Charles Jade: Why can't Apple blog?
I'm with Josh Marshall, Kerry has nothing to apologize for.
I think in retrospect, the Democrats came to life when Bill Clinton did the interview with Chris Wallace at Fox. Throwing punches is something people don't expect from Demos, and it's refreshing. Kerry said something that is totally, obviously true. Bush better watch out if he decides to make this an issue, it's likely to backfire. All Kerry has to say is that he'll apologize after Bush apologizes for the deaths of 2800 young Americans in Iraq.
Hil introduces the RSS Pumpkin. Ha!
I was going to pre-order a Zune player, but I checked to see if it would work with a Mac, and apparently not. Arrrgh. What kind of competitor has Microsoft become. What if someone prefers a Mac desktop, thinks it's possible to do better than the iPod, and wants to give Zune a whirl? I have to use a PC? Oy oy. NFW. What if my opinion influences others? I imagine that many of the opinion leaders in this market already use Macs. I doubt if I'm willing to dust off the PC just to try out their audio player.
There was a political bloggers meetup at Berkman last night in Cambridge.
Ed Cone interviews PodShow CEO, Ron Bloom.
I bought and HDMI to HDMI cable to connect my Denon DVD player to the Sony TV.
I tried hooking the two together, but no luck, when I clicked through all the video sources on the TV, the output of the DVD, which I could hear, never showed up on the screen.
I've read all I could find in the two manuals with no clues. Any ideas?
SlingPlayer for Mac OS X Public Beta Download.
Scoble: "I don't read separate feeds anymore. I just read everything in one long continuous scrolling Window."
There's a lot of back-channel discussion of Apple's option backdating problem, and the extent to which it involves Steve Jobs. Late last week, I heard that a major business publication is working on this story, but they're hesitating, for fear of jeopardizing their relationship with Jobs.
Ars Technica: Steve Jobs knew about options backdating.
Google search for "options backdating apple."
Mark Cuban reposts an anonymous email from the Pho mail list about the terms of the Google acquisition of YouTube. Synopisis: A fair amount of the money goes to settle copyright infringment suits.
NY Times: Circulation Plunges at Major Newspapers.
Pictures taken at this evening's Cybersalon in Berkeley.
AP: "Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas said in a campaign debate Thursday that she would have voted against the war had she known Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction."
Wired: "Some of the web's more popular 'milblogs' -- blogs maintained by present or former active duty military personnel -- are going quiet following a renewed push by U.S. military officials to scan sites for security risks."
National Conference for Media Reform, Memphis, Jan 12-14.
When I moved into the new house I bought a LaCrosse Atomic wall clock. It looks just like any other wall clock, except it has a radio built in, that tunes into a government broadcast frequency that sets the clock to the correct time every night. Last night it got a signal that it was off by one hour and corrected itself. One more thing not to worry about! It worked.
Apple is conspicuous among technology companies in having no one in the blogosphere from the company speaking about the company in an official or unofficial capacity. I'm sure there are many other big and small companies who aren't present, but for a company whose presence is so large, it's unusual they play almost no role in the conversation.
Recently, an ex-Apple person, Chuq von Rospach, wrote eloquently and sincerely about this, and Scoble, who was basically Microsoft's first blogger (and a former employee of mine at UserLand) called him on it, and I have some facts that aren't part of either of their stories, I was there at the dawn of Apple's blogging policy, on two occasions, and imho the truth is closer to what Scoble says that to what Chuq says.
Shortly after Jobs took over at Apple, I got a call from him. I had never spoken with him before or since, and I had no idea the call was coming. I have spoken with Bill Gates a number of times, I've talked with ex-Presidents of the United States, with candidates for President, I even spoke once with Bill Clinton when he was the sitting President, but I was never so nervous as when I was talking with Jobs. I mostly listened. I'm convinced now that he was trying to be my friend, he was telling me what bozos the people running Apple were, something that both horrified me, and that I agreed with. He was so open in his derision, with me, basically a stranger. It really put me off. But in retrospect, perhaps I should have been more agreeable. I don't know. But he was clearly in some way reaching out to me as a blogger probably, not so much as a developer. Also, I had at the time quit the Mac, quite openly, and had no plans to go back. Today, I use nothing but Macs, which is a testimony to the quality of his work, and the choices he made back then, but at the time, I was sure he would fail, and I said so openly. Net-net, at least at the beginning, it seems as if Jobs wanted some kind of dialog with the blogosphere.
The second part of the story involves Kate Adams who I first met at the Digital Storytelling Festival in Crested Butte, in 1997 (long before she was blogging). Kate was then quite outspoken, she worked in the Quicktime group at Apple, one of the successes of the company through the dark years, and one of a small number of technologies to survive at Apple 3.0.
Kate was at a company-wide meeting in Cupertino, shortly after Jobs took over, and sent me an email for publication without attribution, enthusiastically explaning what Steve had said. I published the email on Scripting News, without identifying the source. The next day she was called into Steve Jobs's office at Apple, they knew who sent the email because they had written a script watching for mail going to me from inside Apple. Not surprisingly, I stopped getting mail from people at Apple. My sources (Kate wasn't the only one) dried up.
To Chuq's point, Kate wasn't in any way acting as a spokesperson for the company. It was clear from the writing, this was an employee not a spokesperson. I didn't identify her as a spokesperson. So if the policy wasn't to be a spokesperson, it's pretty clear Kate didn't violate it.
Also, when Scoble was blogging for Microsoft, most of the time he wasn't blogging as a company spokesman (it's possible there were times when he was coordinating with Microsoft PR). In general people understood that he was blogging as a person. It was pretty clear, because at times he would say he thought management was wrong. Not too many spokespeople do that. Same with all the other bloggers. If Ray Ozzie, on the other hand, were to resume his blog, that would be different, we would assume, since he's an officer of the company, that his writing was official. So if Apple really believes what Chuq says, they can relax a bunch, the blogosphere is smart enough to discern between a spokesperson and a plain old person.
An account of the Kate Adams/Steve Jobs meeting (with at least one fact wrong) appeared in Alan Deutschman's book about Jobs, published in 2001.
An excerpt of Deutschman's book ran in Salon.
What year was this picture taken in?
CNN had a quiz a few days ago asking when was email invented. It was multiple choice, and the earliest date was 1981, which turns out to be their answer. They put up a picture of Eric Allman, saying he was the inventor. Oy, such is the state of journalism today. I think 1981 was the year CNN was invented. Email goes back to, at least, the early 70s. I used email at the University of Wisconsin in 1977 and it was't new then.
Wikipedia: "E-mail started in 1965 as a way for multiple users of a time-sharing mainframe computer to communicate."
Many years ago, when the Internet was still the domain of geeks, researchers and college students, the smart folks often said that the opportunities for new software companies were over, it simply required too much scale to compete in an industry dominated by Lotus, Microsoft and Ashton-Tate. Now it's clear how ridiculous that was, even though it was correct. The next layer comes on not by building on the old layer (a trick, the guy you're building on will eat your lunch), or re-doing what they did (what the naysayers correctly say you can't do), but by starting from a different place and building something new, and so different that the old guys don't understand it and don't feel threatened by it.
At first, the Internet, the market dominated by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Amazon (and others) was about the web, a publishing environment, then it became two-way, and search developed as a core but adjunct feature, much as the OS of a personal computer is part of the package, but the spreadsheet, word processor and other productivity apps are really what it was about. There will be new technology enterprises that make the search engine as humdrum as the desktop OS is today. Bet on it and win. Think that all innovation must come in the form of applications of search and you'll be left in the dust.
Well, the St Louis Cardinals kicked the Detroit Tigers in the ass, and won the 2006 World Series. That's it for baseball this year. See you again in April.
I was just tripping out on KFOG 10@10, trying to find the list of songs for tonight, and damn if they don't have an RSS 2.0 feed. Man. Is that cool or what! Today they played ten great songs from 1968, which was a big year for me -- I was 13. Wow.
They chose a Jimi Hendrix song as the best song for 1968, I would have picked the Simon & Garfunkel song, America, if only because it's such a great road trip song, and it brings back so many great memories. I'm sure everyone else put that song on their favorite tunes for long driving trips cassette tape.
NY Times: "If the last month has taught us anything about the Republican Party, it is that homophobia is campaign strategy, not conviction."
TechCrunch compares traffic for Rocketboom & Ze Frank.
And so does Heather Green at BusinessWeek.
HDWorld, Nov 29-30, New York.
Tim Berners-Lee: "Making standards is hard work."
Darren Barefoot has an apparently scandalous example of a company (one that lots of people respect) playing a nasty game of "we own your ass."
A bunch of people say that this Mac update may fix the random shutdown problems. I have installed it on my MacBook, of course, but I had already had my computer repaired. Apple hasn't said anything that this relates this fix to the problems widely reported on the net. If it does fix the problem, Apple still gets an failing grade for communication with customers. Sending other people out to speak on your behalf is very Republican.
Lobby of the W Hotel in Seattle.
Evan Williams announces that Odeo is finished, and he's formed a new company.
Kevin Kelly has been coming up with some great stuff lately on his Cool Tools blog.
John Robb has a book coming in April on the next stage of terrorism and the end of globalization.
Marc Canter asks about support by aggregator developers of media formats in RSS feeds.
Dell Hell, in a JibJab-like infomercial.
Something that's missing in Google's repertoire of information searching tools. It's something between Technorati, Google News, and Google itself. Think of it as the old-girlfriend query tool. Let's say I used to date a woman named Tammy. From time to time I wonder what's up with her. So I do a search, and find the same old links. I want to find all the new stuff. I don't just want to search blogs, so it's not what Technorati does. I don't just care if she makes the news, so it isn't what Google News does. For extra credit, I'd like it to come in RSS format so I can teach my aggregator to do this for me automatically.
BTW, once we get this feature, I predict the same kind of backlash that came when Facebook added rich RSS support. All of a sudden lurkers will have a new advantage, and the lurkees might not be happy about it.
Listening very carefully to podcast and broadcast discussions about the war in Iraq between Washington policy-makers, there is a lot of subtlety that's missed in the crude discussion of "stay the course" vs "cut and run." I'm sure we're just getting an inkling of what's going on there, and to even get that inkling you have to listen a lot and carefully. Here are some things to consider. We're encouraging the supposed unity government of Maliki to work with other factions, but he isn't doing it. He doesn't really have much of an incentive, as long as we prop him up, pay his bills, provide him with body guards, why should he do anything at all?
Further, we're pumping billions of dollars into Iraq, how is that being spent and who is getting it? How much of that money is being used to fund the various factions in the soon-to-be civil war? Lots. 60 Minutes had a report this Sunday about $800 million that disappeared from Iraqi defense appropriations. The money is being given to people we don't know. And some of them are arming themselves and fighting against the government, but most of them are just ignoring the government, it's so weak and innefective.
Anyway, there's a point to all this. Clearly behind the scenes, when the Americans put pressure on Iraqis, they're telling them to work with each other. Even the Republicans say that, that in order for Iraq to have a chance of working, each of the factions must compromise. But here's the disconnect. Here at home, the Republicans completely disenfranchise the Democrats and people who vote for Democrats. Every bit of disagreement is cast as cowardice or disloyalty. Most of us aren't going to become Republicans. So how can we expect the Iraqis to do what we ourselves don't? The answer -- it's unreasonable to expect them to.
God knows why America should care about change in Iraq, but Bush insists that we must. So if we want Iraq to reform, Bush should stop throwing dirt at anyone who dares to disagree with him, because he so desperately needs to be disagreed with, and we should form some kind of coalition government of Republicans and Democrats that decides how to get our country out of the mess we're in, in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have discovered the power of spam. Somehow they got my "real" email address into their database (I probably corresponded with someone who works for Democrat causes) and now I'm getting a few spam emails every day that get through the spam filters from idiots like John Kerry and Barak Obama. I call them idiots to emphasize that, with me, spam does not endear me to you, it makes it impossible for me to give you money or support. I've tried five times to unsub, but they seem to ignore the request, like any good spammer.
Would someone give the Internet guys down at Democratic Party HQ a kick in the butt for me. Thanks.
Postscript: I got an email from a tech guy at the DNC saying the email came from the Kerry organization not the DNC. He said: "The DNC does not buy email addresses or spam people."
67MB movie demo of my entertainment system.
Why doesn't Howard Stern have a podcast? (Or does he?)
Grace Davis explains why "we don't mind the crazy ass real estate prices and earthquakes."
Kent Newsome: "No one other than a honking nerd wants to watch TV in a little window on a computer, when a big screen HDTV plasma is sitting 20 feet away."
I have a 46 inch LCD TV, made by Sony, and it's great, and it does HDTV, and I watch broadcast stuff on it regularly, like the World Series (Game 3 starts in a few hours) and serials like Studio 60 and Lost. I said it before, HD changes not only the way you look at TV, it changes the way you look at everything. I've been struggling to find a way to explain this, and haven't come up with one yet, but I recommend if you want to find out more, find a friend with an HD setup and watch one of your favorite shows at his or her house. It's not enough to go to a store to get a demo, or to see a quick demo at a friends' house. For me, it was watching Phantom of the Opera at Scoble's house in Half Moon Bay that made the difference. Two weeks later I had my own HD setup. Yes, it happens that quickly.
But Kent is missing something that I think a lot of other people miss. His big honkin plasma TV probably has a PC video-in jack on the back, and while the UI to switch between the cable box and PC is klunky, once you learn how to do it, it's not difficult, and it opens another door that's totally worth opening. I know, because in addition to HD, I also bought a Mac Mini with a 120GB hard drive to watch movies that come from its hard disk. I'm developing quite a collection, thanks to Netflix and Handbrake. But it also means I don't need an aggregator from Tivo, I just use the same one I always use, a copy of Radio running on one of my servers in Dallas. Why? Because my TV (through the Mac) also has a net connection.
I think maybe I should write a book about how you invent and promote standards for fun and profit, because what I'm doing here is exactly what I did when I started blogging, or publishing in XML and then RSS, or started pushing audio blog posts as enclosures in my RSS feeds. You start by putting two things next to each other that you think should work together. Then you shorten the distance, and shorten it again, and keep optimizing until you have something that other people could use. Then you tell them about it, and tell them again, and again and so on until you have a standard.
HD and Macs and cable, Bluetooth (for the keybaord and mouse), RSS and TCP/IP. All these techonologies come together in my home entertainment center. I don't watch TV on my computer screen, but I do watch my computer on my TV screen, if you get what I mean.
BTW, Engadget has an excellent HD website, they tell you what's on, and about new technology that's relevant to HD users.
Dave Zatz wonders whether it's time to get HD. Yes, yes, yes. If you want to help figure all this stuff out, we need you to have the new eyes that you get from HD. Think about it this way. If there was an upgrade available for your eyes that gave you 3D vision when you just had 2D, would you pay $1500 for that? Yes, it is that big a difference, imho.
A 67MB movie demo of my entertainment system.
Lindsey Graham: "We're on the verge of chaos, and the current plan is not working."
Seems the Republicans are finally ditching Dubya.
I love what Nancy Pelosi said at the end of her 60 Minutes interview on Sunday, when asked if she would go for impeaching Bush after she becomes Speaker of the House.
"Wouldn't they just love it, if we came in and our record as Democrats coming forth in 12 years, is to talk about George Bush and Dick Cheney? This election is about them. This is a referendum on them. Making them lame ducks is good enough for me."Those were the last words in the interview, and they reverberate.
No matter what, we've got the change we were looking for, even if the Republicans retain control of Congress. They can't recover in two years from the kind of internal warfare they're waging against each other now. No matter what, Bush is already the lamest of lame ducks.
10,000-plus planetary hacks.
News.com: "Asus, Planex and QNap will include BitTorrent's peer-to-peer technology in products such as wireless routers, media servers and network storage devices."
Farhad Manjoo: "The iPod can't carry songs from one computer to another." Amen. And the iPod is far from the ideal podcast player. It can't receive podcasts on its own. And the DRM that's fundamental to its design is pointless with podcasts, where the publishers encourage you to copy their work. I wonder if most people realize that about podcasting, it's fundamentally different from the product of the music industry.
Brier Dudley on Microsoft and RSS.
Doc Searls lives on the west coast but feels at home on the east. Me too.
Looks like the President is laying the groundwork for his own Cut And Run strategy in Iraq. As he prepares to wave the white flag in surrender, it all seems like a flip flop. Nahh, that's what the Democrats do!
Seriously, imagine if we were as focused on rebuilding and defending New Orleans as we are with Iraq. What a mistake in priorities. We should be preparing for a big terrorist attack in the US too. The idea that we're fighting them in Iraq so we don't have to fight here is total bullshit. We're hiding in Iraq, not fighting. And the people who are killing us and Iraqis aren't terrorists, it's a civil war. In many cases they're the people we trained to be in the police and the army.
NY Times: "Google sometimes operates in a way that almost seems to invite legal scrutiny."
I've now had HD for about a month now, and it's a life-changer. I know it sounds weird, but you look at the world differently. The Discovery channel has really jumped on HD, they have a channel called HD Theater that is at least partly a travelogue, they sent crews around the world to take pictures in all kind of exotic places. And you sit there with your jaw on the floor, the pictures are so vivid, they're even more colorful than reality, and they take you places you could never go on on your own, to mountain tops, underwater in a manatee swamp in Florida. And even prosaic places are beautiful. Yesterday they had a camera on a cow farm in Vermont. No voice track, no narration, just the sounds of nature and cows grazing. Incredibly captivating. This is TV as a meditation medium. Very different and very interesting.
Inside Google: "Ze Frank decided to help monetize his vlog by letting readers buy digital rubber duckies and other things on his pages, but Google did not approve."
Highly recommend this Frontline report on Karl Rove from 2005. There's a very distinct pattern to a Rove campaign, and it's interesting to think how Rove is not in charge of the 2006 mid-term election, at least so far. It's possible that the Democrats watched this show too, it helps explain why the Foley scandal is a the perfect antidote to Rove.
"Surrender and wave the white flag," is the Rove slogan for this election. George Stephanopoulos asked the President to name a single Democrat who wants to surrender and wave a white flag. Hemm and haw. Thanks, that's the right question. What a fucking coward. Why can't we have an election where we talk about something other than Karl Rove's marketing slogan. Bill Frist used the term on CNN later in the morning. Republicans are chicken.
Olbermann: The beginning of the end of America.
Jeff Ubois: How Accessible is Historic Television?
Yesterday we had a memorial for Craig Cline here in Berkeley, in my new house. It was a really sweet event, some people called it a salon, it felt like a meetup to me. We spent a few hours telling stories about our departed friend. All but one of his children were there. And then we started to finish up and one of his sons asked us to come back, and the kids talked to us about their father. There was such a duality to Craig, apparently, so many things his friends saw in him that his family didn't and of course the other way too. That they lost their father at such a young age seems so terribly wrong. And if it weren't for the loss we all felt, I would say we had a great time.
Gene Gable brought a CD of pictures from Seybold with him to yesterday's memorial.
There weren't many pictures, but I did take one as we were finishing up, the light was so pretty, and the people were intently focused. It was also the first time we used the new living room.
Some people are cat people and others are dog people. Naked Jen is a dog person.
Milverton Wallace: How the Web is socialising journalism.
PodcastConUK in London, November 18.
Dan Conover has a wonderful block diagram that explains how the Internets work.
Harry McCracken, a reporter at PC World, has a long story of MacBooks that randomly shut down. Apparently it wasn't just the earliest ones that suffer from the flaw.
A brief report on my MacBook. Two days after it returned from repair, it hasn't shut down randomly, not even once. It is still running hot. And it could be my imagination, but it seems to be using the battery less efficiently. I will be able to measure this by trying to watch a 1.5 hour movie straight through. It used to be able to do this.
Now I have some thoughts on the apparently escalating problem with randomly shutting down MacBooks. It appears the problem worsens over time. I bought my MacBook in the first week it was out, and I was one of the first to experience the problem. So it doesn't seem that Apple is out of the woods yet, only they know how many Macs suffer from the problem, and apaprently it isn't just the first ones sold that do, based on McCracken's report. And it raises bigger questions about the relationship between Apple and its customers.
First, does the company have pride in its product? And second, does it think its customers are smart for choosing it? If both are true, it's up to the company to make the second statement true. A computer that doesn't work, no matter how much better the software is, or the basic design, is not a smart choice.
So by not taking care of it quickly, as if the customers matter, Apple makes the customers stupid for having chosen the product. Sooner or later the smart people have to go elsewhere, even if they would prefer to use a Mac.
In the almost two months that my MacBook didn't work, I was forced to use a Windows XP laptop. Now I'm trying to integrate the MacBook back in my life, but it's just as difficult now as it was when I first made the transition from Windows to the Mac. One of these days (I hope) one of the PC manufacturers will figure out how to make a machine that's as nice to use as a Mac and as reliable as PCs are. Then Apple will have to take these issues seriously.
Of course I would think better of the company if it took the issues seriously before they had to.
And one thing I'd really like to see -- no more commecials about how Macs are more reliable than PCs. That adds insult to injury, and it shows how totally out of touch the company is with its own product.
The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day...
In Game 7 of the NLCS, the Mets jump to a 1st inning lead on a daring 2-out double by Beltran, a walk to Delgado and a cheap (but effective) blooper to right by Wright. 1-0 Mets up. Think good thoughts. In the 2nd, the Cards scored, tying the game at 1-1. Both teams are very impressive tonight. So far one of the best played games of the 2006 post-season. Endy Chavez is going into the history books if the Mets win. What an awesome catch. Oh man. Update: Still tied as we go into the 9th. And it's raining. The forecast tomorrow in NY is more rain, and the World Series starts in Detroit on Saturday. Mets fans do not look happy just now. And then a 2 run home run by St Louis to take the lead 3-1. Not good. Final: Nope it was not good. Luckily there's still next year. Congrats to the Cardinals. Sad day in NY. Here too. :-(
Ray Slakinski has a randomly shutting down MacBook.
Dan Conover, a reporter who works in Charleston, SC, who I met when I visited Spartanburg, last year, writes a terrific (open) recommendation letter for me as a prospective CTO at a news organization. He says that hiring me would be like hiring Van Gogh to be a graphic designer. Paul Andrews, formerly of the Seattle Times, said something similar when I floated the idea by him. My answer is you have to start somewhere. And I'm not that bad an organization guy, when I was at Harvard, I surely stirred things up a bit, but that worked because Harvard is the kind of organization where things are supposed to be stirred up a bit. That's the whole point of a university. Same with a newspaper, or with any newspaper I would consider working for. And while it's pretty rare, I actually believe in the Mr Smith Goes To Washington stuff. We are the change we seek. This week the Congress and the President threw out one of our most fundamental human rights. These are not normal times we live in, folks. Also Dan is right, I'm not doing this for the money (although I do want a regular paycheck and health insurance). I'm doing it because it's the next thing to do. I worked as a pro myself for a short period, then went amateur. I've spent the last xxx years urging the pros to adopt our ways. Now it's time to jump back over the fence and look at the world from inside a news organization that wants to make the transition, assuming there are any.
Drew Domkus, of Dawn & Drew fame, also has a MacBook that randomly shuts down.
Jose Reyes homered in the first inning to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead in Game 5 of the NLCS. The Mets scored again in the 4th to lead 2-0. And then in the 7th, with 2 out Lo Duca delivers, driving in 2, to give the Mets a 4-0 lead. "Facing elimination, the Mets are," they say. Right on, that's grrrreat motivation. Final score -- Mets win 4-2. It was a real thriller at the end. As the camera went around the stadium you could see the fans' faces reflect the history of the team. Even when they were up by 4 we all knew it could go the other way. Mets fans are always surprised by a win, never surprised by a loss.
News.com: "Bloggers are showing signs of outrage and amazement at the way Apple is handling the issue."
CNET reviews MSIE7, released today. Add to the list of reasons not to switch -- doesn't run on Mac OS.
News.com: "More than 1500 TV stations in the United States are now broadcasting HD signals over the air."
Grace Davis: "I am one tough mofo."
YouTube videos filed under "Mac Sucks."
Julie Leung has a randomly shutting down MacBook.
Om Malik has a randomly shutting down MacBook.
Every time the Mets make it to the playoffs there's a feeling of hope, it's a good feeling, but when it dawns on you that it might not happen this year, that's not a good feeling, and that's how I feel right now. I would really like it if the Mets made it to the World Series. If they don't, life will go on, of course, I hope, knock wood, praise Murphy. But life would be enhanced immeasurably by a Mets World Series, imho
Continuing the thread about news in the future, and what comes after Who Knew What When, I wonder if people caught that I'm trying to help. It may not be what you want to hear, but isn't it my job, as it is yours, to say what I see, and tell you what I think? I hope it's obvious that I think news reporting can be done better. A few simple guidelines follow, which I hope are helpful.
1. Encourage your sources to have blogs. One simple way to do that is to de-emphasize the phone interview, and take quotes straight off the blogs of experts in the area you're reporting on. They'll get the message pretty quickly, if you want to be quoted (and most people still do) it's more likely if you have a blog.
2. If a person you're quoting has a blog, point to it from your piece (if not from the print edition, from the web version).
3. Speaking of pointers, shorten your URLs through redirection (this also lets you gather stats on which links your readers found interesting). So for example, if you're going to point to another reporter's article, like this, you can, instead, use a shortened URL, like this. Now you can include more web pointers in your print articles. (Note: I'd recommend you establish your own service, not use Tinyurl.)
4. Start your own blog, point to it from every one of your print stories. Even if you have no idea what you're going to write there, start it, so you're over that hump.
5. Float ideas for stories on your blog, much as you would with a person on your staff. See what kind of response you get. Most reporters don't have a good feel for how their readers think, or even if people are reading their articles. If I were a professional reporter, this is what I'd want to know first. People throw around a lot of theories about what sells papers, but what do they base their beliefs on? When they say people prefer news about pedophiles to news about bribes and payoffs, they don't really have a strong foundation for that belief. One common objection is that you tip off your competitors, but I think, really, reporters worry too much about this. Readers don't care if someone stole your idea. And sure, there are some ideas you can't float, for legal or ethical reasons, so don't.
6. Back to sources having blogs, I'd consider hosting those blogs. This is an idea I've pitched to Martin Nisenholtz at the NY Times, first in 2002, and a couple of times since. How it would work -- when a person is quoted in a Times piece, a few days after the article runs, a person from the publishing side contacts them, congratulates them on being quoted in the Times, and asks if they want a blog. No strings attached, you can say anything you want on your blog, no editorial review, and no cost to you. We get to run ads on your blog, they won't be intrusive, much as we run ads on columns by regular NY Times columnists. The reason this works is that it includes the reporters in the vetting, ultimately it's their decision who gets to blog under the corporate masthead, which is important in an organization where the talent is so important to its success. But they also have to deal with competiton from a new source, their sources. I think it's really clever, and the first news organization that does this will have a leg up on all the others.
7. Finally, as you learn, share what you learn with your readers. Sure some will snark at you, but that's been going on since the beginning of time (read the Letters to the Editor if you don't believe me). And you'll be teaching your competitors too, but that's good -- it's called leadership, and everyone wants that. Basically, it's been my experience that the more you share of what you learn, the more you will learn.
Disclaimer: I am looking for a job as CTO or Chief Scientist at a professional publisher that wants to make a strong transition to the new environment. So here I practice what I preach, I'm floating ideas in advance of using them.
Watching the Mets take the lead in Game 5 of the playoffs, I get to blog it now because the MacBook is back. It's still running pretty hot, it's uncomfortable in my lap. In the meantime, here are some pictures from the new home office. It's the next project after working on the den and the living room. You can see the Golden Gate and Alcatraz from the window.
An incredible story of a Nashville hit-and-run told by Nick Bradbury, one of the victims.
Journal News: "It may be the end of an era, but gauging by the number of customers yesterday at Tower Records in Nanuet, the iconic music store may close with more of a whimper than a bang."
LA Times: "A commission backed by Bush has agreed that 'stay the course' is not working."
Doc Searls: "Yesterday I heard from an Apple enterprise customer who had recently bought 80 Macbooks. Ten of them, so far, have had to bo back for heat, shut-down or freezing problems."
A lot of people paint a Mr Smith Goes to Washington picture of investigative reporting, and maybe sometimes it does work that way, but really, not very often. There aren't too many Woodwards and Bernsteins. Most of the reporting that goes on is pretty mundane workaday stuff, that follows a pretty simple template.
1. Get an idea. It could come from reading a colleague's article at another paper (news stories tend to come in droves, once an idea is reported by one publication, it can often be repeated by others).
2. Make a handful of phone calls, ask people what they think. Write down some of what they say. The parts you don't quote might be important to what the person thinks, but you can't write it all down. Also at this point very often errors get introduced, also known as the "misquote." The reporter may or may not understand the gist of what the person is saying, but that's not important, because neither will the reader. Look for the juicy quote, that's what they pay you the big bucks for. It doesn't matter, emphatically, if the quote reflects the beliefs of the person you're quoting. You're trying to catch them saying something interesting, and that's usually something embarassing, either to themselves, or someone else. Or something you can make sound embarassing (or stupid) by putting it after something that sounds reasonable or intelligent.
3. Do some searching on the Internet to get some impressive-sounding statistics.
4. Now it's time to write your lead and your close. See if you can find the "middle ground." Pick two extreme positions, and imply or directly say that the truth lies somewhere between. Even if the question is something that is true or false, like the sun revolves around the earth, or the moon is larger than the sun (it looks that way, doesn't it, and perception is everything, they say).
The Internet is The Great Disintermediator.
Everywhere you go, it's taking out the middle man, the intermediary. You see it with real estate, travel, car buying, every kind of commerce. When I went down to Magnolia to buy a fancy Denon all-in-one home theater sound system last week, I went in armed with certain knowledge that I could get the product I wanted on "the Internet" for 30 percent less than they were asking for it, in-store. So they took 20 percent off the price (I felt it was fair to pay for their overhead). A win-win. I could have bought the product without going to the local store, but I wanted the service they offered, so I paid a fair price for it.
But before the Internet, there were a lot more stereo stores, esp in a big college town like Berkeley. Same with professional reporters. Here's why. I can go direct to the people they call, go to their blogs to find out what they think, and I get more than the sensational soundbite, I can get a detailed, reasoned, backed-up discussion. I have a better chance of finding out what's really going on this way. I really believe that.
I practice this myself. There are some things I'm expert at. And some experiences I have that are newsworthy even though I'm not an expert. When I went to the DNC in 2004, I wasn't an expert at the political process, but I brought a digital camera, a MP3 recorder, and my laptop, so I took pictures, did podcasts, and blogged. Put enough normal people in a room covering an event, and you've got coverage. And in my recent experience with MacBooks, a few reporters offered to do phone interviews, which I declined. I said I had written it all up on the blog, all of it is on the record, for attribution, and having a pretty good idea how the interview process works, and the results it produces, the only rational thing for me to do these days is to decline the interview. I predict that more and more people will do that, unless the pros get their act together.
When I said "It's easier for readers to become reporters than it is for reporters to become readers" I meant that reporters, if they want to be relevant in the future, will have to understand what the people at Magnolia understand. They could have refused to give me 20 percent off, and I would have bought the product on the Internet for 30 percent off. But they understood something that most reporters and their supporters don't understand -- the readers didn't have a choice just a few years ago, but now we do, we can go direct to their sources, to their blogs, to find out what they think, we don't need the reporter to assemble the sources for us. To not recalibrate accordingly is professional suicide. No doubt some will commit suicide. There's a Tower Records down the street from Magnolia, and on Friday they had guys out on the street with sandwich signs urging us to go to their closeout sale. Someone there must have thought there will always be record stores, Internet or no Internet.
News.com: "Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, says he will launch a spinoff of the free site, called Citizendium. It will include user registration and editorial controls to govern user-submitted articles, unlike the free-for-all submission process that reigns on Wikipedia."
Scott McNulty had the same random shutdown problem with his MacBook, but instead of 19 days to turn the problem around, Apple took 2 hours. I got my Mac today, after calling the Emeryville store repeatedly, it turns out it was fixed last week, and available to be picked up, when I was in the store on Friday. They claim they called me last week, but there was no message. They should send emails, by default. I also pay for a .Mac account, so they know at least one of my mail addresses (they spam me with iTunes offers all the time). In general people who work in Apple Stores have great attitudes, to the point of being a little saccharine, but today I saw something new, a counter person mocking a customer (not me). Anyway, I have the MacBook back now, I'll let you know if the shutdown problem is solved (I refuse to call it by the initials most people are using).
I played hookie this afternoon and saw The Departed, which may be the best movie ever made. A long film, the story and the acting hold your interest without letting up for one second. Beautifully edited, an incredible cast, always surprising, often moving. A bit on the violent side, but not without preparing you for it.
Patrick Phillips: "The editor of Business 2.0 is asking every journalist at his magazine to create a blog. And in a possible first for a major publisher, the participating bloggers at the Time Inc. title will be paid based on their traffic."
Speaking of big companies, my MacBook hasn't worked for almost two months now. I had to wait a couple of weeks while they shipped a part to the Apple store (after claiming they didn't know about the problem, already widely reported on the net), and then brought it in when they called (same day, I didn't make them wait) for a 4-5 day repair. That was nine days ago. I tried to go down to the store last week to find out when it would be ready (I was shopping in the area). They wouldn't talk to me if I didn't have an appointment. There's no record of the repair when I enter the number on the website. So I thought I'd call the store today to find out what's up with the repair. There was no way to find a human being through their voice navigation system. Now I'm on hold hearing "all our representatives are still busy, please hold for the next available representative." That message comes on every 20 seconds, interrupting music playing behind it. While I'm going through this wait, I figure I've already put in a few hundred dollars of my life into fixing the defective machine, and everything in their system is designed to keep me from finding anything out, or getting my machine back (with thousands of dollars of my data on it, btw). While going through this psychic reaming, I'm thinking that while 1984 might not have been like 1984, 2006 surely is.
After waiting for a half hour, I gave up. They still have my computer, I have no idea when it'll be ready, and I have no way, short of making an appointment and driving down there (next available slot -- 4PM) of finding out if and when I'll get the computer back. I don't understand why people love this company, I prefer their computers, but it's the most user-hostile company I've ever had to deal with.
BTW, my first trip to the Apple store with this problem was on Sept 27. At that point, they knew what the problem was. So it's been an outage of 19 days. What if this were my primary machine? Geez.
Colin Faulkingham: "I had a similar experience with Apple."
When a big company puts up a "blog" it's a mistake to believe that it's actually some kind of blog. That's the take-away from Wal-Mart's supposed blog.
12/9/05: "Anyone who thinks they know what the blogosphere is about is as right as someone who thinks they know the meaning of life, and potentially as dangerous (in a not-nice way) because maybe they'll try to force you to see it their way."
Sean Coon: "Would it be any wonder if Iraqi's started their own War On Terror?"
Scoble: "If I were running a search engine I'd actually come out and say 'we're gonna remove any advertiser on PayPerPost from our listings.'"
My favorite Met, Carlos Delgado. If you're watching the game you know why. If not, I'll explain later.
My favorite Met, Jose Reyes. If you're watching the game you know why. If not, I'll explain later.
Jory's report on her wedding, earlier this month.
Basic ingredients for a pickup brunch on a cloudy Sunday morning. Noah's bagels, sushi, cream cheese, assorted teas, orange juice, scones, bananas, sugar, lox, salt, plastic cups. In the den, Talking Heads on the stereo, Grand Hotel on the video.
Jason Calacanis: "iTunes is a real pain in the neck."
Ben Barren tunes into RSS and BitTorrent. Sounds like something I want to do.
NY Times says it all. "If the Mets could not hit Suppan, or Jeff Weaver in Game 1, or a ragtag bullpen in Game 2, then the message from the heavens may be that, no, sorry, this is just not meant to be." That's the way it looked to this lifetime Mets fan last night as the Mets lost to the Cards, 5-0. A Cubs fan calls as the game is ending, wanting to welcome me to the legion of losers. No need to welcome me, I said, I am a loser, and I know it. Some days you fall asleep feeling like you won, but that's just a temporary victory, because there's always next year, until there isn't. The Big Sleep awaits us all. That's the philosophy that guides a team with philosophy.
That said, the Mets are still in it, they're down 2-1. The Cards need to win 2 more games to advance to the World Series. The Mets Magic Number is 3. Tonight's game starts at 5PM Pacific. Let's go Mets!
Yeah the Mets didn't look like World Champeens tonight. :-(
Army News Service: "Big Brother is not watching you, but 10 members of a Virginia National Guard unit might be."
Congratulations to the Detroit Tigers, American League champions.
I'm getting tons of email saying the Mac Mini does have digital audio out.
James Robertson says some of my recent political writings may have crossed a line that I said I wouldn't cross. It's possible, and I'd add, deliberate. Here's the problem, when an opponent takes repeated advantage of your honesty, and people are dying because of it, and you believe that many more will, you start thinking about those lines, and whether or not they're serving you. The only people I really will trash personally here are the leaders of the Republican Party, the President, VP, etc. I don't feel good about it James, but I feel even worse about what could happen if they retain control of the US government. I'm also trying to do what I can to make "Republican" a dirty word, but that's not an ad hominem, because it's about a party not a person. You may disagree with it, and that's fine, that's what makes our country great. But I won't stop doing it. "Republican" once wasn't a dirty word, and maybe someday it won't be again. But the criminals who run that party now are responsible for its sad state, if you have an issue about that, take it up with them (no better way than to vote them out of office, btw).
Frank Shaw: "In this world of citizen journalists, who covers the city council meetings?"
Nick Carr is a snarky dude, that's for sure. I have a straight comeback. If we're still in Iraq in ten years, we'll be getting our news from regular people in the Iraqi populace, delivered via the web. Otherwise known as bloggers. Nick thinks he's disproving my point, but he's making it.
AP: "Sniper fire, roadside bombs, kidnapping and murder are among the risks that Western journalists face covering the war in Iraq. Their Iraqi colleagues must cope with more: Families attacked in retribution for what they report, and possible arrest if someone believes them linked to the violence they cover."
If my receiver had an integrated HTTP server, I could tell it to switch to play music from my Mac Mini (that's Aux 3, btw). Then I could send iTunes a network Apple Event (does it support XML-RPC?) to play my Grateful Dead for Travelers playlist. I could do this from my desktop computer, without even having to get up. I'm very close to audio-visual nirvana. When Apple partners with Denon, we'll be all the way there. Or maybe Apple will go all the way and make an amp and speakers, better quality stuff than the boom box they're selling now.
BTW, curiously, I don't need my receiver to have an FM tuner built in, because all the stations I'm interested in have Internet webcasts. That's mainly three NPR stations: WBUR, WNYC and KCRW. There might be a couple of others that don't yet have a net presence. The Mac Mini gets it for me. Cross another analog item off the list.
Here's something that seems pretty silly -- there's no digital line connecting audio from the Mac and the Denon. My settop box has this kind of connector, so when Fox broadcasts baseball in Dolby 5.1, my stereo plays what the mikes are picking up at Shea Stadium. The effect is stunning. It's as if my ears are right there in Flushing, but it seems as if my head is as big as the stadium itself. Anyway, here's the Mac, 100 percent digital from top to bottom, and the bits have to be converted to analog to be played through the digital stereo. Also, I see the day coming that MP3 compression isn't going to be good enough.
ConvergeSouth starts today in Greensboro, NC.
On Countdown, they report there are now 6,000 British soldiers in Iraq. At the peak, there were 40,000.
Fry's is selling 400GB drives for $95. I bought one.
Jeff Jarvis is at a conference at Harvard today about the future of news.
The LA Times sent its reporters out to find out what its future is.
Dan Gillmor says his readers know more than he does, of course they do, this is another way of saying that you have more than one or two readers. It's so obvious, but that's okay, people often miss what's obvious. Sometimes the more obvious it is the more people miss it.
What's happening to news is what's happening to everything. The readers are becoming the writers. Anything the LA Times does that fails to embrace this phenomenon will not work.
News is not like the symphony, it's like cooking dinner.
And should we really be trying to save the news organizations we have? This is a serious question. I go back and forth. At breakfast yesterday, a group of us were discussing the Foley scandal. We had also watched a Bill Moyers show where they revealed the details of the Tom Delay scandal, which was much deeper and more insidious than the Foley scandal. Yet the press has focused on the less interesting one, presumably based on the assumption that the reader or viewer would not understand the Delay scandal. But be clear, it was their choice to go this route, no reader or viewer made the decision, they did. I think it was because they knew how to proceed. It was a question of Who Knew What When. Iraq, Katrina and Delay do not fit that template. So I have to wonder whether we should be concerned if CNN or MSNBC or the LA or NY Times are in trouble, if the only story they know how to report is WKWW.
In any case, I've laid out the roadmap quite a few times. When we look back in a few years, I'm totally sure this will have turned out to be the way it went. In ten years news will be gathered by all of us. The editorial decisions will be made collectively, and there will be people whose taste we trust who we will turn to to tell us which stories to pay attention to. Instead of three of these, there will be thousands if not tens of thousands. One for every political persuasion, one for every mood, demographic, age range, maybe even by geography. The role of gatekeeper will be distributed, as will the role of reporter. Very few people, if any, will earn a living doing this, much as most of us don't earn a living by cooking dinner, but we do it anyway, cause you gotta eat.
Change comes slowly but change comes.
You can try to hold the world in place so your life continues to make sense, but the world is too big and you're too small, change comes, eventually, no matter how much you think it shouldn't.
It's easier for readers to become reporters than it is for reporters to become readers.
CNN: "The chief of the British Army has called for a pullout of British troops from Iraq."
The Amish have the right idea, they demolished the school where last week's tragedy took place. We should be so smart about what we call Ground Zero. Don't build a shrine there. Don't make a point of the place. Leave a hole there. Put in a park, with benches, and swings. Build a minor league baseball stadium. A venue for concerts. Don't build another skyscraper. Don't be defiant. Accept the deaths and let's move on. No more shrines. No more global war on terror. We're not the most important people on the planet.
A few years back we wrote about cars with interfaces for MP3 players, and now they're starting to make them. That's good. Okay, the next thing is to put fractional horsepower HTTP servers on board, with simple programming interfaces (I like XML-RPC because it interfaces easily with every programming language, but lower-level interfaces would be okay, just more work for the programmer). While you're at it, home theater systems should also have HTTP servers with programmable interfaces, so I can write a script on my desktop computer to move stuff over to the hard disk on the music system. Oh that's right they don't have hard disks. Add one, okay? They're really cheap.
The home theater system I bought, it's a turnkey system, recommended highly by CNET, connects to my iPod, and I like that! The system doesn't have its own hard disk, but it connects to one of mine. That's a good place to start. But their software is totally lo-rez, and how are they going to upgrade it without a net connection? At some point we'll stop buying electronics if it doesn't have easy connectivity to the systems we already have. That's why I bought a Mac Mini for my new TV, so I could find the points of frustration, where it drives me crazy that I can't connect two things together that should be able to connect.
AppleInsider: "Owners of Apple Computer's new 13-inch MacBook notebooks, whose systems are plagued by intermittent shutdown issues, have become fed up with extended repair times and inadequate resolutions to the problem, and are now organizing a class action lawsuit against the Mac maker."
WSJ: "Does YouTube make Google a big target for copyright suits?"
Bryan Schappel: "This topic came up during the first hour of the Howard Stern show on the 10th. Howard said that loads of his material has been uploaded without permission and Artie Lange said that his DVD's have also been uploaded without permission. Both of them agree that Google will be a prime target for copyright lawsuits."
AppleInsider: "Apple Computer has been granted a patent for a pretermitted feature of Mac OS X that would have allowed users to sync their home directories to an iPod and then use the data stored on the player to securely log into any supported Mac."
Reality-check time: Iraq is having a civil war. Saddam Hussein was holding Iraq together. When Bush says Iraq is better off without him, he's wrong. When he says we're better off without him, considering the cost to the US in lives, money, and distraction, he's wrong about that too. BTW, I'm not a Democrat and I'm not running for office.
And, if we weren't stuck in Iraq we could be totally focused on rebuilding New Orleans, an American city, where Americans lost their homes, where Americans lost their lives. What utter dysfunction that we goes on with such a huge disconnect hanging over us. Iraq isn't America. Why are we fucking around in Iraq again?
NY Times: "Mr Lott, a Republican and former majority leader, is one of thousands of homeowners on the Gulf Coast who have been fighting with their insurers over payments for damage in Hurricane Katrina."
Josh Marshall: "They ditched an imperfect but working policy. They replaced it with nothing. Now North Korea is a nuclear state."
CNN: "War has wiped out about 655,000 Iraqis or more than 500 people a day since the U.S.-led invasion, a new study reports."
News.com: "Notes version 7.0.2 adds support for RSS."
A little bird landed on my shoulder and whispered in my ear. "Tweet tweet. Psssst. Hello Dave. I have a rumor for you from an anonymous source." My ears perked up. I always listen when a bird says this to me. "I heard that Nick Douglas is leaving Valleywag to do a web video show with one of the big video producers." Interesting! From my ear to your eyeballs.
When I hear that Bush is planning on invading Iran I think of how well it went with Iraq.
In our form of government it's possible for a near-majority to be part of a country whose values no longer even remotely reflect their values. My America would never attack another country unless the provocation was severe and the threat was dire. However, in my lifetime we have gone to war over and over (not just in Iraq) with countries that had not provoked us and where the threat was not dire.
If I lived outside the US I would hate this country. Now, ironically, I feel like I live outside the US.
This feeling came home when, in the midst of the Foley scandal, the President, all alone, tried his schoolyard bully act on the Democrats, again. This time it was so obvious that the Democrats couldn't possibly be the problem. He's up there advertising his bravado, his manhood, and attacking the Dems because of their "soft side." Of course this is calculated, and it's so close to sexism that it has to be sexism. Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton do have their soft sides, I'm sure. But being tough, mindlessly tough the way Bush is, is far from what we need now. There is hope for the US because he is so naked, so alone, his approach so failed, even the Christian fundamentalists can see it now. Yes, you want to have a person with morals with his finger on the button. And no, the Republicans we elected are not those people.
I said this after the 2004 election, when I was living in Seattle and on my way to living in semi-rural Florida, the war is between Bush's evildoers and the good folk, except his enemy lives in the minds of American cities, in educated people who care about and think about the future. His philosophy asks people to think with their emotions, to ignore what they see and believe what he wants us to believe. I wasn't raised that way.
If you recall, early in the Bush presidency they boasted that they weren't reality-based, and they were being remarkably honest. But eventually we have to get back to reality. A person who smokes for 30 years eventualy has to deal with the disease it causes. A country that attacks and attacks and attacks, with real weapons and occupying armies, will have to deal with the humiliation that inevitably follows. We ran from Vietnam, who doesn't think we will run from Iraq too?
In Bush's vision for America it's a sign of weakness to question his judgment. That was not the vision the founders had, and there's no reason the rest of us should accept this.
His rhetorical tricks are simple. If I say you complain a lot, then I can do whatever I want, and if you complain, I just point my finger and laugh -- See I was right! Everyone has a good laugh, and we ignore whether there was cause to complain. This kind of slop is creeping into discourse everywhere, the cultural influence of Bush Republicanism is going to live long after he is history. But that kind of discourse isn't going to dig us out of the hole he put us in.
When I get my laptop back I'll try this feature out myself, and I expect to like it. Sounds like just the thing, and it's the primary reason I have so much trouble with the Vaio. My eyesight ain't what it used to be.
How I got there... Now that I'm more or less settled into the new house, I wanted to get my backup situation all modern and state of the art. I have a safe deposit box down the street that's large enough to hold DVDs, and a complete backup of all my server software and data should fit on one disk. So now, how to get all that data to assemble itself on a local hard disk, ready to be burned and walked down the street to a safe. Not so easy, it turns out, unless you use something nice and centralized like S3.
The only trick is how to keep the backups private while they're in transit. I hadn't yet experimented with privacy in S3. Turns out, while the docs are a little cryptic, on a third or fourth read, all of a sudden it's clear as can be, and it just works.
S3 is truly useful. Talking with Steve Gillmor the other day, he said we could go ahead and build on it if we just had another vendor providing something similar. Then it hit me the other day, we do -- Apple's iDisk. And I'm sure Nik and Aaron have some ideas in this area. For now I'm going to build on S3, and look forward to using other APIs when they become available.
Also, as I'm sure someone is going to point out, there's probably not much need to walk the disks down to the safe deposit box, Amazon is probably every bit as safe from earthquake and fire as a North Berkeley bank.
Google acquires YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock.
TechCrunch: "Fox is the owner of much of the copyrighted material contained on YouTube."
Andy Rhinehart at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal came through on the feed I was looking for. It's a flow of medium-resolution AP wire photos. For a clue about the application, mouse around the picture of the RSS Couch. Also check out the pictures I took of my screen saver a few months back. You have to scroll down a bit to get the idea. And don't forget Andy's screen saver, which I saw when I visited him in SC last year. Finally think about FlickrRivr, but don't download it, a new version is coming soon. BTW, this kind of collaboration, which is nothing new, is why I get pissed when bloggers take shots at the online people inside news organizations. A lot of the good stuff we've been able to accomplish has been in collaboration with guys like Andy, and with people at AP, believe it or not. And the Times helped in no small way to drive the adoption of RSS, without which, I kind of doubt that TechCrunch would even exist. I think that explains why the online news people got pissed at Mike, he's the latest whiz kid for sure, but he stands on their shoulders. So a little humility would be appropriate, even a little curiosity. Condemnation? Who is he to condemn them?
I agree with Jarvis that nothing is accomplished by prolonging the animosity between bloggers and pros. There was a time when the bloggers wouldn't throw any punches, I'm sorry that this time, apparently (I wasn't there) it was a blogger that provoked a fight. We all can do better, that is inclusive of both pros and amateurs.
Steve Gillmor: "The New York Times is a great publication on its good days, a lying pack of self-protective weasels on others. Same for every one of us in the blogosphere."
NY Times: "North Korea became the eighth country in history, and arguably the most unstable and most dangerous, to join the club of nuclear weapons states."
CNN: North Korea claims nuclear test. "North Korea on Monday claimed it has performed a successful nuclear test, according to that country's official Korean Central News Agency."
NY Times: "In the final weeks of this bruising campaign, the debate, in many ways, comes down to this: What would happen if the Democrats win?"
56% are fooled by this bluff, but I'd be surprised if any readers of this site get the wrong answer.
Interesting report by Mike Arrington on his talk at the Online News Association. Sounds like things have changed quite a bit since I spoke there a couple of years ago. Back then they were quite interested in blogging, and I didn't hold back on my opinions. It's hard to be sure exactly what Arrington said, but it sounds more or less like what I said.
I went for a demo today of Cinegrid. It's pretty awesome.
Jason Calacanis: "I'd really love to hear what smart folks like Seth Godin, Fred Wilson, Adam Curry, Mark Cuban, Esther Dyson, John Battelle, Cory Doctorow, Xeni Jardin, Rafat Ali, Joseph Jaffe, Brian Alvey, Kevin Rose, Tim O'Reilly, Doc Searls, Jeff Jarvis, Steve Rubel, Dan Gillmor, and Nick Denton think of covert marketing coming to the blogosphere."
Mike Arrington: "I'm willing to pay for guaranteed quality and download speeds (neither are available via bittorent) if there is no DRM on music. And I'd much rather pay for DRM-free music than get copy protected music for free."
I'm not going to vote for Schwarzenegger for Governor, but I really enjoyed something he said in last night's debate with the Democratic candidate, Phil Angelides. At the point where the candidates were allowed to ask the other guy a question, the Governor asked Angelides what was the funniest moment so far in his campaign. You had to laugh, he asked his opponent a friendly question. How unusual in American politics. How un-Republican. You know, that one question undid all the ads the Dems are running with him campaigning for George W Bush in 2004.
Who do I have to sleep with to get SlingPlayer/Mac?
For a project I'm doing, I'm looking for a feed with photos, probably using the Media-RSS namespace defined by Yahoo. The pictures should be of current events, people, places and things that made headlines in the last few days. Yahoo has plenty of these feeds, but the pictures are tiny. I need pictures that can fill a largeish high-def screen with pixels. A high-def AP photo wire feed would be great. I'll share whatever suggestions I get. (BTW, Flickr feeds are perfect, but I want pictures of disgraced political leaders, warfare in Iraq, hurricanes, etc.)
NY Times article on Sevin Rosen's decision to return the money raised in their latest round to investors. "If we really believe that there are fundamental structural problems in the venture industry, should we raise our fund and just hope that the problems will get better?"
I think some of the other VCs are "parking" money in their portfolio companies, investing more than the companies can possibly use, to make it appear to their limited partners that they are deploying their money.
There were some extreme examples of this at the tail end of the dotcom boom, for example, a company called Firedrop, that basically did mail list software, received $90 million. What became of that money?
I thought, since I'm such a good customer, I'd save a little time and send an email to Apple, rather than waiting on hold for an indefinite period. This certainly saves me valuable time, and I imagine that it saves them time as well. Unfortunately I got a form mail back telling me that they hadn't read the email and didn't plan to. So I'm still stuck with a Mac that doesn't work and no clue when they might make it work.
I thought I would say that I'm still using the Vaio, and it's filling the role that the MacBook used to play, but it's not true. I am spoiled, Mac OS X is a much nicer OS than Windows XP. It's like the difference between driving a Ford and a Toyota, and I do drive a Toyota, but there is one big difference. When there's a problem with my Toyota, they fix it in hours not weeks. And they quite often pay for it, even when it's my error that caused the problem. (A long story for another day.)
Postscript: Shortly after posting this item I got a call from the local Apple Store asking me to bring my Mac down. It's in service now, getting a new heat sink. Should have it back in 4-5 days.
Major League Baseball supports RSS.
Philip Greenspun: "How could two brand-new airplanes with advanced avionics, flown by two professional pilots in each plane, collide at 37,000 feet?"
I bought some Google ads for the NYTimes and BBC rivers. Surprisingly, they wouldn't let me use "Blackberry" or "NY Times" because they're trademarks. I was able to use Treo and Crackberry. Still haven't found the right formula, so far in three days there have been zero click-throughs.
Chicago Tribune: "'It seems to me the situation is simply drifting sideways,' Warner told reporters after completing his eighth trip to Iraq. "It was a markedly different trip from ones before.'"
Business 2.0: "Howard Schultz, Steve Case, Vinod Khosla, and other major investors are sharing their best startup ideas. And they're willing to give a collective $100 Million to the entrepreneurs who can make them happen."
LA Times: "You can see 'Idiocracy' if you live in Atlanta, but not in New York. In Houston, but not in San Francisco."
Like all the cool kids, I'll be at Web 2.2, November 9-10 in San Francisco. Like the web, it's open to everyone.
Google now has a ping service. It appears to be weblogs.com compatible. Kudos to Google for not re-inventing.
I think I'm going to play hookie tomorrow and see Departed here in Berkeley. Sounds like an awesome movie, and what a cast. Wow.
A note to those of us who have been out of power for six years. Now is the time to attack the Republicans for plotting war against Iran, for raping the Constitution. It's time to stop complaining and moralizing. It is time to take control. BTW, the reason the press jumped on this one, imho, and not the others, is that it fits the template of previous political catastrophes. "Who knew what when?" Just like Watergate and Lewinsky. The war with Iran and the raping of the Constitution don't fit. That doesn't make them right, or wrong.
Hastert sees a vast left-wing conspiracy.
Good to see the source of the OPML Editor C-based kernel is in Google's code search engine. I have to do something about getting the source to the scripts in various root files available in text format (as opposed to outlines) so they could be included as well. So much of the functionality of the OPML Editor is implemented in script.
Kottke is accumulating a list of embarassing queries in Google's code search.
Some correspondents read this post to say I replaced my defective and as yet unrepaired MacBook with a Mac Mini. Not true. How could you replace a laptop with something with a power cord? I bought the mini for my new TV set, which arrives (knock wood) later today.
Pretty sure I've got all the Trade Secrets podcasts, thanks to Raymond Poort. I've cleaned up the file names, set the dates correctly (according to the archive.org backup) and put them into one zip file. Uploading now. I haven't listened to them all to be sure they are what they say they are, hopefully we can do that together.
Three years ago today: Day 1 of BloggerCon I.
Of course archive.org has the backup for Trade Secrets that I was looking for. I'm going to download copies here. Even the feed for the site is missing lots of stuff. Thank heavens for archive.org. (Postscript: The archive.org links to the MP3s are junk. Fortunately Raymond Poort, the magic man from the Netherlands, has them all. Whew.)
Today there are 107 members of the Facebook group for Scripting News.
Jeremy Zawodny does the math and figures that S3 is cheaper than backing up on a local computer. It also has the advantage of surviving a hurricane or earthquake (knock wood) and also, like a safe deposit box, will likely survive you (or in my case, me).
That reminds me to tell a story I've been meaning to tell. Naturally, as a new home owner, I wanted to rent a safe deposit box, so I went to the local branch of my bank and asked to rent one, and was told they don't have any. I could get on the waiting list, but it's got hundreds of names on it. Hmmm. So I went down the street to another bank, asked the same question, got the same answer. Why are all your boxes rented? They looked at me as if I were from a strange planet, where you could actually rent the damn things. I scratched my head, it seems as if I was able to rent them fairly easily in the past. Finally I found a bank that had one, I opened a checking account, deposited the minimum required, paid the first month's rent and then asked why they had boxes when their competitors didn't. Answer, after the Oakland Hills fire of 1991, the hill-dwellers in the East Bay rushed out to get safe deposit boxes. This bank was built a few years after that, so they missed the rush. It's often a good idea to ask why, sometimes you get an interesting story that reveals something useful about human nature. People get safe deposit boxes when they see their neighbors lives turned upside down when whole neighborhoods go up in smoke.
And that reminds me that I have to decide whether to get earthquake insurance. When I lived in Woodside I paid the extra $3K per year, not really sure why, but I did it, because I didn't want to be the only one on my block left homeless after The Big One (assuming I survive, knock wood, praise Murphy). But after visiting New Orleans in December and hearing the the tales of woe from people who bought flood insurance, only to find the industry didn't honor their commitments, I wondered if it was actually worth the money. I asked a few friends and got mixed answers. Some people have earthquake insurance, others don't. Right now, I don't. I have a month to decide.
Speaking of insurance, I notice that some of the Trade Secrets podcasts I did with Adam Curry in late 2004 are gone. I'm going to try to assemble an archive of these ancient conversations, I remember them being fairly interesting and somewhat visionary. If you have copies, please let me know.
David Weinberger: "Congress voting to authorize torture is a bigger scandal than Republican leadership covering up a Congressman molesting his aides."
Whatever it takes to get Republicans to realize that the people they elected as leaders are not who they think they are. BTW, we suffer from the same disconnects in the tech industry. You make compromises too, kissing up to people who would exclude you, dissing people who welcome you.
The Zen Master teaches that we are the change we seek. Perhaps we should clean up our own act before we call others hypocrites.
Drilling down, here's the issue I think David and I share. We've had no say in how our country works for the last six years. The Republicans have shut us out. We think we have something to contribute. Now we may have a chance to have some influence again, if we do everything right. So I suggest we focus on that, not on moral discussions about right and wrong. That's all we've been able to do since the war started in Iraq. Let's aim for something better.
Now David's been told to "just ignore" me -- and that's exactly what he's been doing. Ironically, he was told that by someone whose politics are very similiar to his, as mine are to both of theirs. This is terrible. It probably has something to do with why liberals are so ineffective. Differences should not cut off discourse. That's the lesson of the last six years. The Republican leadership have raped our country, all of us equally, while we squandered every opportunity to work together. That must become our new party, The Working Together to Make America Better Party.
Redstate.com: "For the last two years I think all of us have worked very hard, for free, to try to bolster a Republican majority that hasn't deserved our support. I've given hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours of my time, and I'm deeply ashamed of having been a part of this movement." This post makes my heart swell with pride to be an American. The long cold war inside the US may be coming to a close. We may have different personal values about the role of government, about religion, but can we agree on some basics, like respect for the individual, respect for the Constitution, love for the country we were given by our ancestors. Let's work together to regain the greatness of our country.
Lance Knobel asks some interesting questions about iPods.
PodCamp West, November 18-19, San Francisco.
Baseball post-season playoffs are underway, with Oakland at Minnesota, St Louis at San Diego, and Detroit vs the Yankees in NY. The Mets series against the Dodgers starts tomorrow in NY.
Jeff Jarvis: "I would be eager to see hundreds of thousands of us contact our school districts today to find out the state of their security, in light of the latest rash of tragic murders in schools across the country."
I don't know Marc Pincus, but his story makes a lot of sense, and it's exactly why I rarely do interviews with professional reporters. If I have something to say I publish it on my site, and hope people who are interested find it. I can't depend on reporters to accurately represent what I say.
I spent a few hours trying to install the SlingBox software on my Vaio this evening, and gave up. I did at one point get a TV picture showing up on my laptop and that was pretty exciting, but then they wanted me to install the new version of the software, and from that point on, nothing worked. In the process the software got hosed and no longer works. The instructions for installing the hardware are strictly for hobbyists, I can't imagine someone non-technical making any sense of it. I also felt they should have provided specific guidance for the settop box I have. Maybe they try to do too much? Also, as luck would have it, I bought my unit a day before they announced their new products. My bad luck, and I guess theirs too, I'm reviewing something that's obsolete. But then I bought something that's obsolete.
Washington Times: "The facts of the disgrace of Mark Foley, who was a Republican member of the House from a Florida district until he resigned last week, constitute a disgrace for every Republican member of Congress."
David Bossie: "If Speaker Hastert was willing to sacrifice a child to protect Rep. Foley's seat and his own leadership position, then he surely does not share our American and conservative values."
I bought a SlingBox to make it possible to watch TV anywhere in the house over wifi, but I'm puzzling with the installation instructions. I have a Motorola box for my Comcast cable TV setup. No problem with the Ethernet connection. But I'm confused about how to connect the cables to the back of the settop box. Any clues are appreciated.
BTW, if you liked the West Wing and haven't been watching Studio 60 on Sunset Strip, I just did you a big favor. It's a wonderful new show, on NBC, Mondays at 10PM. I watched the closing scene of the second episode about 18 times, it's that good. As with the West Wing, the men play supporting roles for the real stars, played by women. In this one, the two leading women, Harriet Hayes and Jordan McDeere, are fantastic, brilliant, sassy and spunky.
Here's a Democrat that gives Republicans their due. Republicans broke the law, covered up, and they're going to jail. Ultimately this will be good for the Republican Party, it'll flush out the criminals that took over the party. Any Republican that sits by and says nothing is going down with the evildoers. Maybe sometime in this century it will be safe to vote Republican again, but it sure isn't now.
Liz Gannes: "DRM-buster DVD Jon has a new target in his sights, and it's a big piece of fruit. He has reverse-engineered Apple's Fairplay and is starting to license it to companies who want their media to play on Apple's devices."
Kim Cameron: "Instead of suppliers advertising what they want us to buy (by spamming our attention), we'll advertise what we want to buy, and suppliers will make us offers."
Bob Morris: "The Republicans commenting here are suddenly deeply concerned you aren't showing love, and worse yet, sowing dissent. Do you feel their pain?"
Oh geez, look what I started. RSS pillow cases. Hehee.
Rob Hof in BusinessWeek explains why this service, which pays bloggers to write about products, is so challenging. The Zen Master teaches us to believe that if it is it must be good, to not to struggle with existence, so in that spirit PayPerPost is good. In fact, as with many other things, it's better than the old way of doing things, because it's out in the open, it's existence is disclosed. In the print world, there's a pretense that such a practice doesn't exist, but of course it does.
I saw it happen in the 80s when I ran a software business that spent as much as $100K per month on advertising. I noticed that when I used a certain phrase in my ads, that phrase would show up in the editorial coverage. It wasn't contractual, as it is with PayPerPost, there was no clear obligation for PC Week, MacWorld or InfoWorld to provide this service, it's possible that the authors didn't even know they were doing it, but the net effect is the same as PayPerPost.
And then there was the time a publisher and editor came on a joint visit. When the editor went to the men's room, the publisher said that if I bought an ad the editor would cover my product. That time it was explicit, but not out in the open. The readers of his magazine may have suspected that there was a connection between advertising and editorial, but they didn't have the proof that PayPerPost would have provided.
Then there is the tendency of the publications to favor products of the big companies, the ones that run millions of dollars of ads a month instead of tens of thousands of dollars. They may believe the big companies had the staying power, and therefore tilted the table in favor of their products, but they were also the ones paying their salaries.
When I was a contributing editor at Wired, I went to parties where advertisers and writers mingled. The advertisers would tell us how cool their products were. Could you go to the parties if you weren't an advertiser? I forgot to ask.
In other words, this is hardly a new practice, but at least now it's out in the open. Readers know to ask the bloggers if they are members of PayPerPost. They also might be aware that there are less visible ways of buying influence.
NY Times: "Netflix is making available to the public 100 million of its customers' movie ratings, a database the company says is the largest of its kind ever released."
Here's another sweet YouTube video. Republicans will say we're weak for liking this. I feel sorry for them because they have so much pain. It can feel so good to let it go.
Republicans have made "liberal" a bad word, but they're too dishonest to be open about it. Me, I'm openly trying to make Republican a bad word. Anyone with a heart and a mind who admits to being one had better explain the President and the Congress. You're responsible for this mess. In November you have a chance to be part of the recovery of this country. If you feel at all sorry for all the death you caused you need to what you can to fix it. Let's start with a new Congress. Then we'll hold the impeachment trial. People say Cheney would be worse. No he wouldn't, not after we send Bush back to Texas. Assuming they'll take him.
After writing my political piece on Friday, I've been getting a bunch of really stupid mail from Republicans saying that I just hate Republicans and if it were Clinton, I'd be gushing all over him. They're really stupid, because if they just did a little checking they'd find that I was a harsh critic of Clinton and rallied for his impeachment and removal from office. I see politicians as vendors and voters as customers. Once you get caught lying that's it, I'm not buying anymore. If Bush were honorable, if he weren't a force that put a lid on discourse by labeling people (e.g. cut and run), if he weren't lying all the time, I'd say fine, stay in office, even if you fucked up big time (which he did). But Bush is the problem, so it's time for him to go. As they say when Clinton lied no one died. Bush set in motion a process that's killing thousands of people and costing us billions of dollars and throwing away what's good about our country. The man is the biggest failure we've elected in my lifetime, and that includes a few other first-class losers.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.