I expect them to fail completely and never boot again (praise Murphy, praise Steve). Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Postscript on the DSL installation. I waited until noon and then called SBC/Yahoo to find out where the installer was. They said they weren't sending anyone out and I didn't need to be there. Except when I signed up they said I had to be there. Not an auspicious beginning. Four hours waiting for an installer that wasn't coming.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

5/7/97: "A programmer is a rigorous scientist determined to coax the truth out of the ones and zeros." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, September 11, 2006. Monday, September 11, 2006

An OPML directory of all the Digg rivers. It will automatically update when they add, remove or rename the feeds. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Ted Leonsis: "As I entered the hotel where I am speaking today, the national anthem was being played, and we held a moment of silence in the lobby of the hotel." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Wired News on how blogging blossomed on 9/11/01Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Amyloo has a mobile visualization page. "Get a rough idea of how a website looks when viewed using a mobile device." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, September 10, 2006. Sunday, September 10, 2006

When I read this headline on GigaOm, I thought a Disney character had started a podcast, and wondered if perhaps the chipmunks had started one too.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named dropdead.gifThis press release is the first I heard that the EFF (apparently) would like to speak for podcasters. Watch out for the EFF, they tend to sell us out for the tech industry, an industry that has major conflicts with people and organizations that create content. When asked to help us out with Google their answer was "tough shit." Hey they could have at least engaged in respectful discourse, but they clearly didn't care what we think. I was pretty sure they'd eventually care. Now they do, and they're trying to gloss over the fact that they haven't got our support. I suppose Cory Doctorow speaks for some podcasters, but he sure doesn't speak for me. Evan Williams? Does he do podcasts? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Grace Davis: "I'm thinking that the anniversary of Katrina will be overshadowed by the five year anniversary of 9/11 and as much as I was horrified about 9/11, I think Katrina was worse, far worse." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named avatar.gifI've become a regular user of Technorati, but the ads are really annoying because they have these animated characters who speak, out loud: "Please type your message in the text box and let me say it." Well I tried it a few times of course, like everyone else I had the characters say really stupid things, laughed a few times. I've thought about having an animated avatar on my website, even tried to design one with their excellent software, now please it's time for another ad! I'm not going to type my message (as if I had one) in their text box so some piece of software can mangle it. Goodbye avatar! Please. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Speaking of Technorati, I realized it's a River of Links, where Google is like a hierarchic news website (although wasn't originally hierarchic these days it's becoming more so). The analogy appears perfect. The first link on the first page in Technorati is not the most relevant, it's the most recent. The first link on the River of News is the most recent, but it could be a bit of sports news, while news of the stock market crash is two screens down. So, if you've been fumbling over the distinction, currency is what a river is all about. When you're reading Technorati, you keep going until you see something you've already seen. Same with the River of News. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jim Moore reports on the arrival of ex-Iranian president Khatami at Harvard, for a speech at the Kennedy School later today. "Numerous agents emerged from the cars and surrounded the front of the hotel, with guns drawn, sweeping back and forth over the crowd that quickly came to attention." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named hope.jpgI have to admit I giggled and then snickered when I read the story of the fake Craigslist posting from a "woman" seeking abusive sex from straight men, and how the guy who impersonated the woman published the responses, which included explicit pictures of the men, their email addresses and names (one works at Microsoft) and cell phone numbers. Having read this piece at Wired, where we're asked to consider our reaction if he was impersonating "A middle aged woman who doesn't know she has terrible taste in poetry looking for a man who will buy her flowers, take her for walks on beaches and compose saccharine poems that rhyme,", I realize I was wrong. Our attitudes toward men, even from other men, sucks. He lists a bunch of other options if the middle aged woman scenario didn't get to your decency. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Yesterday I listened to a rather long but worthwhile podcast from the NY Times Magazine ethicist, Randy Cohen, that's part of a series called Times Talks. I'm a big fan of his column, and the segment he does on NPR every Sunday. The podcast is an hour-plus of rambling, he's not a good speech giver, but no matter, his point was very powerful. We've long assumed that ethical behavior is an indicator of character, but wait, that might not be what's going on. Social scientists do experiments that show that under different circumstances, a person might not call the fire department when the room they're in is on fire (if three other people go on doing what they're doing); or might call it in (if they're alone). Same person, same character, different circumstances. He shows a lot of other compelling examples. So I giggled and snickered because other people did? Maybe so. Maybe I waited to find out how other people reacted before deciding how I would react. Once I read the column in Wired and realized that other people were parsing it differently (ethically, empathetically) I felt free to let my ethics, my empathy, come to the front. So, I think there's a lot to Cohen's thesis, having just conducted the experiment, informally, with my own behavior. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, September 09, 2006. Saturday, September 09, 2006

NewsRiver.org: How mobile Rivers work.  

An open suggestion to the people working on the Digg rivers, it would be great to have an OPML file of all your rivers, then it could fit into the directory of rivers that I'm working on.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Scoble: "Now I can get Digg while walking on the beach!" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Proof that Scoble is a media hacker. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named postman.gifToday was the day I got my new house. Nice feeling. Had a bunch of friends over, then we went to lunch. The place is absolutely empty, no furniture, and not quite 100 percent clean. So on Monday I'm having a cleaning crew come through, to clean the place top to bottom. Then I think I'm going to have the floors re-done, and then paint the walls. There's no furniture, no belongings to get in the way, and no one living there, yet, to get annoyed.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On Thursday, Niall Kennedy will lead a tour of the Letterman Digital Arts Center during the lunch break of the Future of Web Apps summit. I'm thinking of going, it's only $295 (wish they took Paypal) and it's local, primarily for the schmooze. Not sure. You think a lot of people are going? Hmmm. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Flickr photos from Podcamp. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, September 08, 2006. Friday, September 08, 2006

The NY Times launched a new mobile site today.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Michael Gartenberg reviews the new Times mobile site.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Michael Levin says the new Times site is a river, but it's a hierarchy, the opposite of a river. Rivers are reverse chronologies, like weblogs.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Digg goes River, and Arrington reviews. They were inspired by our rivers, and give credit, which is appreciated.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

It's cool that Digg links to Scripting, and even better that they link from their mobile version to mine. What's coming next must be a web that works for mobile users, where we never click a link to a page designed to be rendered on a big-screen.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Facebook does an about-face.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Best wishes to everyone at Podcamp which kicks off this evening with a party at Harvard Law School (5:30-7:30PM tonight, Pound Hall, #213.). Wish I could be there, but there's lots going on here in California. Have a great time, and do lots of podcasts! (Duh.)  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Amyloo wonders if Steve Gillmor was invited to speak at Office 2.0. That would make a lot of sense. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

East Bay entrepreneurs Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Last night we had a dinner for people running East Bay startups. It was a first meetup, I got to see some people I hadn't seen in quite some time, which was really good; and some who like myself are East Bay newbies. We decided to do this as a regular thing, however I am not organizing it, I'm better at participating than organizing.

For some reason there's less startup activity on the east side than on the other side of the bay. Not sure why, but I see this as a chance to bootstrap something more thoughtful and with more longevity. I hope it doesn't become super-heated and bubbly. And I also hope there's a streak of doing-good that isn't part of the Silicon Valley culture.

Facebook 1-2-3 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Okay Facebook did good.

But Facebook also did bad.

Good: Bring innovative new feature to users at no charge, and not in response to competitive pressure.

Bad: The users had no control over the new feature.

Let me explain.

The feature they introduced tells users what's new with their friends. It makes people more efficient at browsing the network of Facebook users they're connected to. It's a feature I understand because, as Rex Hammock points out, it's very much like the River of News aggregators I've been developing since 1999.

A picture named youngMenWithBuckets.gifFacebook is absolutely correct that no new information is available now that wasn't available before, but only in a theoretic sense. An example might help explain how the users feel. Suppose you lived in a small city of 5000 people, on a small street that 20 people walked by every day. Because of the way the streets are aranged, most of the 20 people are neighbors, people you know well, the kind of people you trust to watch your kids if you have to run some errands. You leave the gate to your yard open because there's a nice shade tree there, and you leave a bowl of fruit out because you want your neighbors to feel welcome as they walk by. Come sit a spell and visit, life is good. Maybe two or three of your neighbors come for a visit a day. They get to rest, and you get to catch up on the gossip of the day.

Then the city changes the way traffic flows, you still put out the bowl of fruit and your gate is still open, but now instead of 20 people passing your property, 2000 people pass. And you only know 20 of them! Now your yard is filled with strangers, people with odd habits. The same rules apply, your gate is open, all passers-by are welcome, but the result is very different. Someone should have given you a heads-up letting you know this change was coming. Maybe you would have put a lock on the gate and given keys to your friends.

Now, on a much larger scale, with Facebook's user base, the heads-up has to be done by word of mouth, and opt-in. Instead of forcing all the users to make sense of this all at once, bootstrap a new network on your old one, call it Facebook Plus, or Facebook Big City Life, of Facebook Now, put some futuristic imagery out there, and require users to sign up for an upgrade to their account, which would work thusly.

Suppose I upgraded, and my friend Jane (in my network) also upgraded. Then Jane has a News page, and on that page all my changes show up, along with the changes of all members of her network that have also upgraded. I also have a News page and Jane's updates show up there, as do all the changes of members of my network who have upgraded.

Now change comes gradually, and users drive the change. When I run into Joan at the bookstore and she tells me she broke up with her boyfriend, I realize I didn't see that on my News page and ask if she's upgraded. Now I, a user, her friend, explain how it works. She decides if she wants to participate or not. That's what users are complaining about, and rightly so. They need to control how their network sees them. They're entitled to. This was the implicit deal they had with you, and you broke it. You did good by moving the product forward in an innovative way. And you did bad by taking the users out of the loop.

Later: Facebook does an about-face.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, September 07, 2006. Thursday, September 07, 2006

Guardian: "Dave Winer's 'river of news' finally looks like catching on." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On this day in 2004, a drive from Kelowna to SeattlePermanent link to this item in the archive.

Valleywag says John Doerr's departure from the Sun board signals a looming Sun sell-off. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jason Pontin reads Scripting News.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Om Malik: "Treo has issues." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Chris Heuer: "I was not saying anything about the O'Reilly situation in the hopes I might be able to one day talk to him about what's going on." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Fred Wilson explains the change at Facebook that's sparking a revolt by users. "Social networks to date have been these big unmanageable messes. Facebook is addressing that by giving users a tool to consolidate the information they care about." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The RSS "ttl" element and P2P networks Permanent link to this item in the archive.

There's been some recent discussion of the RSS 2.0 ttl element. There's a bit of history to it, and a grand plan that as far as I know, was never put into action.

The initial discussion of the element was on 5/19/02, as part of document proposing three new elements: pubDate, guid and ttl. It was linked to from Scripting News on that day.

In April and May of 2002, we were working with Streamcast Networks, the makers of the Morpheus P2P client on integrating RSS with Gnutella. The ttl element was the key that would allow the network, which consisted of many millions of nodes, to share RSS feeds that were hosted on servers that likely couldn't take the pounding such a network could deliver. At the time, Morpheus was trying to re-launch after being shut down by a court order. I learned a lot from their CTO, Darrell Smith, who I spoke with several times, at length, in the spring of 2002.

A picture named love.gifHere's how ttl was intended to work. Suppose you have a copy of Gnutella running on your machine, and I have one running on my machine. My machine wants a copy of a certain feed, so it asks your machine if it has it. Your copy of Gnutella looks in its cache, finds a copy of the feed, takes the lastBuildDate, adds its ttl value. If the resulting time is greater than the current time, it says yes, I can give you that, otherwise it says no. If your Gnutella strikes out, if everyone it asks says no, it reads the feed from the feed's server.

I'm not sure what happened at Morpheus, but this was just before I got knocked out in June, and I didn't return to UserLand after that, so the project with Streamcast was never completed. The ttl element, however, made it into the RSS 2.0 spec, later that year, and it's still there, presumably ready to be used should this problem ever appear. Of course, in practice, in 2006, there aren't many feeds that receive so many hits as to require this peer-to-peer treatment. The market went a different way, at least for now.

Hope this helps.

Roasted hot green peas Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named peas.jpg

Super yummy!

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, September 06, 2006. Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Craig Cline story: "There are very few people who will stand with you when you know you're right. Everyone who knew Craig knew someone like that, and that made us special too." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Dale Dougherty: "Craig was big like a brown bear: slow and watchful, deliberate yet excitable." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Michael Gartenberg tastes the tea-leaves on next week's Apple announcement by rating today's news of refreshes for the Mac mini and iMac lines. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On this day, four years ago: The road to RSS 2.0.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mike Arrington: Six Apart Acquires Rojo. "The crowded and highly competitive feed reader space, dominated by Bloglines, Newsgator and others, was a tough playground to hang out in." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Guardian on the rivers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Guardian article about NYTimesRiver and BBCRiver. Thanks!

"Dave Winer's 'river of news' finally looks like catching on -- at least on mobile phones and other portable devices. In fact, it was Winer getting a BlackBerry that kicked off the latest round of enthusiasm. On his blog, Winer noted that he 'reached nirvana' on the San Francisco light railway."

I have definitely noticed the traffic on the rivers slowly going up. One interesting phenomenon is that the search engine crawlers pickup up story headlines every day or so when they scan, and for some reason they're highly relevant, so they often make it into the first page of links. Of course when people looking for information click the link, the story has long-since scrolled off the river. But these are probably the kind fo people who follow news, so they're gradually getting introduced to the idea, and word of mouth of course feeds it too. And thoughtful reviews like the one in the Guardian don't hurt either!

Water service RSS Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named love.gifI've been ordering all the services required for my new house, which I get the keys for on Friday. Pretty exciting! What's remarkable is that all the sites have RSS feeds. Of course the phone company, and the ISP have feeds. (I'm getting high speed DSL from Yahoo/AT&T with 5 static IP addresses, for $80 a month, an improvement over the T1 line I used to have, it's faster, and costs less than 1/10th the price). The water service, electric company and gas companies all have RSS feeds, prominently displayed on their home pages. That was a surprise.

I'm seeing feeds everywhere. The other day I was looking at the website of UserLand's attorneys, and not only do they have a feed, prominently and proudly displayed on their home page, but one of the partners, Tim Hale, is even doing a podcast! I guess the future has caught up with us. All the stuff that we developed in the 90s has now become mainstream. I imagine that the utility companies don't know that their new customer helped them find new ways to communicate, I wonder if our old friends at Russo & Hale do? Haven't talked with them in a while, hope they're doing well.

Postscript: According to Tim Harrison, they block port 80 on the DSL.

My Craig Cline story Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I actually have two stories to tell, both have been told before, but I want to tell them again. Now that Craig has passed, I suppose there's more that can be told. Isn't it funny how that works. While someone is alive you don't know what's fair to write about and what's not, and it's often not a very comfortable thing to ask, so you err on the side of caution. But once they're gone, who's left to object?

On 8/10/00, I wrote about spending an hour on the phone, riveted, listening to a friend tell a story of his heart attack. Starting with chest pain on the east coast, a plane trip home, a drive up the hill to his Woodside home, and then being evacuated by helicopter to Stanford Hospital, where he was lucky to be when the actual attack came. If it hadn't happened there he wouldn't have lived, my friend recounted. The friend was Craig.

To keep my cool while listening to the story I had to massage my own chest and remind myself that I wasn't having a heart attack, although at the time I did actually have heart disease, and knew it, but I hadn't told anyone, not even Craig. Then two years later, I asked Craig over to my house, a few nights before I was going to a cardiologist. When I told him about my symptoms he urged me to go to Stanford Hospital, right down the street. He offered to drive me. I said no, I wanted to wait and do it the right way. Now I know how foolish that was. I guess part of you wants to be, if not free of the disease, free of the certain knowledge, as long as possible. When I finally went in for my checkup I didn't come back until my chest had been ripped open and four arteries from my leg had been grafted onto my heart, giving me at least four more years of life. (Knock wood.)

Craig and I have a lot of bonds, our love of technology, an absolute sense of integrity (to the point of being boring, and making enemies for it, Craig made enemies too), and we both had bodies that paid the price for the way we lived. I still have my body, for now; he lost his on Saturday.

(Do I go back and change the tense on the writing to the past tense? Where I say we have bonds must that change to had bonds? I'm going to keep it in the present tense, not ready yet to let go.)

Like Jory, I confided my personal life to Craig, frustrations with lovers, one in particular, who Craig also called a friend. As with Jory, his advice was great, but did I pay attention? That's not the way these things work.

The second story of Craig is one I've told a few times here on Scripting News, most recently on 8/30 of this year, less than a week ago. Craig was on my mind because I was thinking about a visit. I knew he was gravely ill, and that he couldn't speak. I imagined that I would do most of the talking, and what would I talk about? I would tell him a tale of his own heroism, a story I tell every young person I come to know, and will as long as I live, the one about Craig and the guy from Apple, how he looked him in the eye and told him in his Craig-like way, that whatever Dave wants to do is okay with him. I will tell the young woman or man how great it feels to be so trusted by one so wise, and that as long as they are true to their heart, they will have my support as I had Craig's on that day in 1997. It may seem a small thing, but in this world there is very little of that kind of friendship, there are very few people who will stand with you when you know you're right. Everyone who knew Craig knew someone like that, and that made us special too.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, September 05, 2006. Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Google: "News archive search provides an easy way to search and explore historical archives." I spent a bit of time ego-searching, it's very interesting, too bad a lot of the good stuff is behind paywalls, esp the NY Times and MacWEEK. Time Mag has an open archive.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

NY Times: Silicon Valley to Receive Free Wi-Fi. "The project will cover 1,500 square miles in 38 cities in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda and Santa Cruz Counties, an area of 2.4 million residents." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

ReadWriteWeb on Doug Engelbart's Hyperscope 1.0, a modern web app. Its native file format is OPML.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Here's an example of a Hyperscope document. View source reveals that it is an OPML document with a stylesheet.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Little-known fact: Scripting News is the top hit when you do an image search for Katherine Harris.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

In preparation for PodCamp, which starts on Friday (with a party at Berkman Center), they're getting together an archive of the first podcasts. I'm honored that the very first one is an interview Chris Lydon and I did at Berkman, on July 8, 2003. It's actually a pretty good one!  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Rocketboom asks where were you on Sept 11? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

WTC from the ESB webcam, 9/11/01. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Raw Socket: "Standing in Shibuya Crossing, Howard Rheingold saw people looking at their phones instead of talking into them, and that blew his mind. That's the Shibuya epiphany." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

From Gayle Cline: "We are creating a memorial garden spot on the ranch, so if anyone wants to contribute potted plants, or memorabilia, they should have them sent here." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Tim Bray: "Craig was a good man." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

According to the Wikipedia page on Craig Cline, Dale Dougherty of O'Reilly credits him with coining the term "Web 2.0." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Meryl Evans: "The term came to life when Dale Dougherty of O'Reilly Media brainstormed with MediaLive's Craig Cline." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, September 04, 2006. Monday, September 04, 2006

Jory's remembrance of Craig. She was with him when he died on Saturday. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Don Hopkins demonstrates his new wireless remote control technology for "rock and roll." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Raw Socket: "Mobility is being packaged differently so old-time webheads can digest it." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Five years ago today I had a strange technical dream, in which the kernel of my scripting environment temporarily squared the speed of light (saving the old speed on the stack) to make the code run faster.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Tom, I didn't get invited because I said I didn't want an invite. If I'd got one I'd decline to go. Been saying that publicly for 2 years. Hope that clears things up.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, September 03, 2006. Sunday, September 03, 2006

Craig Cline, former head of Seybold Publishing, died yesterday after a long illness. His wife Gayle and six children were at his bedside.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

We've started a site to accumulate stories of Craig's life, to provide information about the memorial service, and a mailbox for people to send messages to the family.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture of Craig, leading the Mobile Blogging discussion at BloggerCon III, in November 2004.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mike Zornek: "Craig was a great guy. I really enjoyed working for him." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Three Rivers by Bob Stepno. Hmmmm. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mac Bittorrent clients, via OmPermanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named sony.gifI continue to have problems with all three of my Macs. The new black MacBook shuts down on its own in the middle of my work. The original G4 laptop is still blue-screening, and my dual CPU desktop G4 is blue-screening more frequently (on average once a day). I'm seriously thinking about shopping for a new computer, a Windows machine, fed up with the awful Mac hardware. In the meantime I'm using the old Sony Vaio as my mobile computer. The software isn't as nice as the Mac, and the screen is much harder on my old eyes, but, knock wood, it works and the Macs don't.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Bret Fausett: "I now travel only with Thinkpads. They are expensive, but extremely reliable." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

New header graphic. One of a few taken when my Mac was new. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

From time to time I hear that people miss the comment link in the right margin of Scripting News. (Actually I hear "It's too bad you don't allow comments.") So I moved it up, made it larger and bold face. Here's a screen shot that shows where it is, in case you don't see it. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, September 02, 2006. Saturday, September 02, 2006

Gandhi: "Where there is injustice, I always believed in fighting. The question is, do you fight to change things or do you fight to punish?" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named gandhi.jpgWhen you fight to punish nothing is going to change, if anything the positions will harden, making change less likely. Gandhi also said you must become the change you seek. Indeed. That's the pied piper thing. Doing what you ask others to do might be harder than you think, you can't find out until you do it yourself. Then your experience can guide others. Want more women speakers at tech conferences? Okay, have a tech conference, and make that one of your goals, perhaps your primary goal. You have to do it. There are no shortcuts.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Cringely: "Sometime in the next 30 days this column will morph overnight into a blog." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named ohYeahhhhSmall.gifI've heard the New New Internet described as a fantastic Web 2.0 parody site, and it is that, but it also is (apparently) a real conference, whose purpose appears to be meta-meta. In other words, it purports to teach you to have meta-excitement, or excitement about people getting excited. I guess that's only if the people putting it on are actually excited themselves, but with headlines like: "An All-Star Cast of Web 2.0 Players Will Descend on Tyson's Corner," how could you doubt that they were genuinely faking excitement?  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, September 01, 2006. Friday, September 01, 2006

Confused of Calcutta: "There's been a lot of coverage on monetising blogs of late, partly catalysed by a Business 2.0 article titled Blogging for Dollars. So I thought I'd write about something else, something far removed from monetising. Things I have been able to do Because Of my blog, rather than With my blog." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Ewan MacLeod: "I've been using Dave Winer's bbcriver.com for just over a week now on the Blackberry." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Thanks to Amyloo for pages (NYT, BBC) that help desktop users visualize what the rivers look like on a Blackberry. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Monkey Bites: Movie Downloads from ApplePermanent link to this item in the archive.

Scoble had a good time at Google yesterday. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named donquixote.gifLesson learned: Most people's take-away on the "rivers" are that they're stripped-down versions of sites. I assume this is because they looked at them on their desktop or laptop; when you do that, that's the most striking thing about them. However, the experience is different when you look at them on a PDA, they look readable and useful. It's a hard thing to sell, I've learned. Not giving up yet, still have to figure it out. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Michael Gartenberg may have figured it out. He begins: "I've been using mobile devices for years to consume all sorts of content. From email, to novels to newspapers. The experience for the most part doesn't work very well and you need to be motivated to go through the hoops to get something usable." Read the rest of it for a user's perspective on River of News on mobile devices.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Fresh Mac and Windows builds for the OPML Editor. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

One sure sign of a bubble is the meta-ness of the excitement. How far removed from actual user experience is the euphoria? Is there any technology involved? To me, the peak of the dot-com bubble (as I've said many times) was the showdown between the pet food companies. And when people start getting excited about people getting excited, that's when it's time to think about putting the checkbook back in the pocket.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I was surprised to learn, on Doc Searls's blog, that the TechCrunch party in August was a $50K money-maker. There's no link on Doc's post so it's not clear what the source is. No, I'm not against it, remember I said next time they had the party it would be at Moscone and it would be called a trade show. That's very much what it felt like. And then O'Reilly anounced that there would be a Web 2.0 Expo at Moscone. There you have it. So will Mike join up with O'Reilly or will he compete? Another ominous sign (a sell signal?) on TechMeme this morning -- a headline with Arrington's name in it. "Times Reader looks slick, but Arrington appears unimpressed." That's pretty darned meta. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Muli Koppel illustrates the diff betw Web 1.0 and 2.0? 


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