Scott Rosenberg: "Are we going to spend the next two years pretending that we're still 'nation-building' and 'fighting the terrorists' while American soldiers keep filling body bags and Iraqi morgues keep overflowing?"
Russell Holliman says Apple still thinks it owns podcast.
When Amazon says "If you order this in the next hour and pay us $3.99 extra you can have it tomorrow," they're full of it. I've now done it twice, and gotten the normal 2-day delivery. The first time I chalked it up to chance, but yesterday I went for it again, and from the tracking page, it's pretty clear the order is still sitting in their warehouse. I think they should at least (automatically) refund the $3.99 when they don't deliver. It costs me more than $3.99 of my time to file a complaint. But I'm willing to do a blog post about it. Anyone from Amazon listening?
Living in Berkeley is really getting my legs, heart and lungs in shape. On yesterday's walk I decide to go straight up, from the top of Solano Ave, to see how far I could get. Well, I went all the way up to Grizzly Peak Blvd, it's straight up for about 2 miles. I'm pretty psyched, but I have no idea what I can do to top that. That's the toughest hike around here. Coming down was actually harder, my knees were all wobbly by the time I was back on flat land.
Michael Gartenberg made a list for the Rojas-Winer-Calacanis podcast device. Peter responded positively to my query, so we're going to meet on the 21st, here in Berkeley, to talk about the device. I agree with many of the things Michael says, but there are some I strenuously object to. And there are others I'd add to the list. I'll explain.
First, did you think I'd really go for no RSS? You gotta be kidding. That's the whole point. The trick to these devices is to simplify, to remove features, and having it be an RSS aggregator simplifies it a whole lot.
Since we agree that it should have built-in wifi capability, why should it have USB? USB may be a little faster, but if I can save money and space by only having one communication interface, then I'm going that way. I don't see myself pushing content from a desktop or laptop to the device, I see it downloading on its own over wifi. I do think I'm going to have to tell it what to subscribe to over the interface, the podcast discovery mechanism really has to be on a system with a rich user interface. Wifi has plenty of bandwidth for that kind of communication.
I agree that it's a good idea to stay lean and mean, but I don't accept a premise that says we have to make this work with less resources than Apple and Microsoft. Peter, Jason and myself are designers, not bankers nor are we manufacturers. That's why there are banks and plenty of Asian companies that can make devices to spec. We just need a good business person with chutzpah to rep us. I don't think there's any shortage of chutzpah between the three of us. Why can't we raise $100 million to make this baby? I know John Doerr's phone number. We used to be neighbors.
One thing's for sure, if I have any say about this, we're going to zig where Apple and Microsoft are zagging. At the first sign of DRM, I'm out. It's amazing that they left this door open. The guys from Hollywood can threaten us, but my podcasts are free for copying, as are all their podcasts, as are all podcasts. This is a podcast device, so it has no DRM. Period. Non-negotiable.
Another zig to their zag, which I think is a good idea, is a reasonably open design process. I don't want to do it completely open, because there are parasites out there (wish there weren't) so any really non-obvious ideas will stay off the blogs. But having a healthy public discussion is a good thing, it will make our podcast device a more powerful, more competitive product.
Phil Thompson suggests a fractional horsepower HTTP server. Of course. Doh!
Thomas Beutel chimes in.
I'm participating in a Wall Street Journal debate today. It's an interesting process, better than the usual interview, because you get to form complete thoughts, and they have to run them verbatim. I can't say what we're debating, or who my adversary is, you'll see all that when the debate is published (online only). But I'm having a good time with this.
Naked Jen: "Last night I was out with some friends and one of them has been blogging on a site hosted by Scriptwriting Magazine. I guess their system and servers crashed and he lost his entire blog and all his posts. He's only been blogging since September, but still! Everything is gone!"
Confirmed, Apple does not claim the term podcast.
The University of North Carolina is looking for a professor to teach blogging in the J-school.
Paul Boutin: How to fight with other bloggers.
Al Jazeera: Kim to lose iPod privileges.
I just joined eBay. I know, what took me so long. Anyway, I'm bidding on something, and want to be notified by SMS or IM, and thought I'd use Skype (eBay bought it for $2.6 billion) but it isn't an option. That's pretty amazing. You'd think the Skype guys would have some sway over there. You can use PayPal (another big eBay acquisition) to pay for what you buy.
Phil Wolff: "Dave, the reason Skype doesn't offer Skype alerting is that Skype doesn't operate a web service or offer a 'naked Skype' client or a Skype server that can talk through the Skype P2P network."
Speaking of eBay, I was wondering if The Wire character, Wee Bey, was named after eBay. He was kind of a nice guy, if you like mass murderers.
Postscript: I bought a Cobalt Qube for $125 on eBay!
Guy Kawasaki: "You should become a venture capitalist after you've had the shiitake kicked out of you."
Sal Taylor Kydd, the head of product for Yahoo TV thanks you for your feedback on the new site. In the meantime I switched to TV Guide, which compares favorably to the old Yahoo TV site. There's a lesson here, one that I learned in 1984, when I shipped a new product with less functionality than the one it replaced. Make sure that the new version is better than the old one, users do notice.
John Furrier: "Saying that startups will burst when Google crashes is like saying that increase in interest rates will burst the housing bubble."
Caroline McCarthy at News.com says that Mike Arrington could use a copy editor. I was thinking the other way, that TechCrunch has lost soemthing now that it's more than Arrington. There was a charm to TC when it was just MA sledding downhill at 80,000 MPH on the seat of his pants.
Yesterday's bit about Bubble Burst 2.0 got a lot of response, interestingly none of it from proponents of the bubble, i.e. analysts or investors who have a stake in perpetuating the bubble (note, I do myself, but I'm famous for shooting off my mouth even when it costs me money).
And it seems that some others who comment are missing something about the stock market. Stock prices absolutely do matter, when you're talking about bubbles, because that's what bubbles are made of. Yes, a stock price is a pure product of group-think, but the whole economy is a product of group-think. If people liked freezing their asses off, real estate in the Colorado Rockies would be more expensive than real estate on the ocean in Florida. Wait a minute. Okay, you see the humor, I hope.
When the bubble bursts, that which was valuable yesterday is worthless today. Or worth less (much). That's what bubbles are all about.
And yes indeed, non-public companies have P/E ratios. The price of the stock is the price at the last transaction. Whether it's public or not determines the liquidity of the stock and whether bloggers and reporters know the price and can kibitz about it.
But with all the regulation these days, at least in the US, you do eventually find out the price, after a company is purchased by a public company.
Thomas Hawk: "I'm scared of Google's stock price."
Yahoo says they improved Yahoo TV, but imho, they broke it. The listings page, which until today was the only page I knew or cared about (they just added a bunch of community features) took a few seconds to load, now it's an Ajax thing, and it loads as you scroll. Great. There's a delay every time I hit Page Down. Now instead of finding out if there's anything on in seconds it takes minutes. That's an improvement?
Mark Cuban explains why it's going to be a long time before our computers connect up to our HD TVs in HD.
Wes Felter says that "most people" don't want to connect their computers to a TV. Well, most people, in the day in horses and buggies, didn't want to ride in an internal combustion engine-driven mobility device, but today it's impossible to live in modern society without using the darned things. I want to connect my Mac to a TV, and in fact I bought a Mac just to be part of my home entertainment system, and Wes, get this, I watch it a lot more than I watch the danged settop box, even though my Mac can't produce an HD signal, and I love HD. Go figure. Maybe I can do things with my Internet-connected Mac that I can't do with a settop box? Wes, open your mind, stop thinking about connecting PCs to TVs and think of computers that are part of a home entertainment system, and it'll all of a sudden start making sense. Even better, spring for a few hundred bucks and get a Mac Mini, and stare at the the back of it and the back of your TV for a few minutes and you'll see what's missing. Or save yourself a few bucks and re-read Cuban's piece and think he's a smart guy instead of a dumb asshole.
New feature. Every time I save Scripting News, the content system chooses a header graphic from the collection of 78 previous graphics. It's random. You never know what you're going to get. (Update: I found a 79th. I expect I'll keep finding them for a while. I wasn't always so careful about noting the new ones.)
Emily Shurr of News.com thinks Hedy Lamarr should be one of the ten girl geeks. Makes total sense.
BBC: "Blogs and other internet sites should be covered by a voluntary code of practice similar to that for newspapers in the UK, a conference has been told."
Paul Boutin offers "a couple of rules I learned in my career as an evil mainstream media writer."
In the late 90s, the period of irrational exuberance, we knew the end would come, and we knew what the end would look like -- a stock market crash of the dotcom sector. So, if Web 2.0 is a bubble, and if like all bubbles it bursts, how will we know when it happens?
I almost wrote a piece yesterday saying that since the Web 2.0 companies aren't going public, they're safe from busting in a visible, dramatic way. I almost said it will be hard to tell when the bust comes, it'll be softer and slower, you won't hear a crash or even a pop. But I was wrong, and today we got the first rumblings of the shock that will signal the end of the bubble.
Google stock will crash. That's how we'll know.
When I realized this, I should have known, because I've been saying for almost a year that Web 2.0 is nothing more than an aftermarket for Google. Startups slicing little bits of Google's P/E ratio, acting as sales reps for Google ads, and getting great multiples for the revenue they generate by fostering the creation of new UGC to place ads on. When Google crashes, that's the end of that, no more wave to ride, no more aftermarket, Bubble Burst 2.0. And the flip of this is also true -- as long as Google's stock stays up, no bubble burst.
MSNBC: "NBC News is characterizing Iraq conflict as civil war; White House denies"
Wired News: "The Zune only frees up tunes for a limited free sampling period -- a policy that actually interferes with the rights of artists who want people to share their works freely."
One of my favorite podcasts is On The Media. It's irreverent, funny, timely, intelligent, flattering, even a little flirty. It comes out every Friday afternoon, and I always take my Saturday walk with OTM. Always good food for thought.
Two weeks ago they had two fantastic segments, one about Lou Dobbs, the iconoclast preacher of closed borders, the imitation-journalist of CNN, and the other about the English-language version of the Arab news network Al Jazeera, and get this, one of their anchors, Dave Marish, a semi-famous US journalist, is Jewish! They interviewed Marish, and he speaks right to me about the need for understanding, and I think it's amazing that the Arabs have hired a Jew to speak English for them.
It might seem like a small thing, but a very large segment of the Muslim world doesn't speak Arabic, and the only common language they have is English. In Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, they get their news in English and now Al Jazeera, speaking with an American accent, will be there. Will it be different from the Al Jazeera they see in the Middle East? Yes, according to the OTM report, it will be.
It's good news for world peace, so it seems, but if you want to watch Al J in English in the US, you're can only get it on the Internet. They haven't been able to get distribution on any American cable or satellite networks. I'd love to hear an explanation why. Surely it can't because they're partisan or represent the views of terrorists? If that were true, and I kid you not, I'm not joking, they'll have to stop carrying Bush and Cheney who have wasted a lot more people than any of the terrorists they carry on Al Jazeera. We need to hear other points of view. The Judith Miller fiasco proved that even the most prestigious and supposedly courageous journalists in the US are owned by the defense industry.
This seems to be a commercial decision that we, as customers, may be able to influence.
How to Make Money on the Internet, the podcast.
MAKE: Open Source MP3 Player Kit.
Jason Calacanis wonders if a Rojas-designed podcast player makes sense. I predicted this would occur to the Engadget folk at some point, that they have a better idea of where a product category should go than the designers they cover. It's an instance of the paradox that it's easier for a user to become a manufacturer than it is for a manufacturer to become a user. For what it's worth, a Winer-Rojas collaboration would be even better, imho.
A slow day in Berkeley with the Andrews family.
Rebecca Blood interview with Scott Rosenberg.
The University of California is looking for a dean of their graduate school of journalism.
Doc Searls suggests that Google do something with Blogger. "Have a real market relationship with its most serious bloggers -- and not just with advertisers," says the Doc.
I gotta hand it to Evan Williams. He gets a hand job from the NY Times when he starts an ill-conceived podcasting company with millions of VC dollars ("We're going to let people do what they do and we'll see what they do and hope they do it a lot."), and after the company fails, another hand job from the Times. What are they so impressed with I sure don't know.
I've now completed Season 3 of The Wire. Bring on Season 4!
Joel Spolsky: "In the early nineties Microsoft looked at IBM, especially the bloated OS/2 team, as a case study of what not to do; somehow in the fifteen year period from 1991 - 2006 they became the bloated monster that takes five years to ship an incoherent upgrade to their flagship product."
The secret to a juicy turkey: Cook it upside down. The breasts are the part you have to keep moist, and if you cook the turkey with the breasts up, they get the most heat, and cook faster than the legs (which have to get hotter to get fully cooked) and gravity works against you (the juices go down, on to the back, which doesn't have much meat). But putting the breasts down, they cook more slowly and the juices sink down into the breasts, keeping them moist. Works every time, producing a deliciously juicy turkey.
Something to think about: RSS Remote Control.
I'm thankful that some things don't change, they stay the same, although over time it's possible to get better at doing them.
Here's a toast to Thanksgiving, and a prayer that no one tries to improve on it. The version we got is just fine, thank you.
Even though the basic idea doesn't change, nor the implementation, there will be a fire in the fireplace this year, as in years past, this year the entertainment (football, movies, parades) will be in high-def, and the music will be 5.1 surround sound. Our ancestors never had it so good!
There's a new version of the Beatles, but Yesterday is still a great song, and George Harrison's guitar gently weeps, for George himself, we imagine.
"I said something wrong, so now I long for yesterday."
Thanksgiving in Berkeley is a fine holiday. Our free-range turkey, raised in open air and sunshine, will be in the oven soon. The stuffing and soup are made, everything spicy in remembrance of New Orleans. The stuffing has frankfurters in it, a family tradition started (as far as I know) by my German grandmother, Lucy Schmidt Kiesler. A blue hydrangea will be on the dinner table, provided by her daughter, my mother. And guests will bring pies, cranberry sauce, salads, firewood, wine, board games.
"Picture yourself in a boat on a river."
In other parts of America it will be raining and cold, even snowing. I remember a Thanksgiving in Madison in a blizzard, the first of the year, a premonition of the hardness to come, but soft in the way a first snow is soft.
Thanksgiving is the American passover, the dinner our seder. We eat a big meal and then go out for a walk. Hello there! Happy holiday. We give thanks for all that we have been given, for the good life we live here. America the nation of the world, pauses once a year to be thankful, before looking forward to the new year that's right around the corner.
"Sun sun sun here we come."
Maybe this time next year we will be at peace. Maybe all our children will be safe next year, maybe we will have learned to listen, not just to each other, not just to everyone else in the world, but to ourselves, to our hearts.
Here we go! Thanksgiving 1.0, now and always.
Werner Vogels on the Dutch election. Blogs are playing a big role in Netherlands politics. (Vogels is Amazon's CTO.)
Fresh Air interviewed Ed Burns of The Wire today. They play a clip with one of the most terrifying Season 4 characters, a kid who kills people with a nail gun. The salesman in a hardware store explains the product to him, in the opening scene of the season, as it dawns on him that he's selling a murder weapon to the kid.
New toys arrived today from Amazon. 1. Bluetooth mouse. 2. Logitech surround-sound speakers. The new music, below, sounds really cool on the new hardware, and one less wire on the desktop is nice too.
I pre-ordered Love, the re-mix of Beatles stuff, by George Martin. I couldn't stand the wait, so I downloaded it through BitTorrent, as I imagine many people are doing. Listening now. Some of it is very weird, but it's also generally really good. You could almost imagine that they might have mixed the music this way the first time around. Of course it's controversial.
It's got a heart-breaking rendition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, one of George Harrison's anthems. Anyone who says this album is bad has no fucking heart.
And I hired a wiring company to install Ethernet between the den downstairs and the office upstairs. They did a professional job, at each end is a wall plate that I plug the cable into. I bought another Netgear router for the office upstairs, so now we're styling. Now I gotta hire a Berkeley-based programmer (I have someone in mind), and we're off and running.
Kevin Tofel: "I've already got podcasts on the Zune and it was a simple matter to be honest."
Dylan: "Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters."
Scoble explains the diff betw TechCrunch and Valleywag.
I'm now just beginning the fourth season of The Wire, the one that's currently being shown on HBO. Somewhere in the third season something changed, and the plot no longer surprised. The great thing about the first two seasons is that you had to watch every scene carefully and tune into every single word, because the damn thing moved so quickly, and the plots were so tricky, and rich, the betrayal so delicious, by everyone from the police to the drug kingpins and the stevedores and the Greeks and Russians, everyone is so damned evil on this show, and death comes so quickly, one second in the middle of a conversation the character is apparently just passing the time and boom, he's dead, and that's it, never to be seen again. And sometimes you can see it coming, episodes in advance.
There are no flashbacks, time marches forward relentlessly, they never go back and explain what happened, if you missed it, you missed it. That is until season 3 when it loses its edge. You can wash the dishes, flip through a B&H catalog, eat some soup, all without missing a thing. There were times when I wanted to turn the damn thing off, or just skip to the end of an episode, I was so disappointed. This doesn't seem to appear in the reviews of the show, or did it? Maybe it's just me, and I figured it out, and it no longer has the power to suprise?
And so is Jason Calacanis.
First, read this bit by Mike, who takes Nick Denton apart for daring to challenge some assumptions that Jason Calacanis has left out there, just aching to be challenged.
Now Mike is wrong in so many ways, I don't think I'll be able to list them all, but I'll try.
First, there's nothing wrong with what Nick did. Jason is a public figure and made a lot of public statements about netscape.com, most of which weren't examined more than superficially, and as long as Nick discloses that they are competitors, in case anyone is confused about where he's coming from, he can say whatever he wants. I thought the question he raised deserved a straight answer from Jason, without the obfuscation that came from both Mike and Jason.
Did the experiment at netscape.com work? My guess is that it didn't. Why? First, for the obvious reason, people don't quit so quickly when their latest venture was a success. If it worked (and note that Jason doesn't say that it did) why quit so soon? Because there's new management at AOL? With all due respect to Jason, that doesn't make much sense to me.
Denton asked the only question worth asking, and backed up the answer with numbers. If Jason has other numbers, let's see them. I want to learn what worked and what didn't because I'm always thinking up new things to do with the Internet, and it helps to know what other people's experiences were. The new Valleywag (which Mike disses, and I don't think he's right about that either) is providing that new service, where the old one just focused on who's zooming who, as if Silicon Valley was some kind of Hollywood. I lived in Silicon Valley for 20+ years, and trust me, there's not much to report on there.
And Mike, isn't it good that Nick is focusing on business instead of the salacious stuff? Wouldn't it be nice to go to the bathroom at a conference and not worry about whether your sanitary habits might appear in Valleywag (true or not). Maybe Mike is protesting because the new Valleywag is getting a little close to TechCrunch? Nahh, couldn't be.
Note that Nick has more or less said he's aiming Valleywag at TechCrunch. So when Mike gives Nick grief for challenging a competitor well, Mike ought to be careful about that, because he appears to be doing the same thing.
And finally, I'm glad someone is digging in on these things. The more this happens, the more likely that bullshit is exposed, quickly -- the more careful people will be with slinging bullshit. And believe me, Silicon Valley has no shortage of that!
Postscript: I think the world of Mike and Jason. They're both great guys. Alan Kay once said the Macintosh was the first computer worth criticizing. Jean-Louis Gassee said that as the monkey climbs the tree, the more people can see his derriere. Mike is at the top of the tree these days, what he says matters. And I say competition is good, it keeps you on your toes, and no one loves you as much as your competitor. And I also say it's good to take a break once in a while, to get your thoughts in order. I love talking with both of these guys, they're smart, they're curious, and they learn. Both of them would be more than welcome at the Bronx Science for Adults. And I don't know Nick as well, but I suspect he would be too.
FeedYourZune is a "full featured RSS reader and Podcast Media Player."
Flickr has an opinion about the most popular cameras.
Doc Searls: "As a photographer, I have a relationship with Flickr. Not with Yahoo."
Ethan Zuckerman, a former colleague at Berkman, on a yesterday's outline of a "Bronx Science for Adults." Maybe this should be a Berkman spinoff. Not kidding about that. A deliberate attempt to congregate creative people in a collaborative fashion is something worth revisiting, now that we have an Internet.
Mike Arrington: "Great late-night conversation with intelligent people is a lot more interesting that the hallway chatter at the latest conference." Amen.
I like Sunday Brunch conversations with intelligent people more than late-night conversations, morning person that I am.
BTW, over the last month I've watched all the previous episodes of Entourage and am now in the middle of season 3 of The Wire, two fantastic and reality-altering HBO series. I find the world of inner-city Baltimore so captivating, but I'm glad to be watching it from this side of the LCD.
A question you can't easily ask the Internet today. "Where can I buy firewood as a function of price and distance from where I am now?" I invested in Confabb because it's that kind of no-nonsense obviously useful idea that the tech industry so often overlooks. Another one that I'd invest in, in an instant: An easy accounting system for small business or home users. I want to be able to pay bills (already can do this at my bank), and categorize the expenses, and have the same data available through the web, to my accountant. Same with income. When I describe this, people say "Quicken." But geez come on, it's not web based and it's not easy. I want to be able to enter an expense no matter where I am. That's the secret for detail-averse people like myself, make it painless.
Another example of the relative information poverty we live in now. There's no easy way for me to get a list of all the local shopping malls and the stores within. You have to ask friends for that information. We're still living in the word of mouth era. Yeah it's a lot better than it was ten or twenty years ago, but we still have a long way to go.
Too bad they don't still make the Cobalt Qube. I could really use one now. Maybe the Mac Mini is as close as you get these days. The cool thing about the Qube was that you really didn't need a keyboard, mouse or screen to make it work. Here's a picture of the back of the machine. The little LCD readout was used for one thing only, to set the IP address of the box. They could have even done it without that, by booting up with a DHCP-determined address, and then letting you enter the IP address in a web form (probably causing the server to reboot). That one little accomodation to user input was all it needed. Here's a picture of a man holding the Qube, to give you an idea of how small it was.
Valleywag: "Netscape visitors, most of whom only stuck with the neglected portal out of habit, were the worst subjects possible for Jason's radical experiment."
Another reason why college papers are worth reading -- they aren't owned by media companies.
Crazy Bob: 802.11n on OS X? Not yet.
NY Times: "Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, who regularly advises President Bush on Iraq, said today that a full military victory was no longer possible there."
The best thing about going to Bronx Science, for me, was being in daily contact with really smart and creative people my own age. That's what I keep looking for, as an adult.
I didn't quite find it at Harvard, what I found there was permission to be creative, which is more than Silicon Valley gives, but I didn't find other people who were creating in the same way I was, or who could appreciate what I was creating, or whatever -- not sure, but the connections didn't get made. I'm watching a PBS special about Aaron Copland, and he found that kind of collegial creativity, in New York, in the early-mid 20th century.
Hanging out here with Doc Searls for a couple of days last week was like what I'm looking for, but I want ten Docs, and I want to be around them 200 days a year, developing ideas across disciplines. This is what my soul yearns for, not fame, or wealth, more like fullfillment.
Maryam: "My aim is to make Ponzi blush."
BTW, one of my 2006 predictions sort-of came true this week. "Jason Calacanis will stay at AOL though Easter 2006." Okay, I was off by a few months. And a whole bunch didn't come true. Example: "Scoble will appear on Oprah. His book on corporate blogging will top all the best seller lists, his royalties will eclipse his Microsoft salary, but he'll stay there, because it's in his blood."
First, Yahoo's stock is doing okay, the company is growing and profitable.
It's also diversified, which is another way of saying everything that the memo complains about.
They have turf battles and they duplicate each others' work. In other words, Yahoo is a big company.
There is no way to make them lean and focused, that's not how big companies work. Sheez, some small companies have a hard time being lean and focused.
Yahoo should continue to buy their innovation from outside, because that's where innovation comes from.
What Yahoo may need is someone who can speak for them, who can give an exciting speech, who can lead all the external forces, and internal ones too. What they may be missing is an eloquent founder-type who, when people need to settle a difference, can come in and make the choice. At Microsoft, in the old days when Microsoft worked, people could ask themselves What Would Bill Do? Google has Larry and Sergey. Yahoo may need a leader. But they've got a pretty good foundation to build on. And they could probably go a long, long way without great leadership, since most American companies don't have that.
And come on -- bleeding in purple and yellow? Garlinghouse is a bad ripoff of Guy Kawasaki.
NY Times: "Yahoo has not been nearly as good as Google at reaping profits from the huge volume of search traffic it attracts."
Mike Arrington calls it a "power move."
Josh Allen: "Every company wishes that they could appeal to 50 million normal people and the 57,000 who read TechCrunch. Yahoo! has succeeded at this in two important categories."
Sylvia Paull: Mr GNU meets Mr RSS.
According to Mike Arrington, Jason Calacanis has left AOL. Hey Jason, I call dibs on doing a project with you now that you're out of BigCoLand.
Slate: "The new formats are doomed because shiny little discs will soon be history."
I've been pretty busy the last couple of days, so I've had to wait to offer my support and congratulations to Microsoft, Yahoo and Google for getting together on a protocol that optimizes search engine crawlers called Sitemaps. It's a simple format that should be easy for all the major tools to support. It helps improve the efficiency and currency of the web, good things of course, but it's even better that big companies are working together instead of reinventing. This means that developers only have to support one mechanism.
Of course it's pragmatic for Microsoft and Yahoo to get on board behind the leader in search, Google. But there have been many times when big companies have avoided such pragmatism, so they deserve our support and gratitude.
I think having a Democratic Congress is cool, but it just pops off one level of lunacy. They're still talking about Iraq like it's a borough of NYC, both parties. I think I see what's going to happen now -- gradually Iran is taking over, waiting until they can announce that they have nukes. Eventually we'll have to decide whether we want to fight a war with Iran or come home, defeated. The purpose of the Baker group is to spin it so that it's not W's fault, maybe even pin it on the Dems. We're headed for some bad times, no way out of it, and I think they all know it, and they're jockeying not to let the blame land on them.
So what's the best outcome in Iraq? The Shi'ite part of Iraq will either become part of Iran or will be a client of Iran. The Sunni part will be annexed by Syria, and everyone will fight over Kurdistan. Now if I were a pessimist, I'd say that this is the place we'll fight World War III, with lots of fronts opening up all over the world, including here in the US.
It was never an option for Iraq to become an American style democracy, I don't think Bush and the neocons ever really believed that could happen. If they did, I would have loved to have seen the plan for that to come about. One thing you can hear in all the Washington spin is that no one is talking about democracy anymore. The next myth to explode is that Iraq actually has government. And we should stop shipping arms into Iraq, we're just arming various sides of the civil war, and bringing about the death of more Iraqis.
When you watch Baker in motion, don't think he's working for you. He's working for the Bush family, and more broadly, the Republican Party and the defense industry.
Wired interview with Gracenote co-founder and chief architect Steve Scherf.
Valleywag, with a new writer, Gawker publisher Nick Denton, while missing some of the stalkiness (I know it's not a word) of the previous version (like the bathroom habits of tech industry icons), is starting to provide some hard, useful data that helps fill in some of the blanks. Over the last few days we've gotten some fresh data about Google's acquisition of Blogger, almost three years ago. And it's starting to have an opinion about things that matter. Not sure if this is intentional, or if Nick wants appreciation, but no matter, I appreciate what he's doing.
Something else Valleywag is now doing right -- disclosing conflicts of interest. It always bothered me when they went after Jason Calacanis, whose Weblogs, Inc is a direct competitor of Gawker Media. They would never disclose that fact. In this piece they do.
Something is wrong on the server, not sure what it is. I'm going to have another look in an hour or two. I just took a quick look and couldn't immediately find the problem. Sorry for the outage.
Postscript: Found the problem, fixed it. The server had run out of disk space, and trashed some of its data as a result. Restored the damaged file from a backup.
I met with the people doing the Zune at Microsoft in the summer of 2004, when podcasting was gaining traction (in Seattle no less), but wasn't showing on their radar yet. I explained how they could make their device a perfect podcast client. I couldn't tell what they were thinking of course, but it seemed they weren't convinced podcasting was real. Too bad, they could have made a simple product, not had to do any deals with Hollywood, and do an end-run around Apple, which still hasn't made the corner turn to DRM-less media (which is one of the most profound things about podcasting, and no accident, I assure you).
A striking thing about that little section of Microsoft: pictures of Steve Jobs on doors, walls, bulletin boards, each with a quote from Steve below it. The pictures were there, I was told, to motivate them, and to remind them of their goal. The usual thing for Microsoft, a taillight chase.
One more thought, a question actually, does anyone know about the protocol that allows Zunes to share tunes with other Zunes? Is it open and clonable (ie, if I made a podcast device, could I use the protocol). And I suppose it's naive to ask if it's patented, but what the heck -- is it?
Brier Dudley of the Seattle Times sheds some light.
Ryan Tate wonders if Zune is a developer platform.
Engadget: "Our experience with the first version of the Zune software this afternoon is much like that of many version 1 software experiences. It sucks."
Sheila Lennon wonders what version of the web will they use on the Starship Enterprise. Beam me up!
Nick Bradbury: "The Semantic Web may happen, but if it does, it's going to be a helluva lot messier than the architects would like."
Google Blogoscoped: "I asked several bloggers about their most popular, or one of their most popular, blog posts."
TechCrunch on Confabb. "A new service launching today that offers a centralized place to find information about all kinds of conferences."
First, an important disclaimer -- I am an investor in Confabb. I believe in the product, it's a simple but incredibly useful tool for conference managers, speakers, participants. I put together something much more limited than Confabb for the four conferences I have done, my tool was hard to use, and it was missing important features, but it worked. Next time I do a conference, I'll use Confabb to organize it. You can find out who's going to what sessions, see what other conferences people participated in, publish your own conference itinerary and look at those of your friends. It's a metadata-rich application, kind of a no-brainer, you have to wonder why no one has done this before. When I saw it, I immediately recognized the power.
Scoble's interview with Salim, recorded here in Berkeley yesterday, he explains just how awesome the product is.
Technorati linkage about Confabb.
The Confabb weblog.
Imagine John Markoff on the banjo, playing with Tim O'Reilly also on the banjo, except Markoff calls his instrument Banjo 3.0, and you get some idea how surreal tech publishing has become. Markoff, theoretically the top technology journalist in the world, and O'Reilly who many believe publishes the best howto and reference books (I'm among them) seem to think somehow this BS matters! I know why O'Reilly wants to perpetuate the myth that anyone understands wtf Web 2.0 is, but why would Markoff and his NY Times bosses want to get into this fray? If you have a clue, please post a comment.
Yesterday was a super-interesting and sweet day here at The House that RSS Bought. First, NakedJen came over from Santa Cruz, and we went for a walk up and down and up the hill, then we took some (warning, not work-safe!) pictures here and Scoble and Patrick came over. Patrick and I went into the den to watch Ice Age 2, while his dad interviewed Jeff Ubois. Salim Ismail came over, he also did an interview with Scoble, and a demo (more on that later).
Jen showed me how to use my food processor (never been used) and then went back to Santa Cruz. The remaining partiers went down the hill for Chinese. I came back up, made some delicious carrot soup, easy with the food processor, then Sylvia called and I walked up the hill to her house to hang out with Richard Stallman and Henri Poole. I had never met Stallman, and contrary to his rep on the net, he's a warm, considerate person, definitely with a very specific focus (free software) but very different from the way people portray him. A very interesting and stimulating Sunday in Berkeley!
Have you noticed that there's a formula out there, for Flickr-like sites, that, instead of providing social networking around pictures, try to do it for podcasts or videos. Examples include Odeo, Podshow, Dabble. However, none of them are gaining traction like Flickr did, and I think I now understand why. A picture is something you can appreciate at web speed. Go to a page with a photo on it, and it loads slightly slower than a page without a picture. Hit the Back button, leave a comment, link to it, whatever you want to do, it's all over quickly and that fits the pace of the web. However, podcasts and videos don't work like that. It takes a long time to "consume" one of those media objects. So why did YouTube catch on? Simple -- free storage.
Carl Weisbrod: "I'm an old Goldwater/Eisenhower conservative."
Andrew Baron of Rocketboom turns down what could be big flow, for a principle. I asked for clarification if the logo agreement really meant that they couldn't criticize Microsoft. If this is true, that logo is going to be poison for any blog or pub that displays it. (Postscript: Got the confirmation.)
Speaking of Microsoft, apparently you can buy a Zune already at BestBuy. I'd buy one myself, just to know what it is, but only if it works with a Mac. I don't want to use their store, I've got my own software for managing podcasts, which is largely what I'd use it for.
On the Sunday morning news shows, massive change in attitude from the Dems. But they say they won't touch money for the war. The superficial reason for this is they don't want to give fuel to future opponents saying they didn't support the troops. However, we know that most of the money goes to the defense industry, not troops; and both parties are funded by the industry. So, is this as far as change goes?
If a reporter wants to plant a foot in the future and burn some bridges with the past, a simple project would be to build a network model for who gets quoted by which reporters at which publications.
This is fairly conspicuous in Markoff's reporting in the Times. Does he ever write an article, on any subject, that doesn't quote Danny Hillis? Maybe there was some justification for allocating him so much ink when he was a tech exec at Disney, but what has he done recently to give authority to his opinion? (And what was the value of the technology he left behind, didn't Disney buy Pixar because their technology was so far behind?)
Incestuousness is a big part of the way BigPubs do business, it leads to ridiculous pieces like today's Web 3.0 piece. How did that pass through the editorial process at the Times? Seems like blatant manipulation, and the industry is so tired of this hype, it has zero chance of success (we hope). It's as obvious that Markoff considers himself a player and not a mere reporter as Judith Miller did (on admittedly a much larger scale) as we were getting ready to invade Iraq.
This is the kind of reporting we won't miss, and the sooner it's documented the sooner we can move on.
Postscript: The "Web 3.0" article is on the front page of today's Times.
Scoble: "I've done more than 50 interviews in the past three months and collected hundreds of business cards and I've never heard anyone talking about Web 3.0."
A new podcast. I've been flashing on all kinds of things after Tuesday's election. We've never had so much power. We sure didn't get fooled again. A branch of government switched parties, and all of a sudden we got our democracy back. What's next?
NY Times: "The president and his political adviser, Karl Rove, refused to compromise on legislation, bullied their own party's senators and ignored leaders of the opposition."
Just when you may have thought it was safe again to make software for users without so much hype, John Markoff, writing in the NY Times, says Web 3.0 is "in its infancy." Who says it's the next thing? Hmmm. Hard to figure out.
Stop for a moment, take a breath. Do we really want to go here? Just as Web 2.0 is petering out (we hope) can we avoid the next bit of bullshit?
The hype habit of Silicon Valley is pretty bad. How about setting expectations somewhat in line with reality? Sell what you have, not what you're dreaming about. Every time SV pumps up expectations, the money starts flowing into the hype, and away from what keeps people employed -- the technology SV is supposed to be producing.
If Hollywood worked this way, they'd sell the movies they think they're going to ship in 10 years. If Nashville worked this way, they'd sell the country music of 10 years from now. If NY worked this way, they'd only sell futures, you wouldn't be able to buy stock.
More hype should be as welcome by the technology industry as another Karl Rove slogan is welcomed by today's electorate (hint: the president's approval rating is down to 31, a drop of ten points in less than a week).
Danny Ayers: "Who else is lumping these things together and applying that label?"
Tim Finin: "The article is pretty much content free from a technology perspective."
Postscript: The features they're hinting at are hardly new. Collaborative filtering is a mature technology, although there's certainly room for innovation, and a lot to be gained by opening up the silos. Example: Netflix movie recommendations. They know which movies I'm likely to like, based on the ones I rated, and by finding patterns in other people's ratings. They're remarkably good at it. Yahoo has the same feature. Amazon makes purchase recommendations, but I find they're recommending things I've already bought from them, hardly very creative, and almost never results in a sale.
Anchors, as Tom Morris describes them, should survive a reorganization, and luckily it's not very hard to do.
Each headline that's to be linked to externally needs some sort of identifier that's unique within the file.
I suggest using the created attribute, which provides a unique ID down to the second. Of course this would fail if you create more than one node in a second, but I find that's a limit I can live with.
Quick report on my personal Web 2.0 Summit held this week in Berkeley. I had a fair number of interesting meetings, resulting in a likely Monday announcement. Another investment for Dave Ventures, USA. A micro-funding event, in line with the current fashion, where small bucks, brilliant thinking and hungry hard-working developers can (fingers crossed, praise Murphy) yield out of this world returns. No more hints, but come back on Monday around lunchtime for a new roadmap.
Liz Gannes' report on this week's other Web 2.0 Summit, the one in SF.
Inquirer: "A US court is forcing the RIAA to explain why it charges people it catches pirating $750 a single rather than the 70 cents they flog them to retailers for."
It's been fun watching Countdown this week. No stern lectures. Olbermann is happy! And so are we. For now.
I'm going to continue trying options for improving network performance in the new house. The next product I'll try is a Belkin Pre-N wireless router, not for its advanced MIMO protocol (which would be hard if not impossible for me to use on my G4 desktop Mac) but for increased range. I'm not sure how an Airport Express performs relative to the other routers on the market, until now I've never really tried to get great performance out of wifi. Also looking for utilities to measure performance of local nets. So far I've mostly been using CNET's web app, however that's measuring wide-area performance. Certainly the LAN perf is a factor in that. Keep the ideas flowing in the comments, and I'll keep reporting my experiences.
BTW, the powerline adapter, in this house, never reaches wifi speeds. I tried reconfiguring the devices so they didnt try to be compatible with the standard, but that had no net effect on performance. It was worth a try, as several people suggested via email.
Good morning everybody. Happy day. First day in quite some time that I don't have any appointments, no events, trips, deliveries, house guests, national elections. The weather is clear, warm, I've got lots of reading material, and food in the house. Finally, a day to putz around and not do very much, if anything.
A shredding truck was spotted at the VP's house.
Meanwhile, as if to prove Webb's point, the Republicans are taking their leaders out back and shooting them in the head.
Meanwhile, without a doubt, the turning point for the Democrats was when Clinton took off the gloves. He is still the leader of the party, Pelosi and Reid would be wise to use his credibility within their party, and the nostalgia we all feel for the days of his leadership, as flawed as it was. The flaws fade over time, he looks better every day.
Coming out the lunch with Lakoff yesterday, an idea for a website of truth. Not quite a blog. Just a site that lists things that are self-evident. Not partisan truths, not truthiness, but True Truths. Such as: It's not a war, it's an occuption.
NY Times editorial: "The wiretapping bill is simply outrageous, and it has no business being discussed in this lame duck session."
Did the Kerry flap hurt the Demos? Seems not. Drawing Bush out hurt the Repubs, reminding the electorate, who had wised up (so it turns out), that they may have voted for the wrong guy in 2004. Big negatives for the press for not running the various verbal gaffes of the Decider-in-Chief, when he attacked Kerry. There was a chance to help US politics get out of Swift Boat mode. Yeah I do think it's their job to help our political system. Also, how about a survey of voters asking if they regret re-electing Bush? We put so much emphasis on the contrition of politicos, how about contrition for voters (who are ultimately responsible for the mess in Iraq).
NY Times: "Senator George Allen of Virginia conceded today that he lost to the Democratic challenger, Jim Webb, ending the last undecided Senate contest and giving Democrats control of the full Congress for the first time in a dozen years."
NY Times review of "Draft N" wireless routers.
BTW, the powerline adapter kit arrived on Tuesday, and I had just a few minutes to try it out before the election returns started, and then Doc arrived, so I haven't been able to really be sure that the initial results are right. With that caveat, the throughput was inadequate, slower than what I was already getting from an Airport Express. In other words, it's fine for Internet access, but not good for transferring large files around the local area net.
Not much time to blog this morning, but I wanted to say that the net effect of the election is that US politics is shaken up. We've hit as significant a reset button, it seems, as 9-11 for world politics. Let's hope this time that we take better advantage of the opening.
You can fool some of the people all the time.
And all of the people some of the time.
But you can't fool all of the people all of the time.
AP: "Democrat Jim Webb won Virginia's pivotal Senate race Wednesday, unseating Republican George Allen and giving the Democrats total control of Congress."
Naked Jen: "Ding dong Rumsfeld is gone!"
NY Times editorial: "The Democrats won a negative victory, riding on the wave of public anger about Republicans."
AP: "Dennis Hastert announced Wednesday he will not run for leader of House Republicans."
Dan Fost: Hacking the Web 2.0 Conference.
Doc Searls in Berkeley, after hearing that Rumsfeld is going. He's one happy dude!
Robert Gates will be the new Secretary of Defense.
Dave Griffin: "The Rhode Island vote now means there will be a Whitehouse in the Senate."
UPI: "It was a thumpin', Bush said Wednesday."
thumpin.com, already taken, is a porn site.
Click here to see related blogs.
XML.com makes a couple of mistakes here, criticizing software made by my company for a flaw it didn't have. I wish they'd check their facts. And this grudge they have about me is so old, so tired, so irrelevant. GIve it up, okay?
Scott Rosenberg, Berkeleyite, observes new Republican spin.
Doc's here, we're watching CNN before going out to breakfast. We're playing a neat game called Spot the Republican. When we see a Republican on CNN, I decide what form of punishment we're going to give them. Usually it's the death penalty of some form. Hanging, firing squad, dismemberment, lethal injection, burning at the stake, disembowelment.
TheoDP: Amazon Patent Reform Timeline.
jkOnTheRun: Now NTP wants a piece of Palm.
NY Times: "Democrats seized control of the House of Representatives and defeated at least four Republican senators yesterday, riding a wave of voter discontent with President Bush and the war in Iraq."
Washington Post: "The political pendulum in American politics swung away from the right yesterday, putting an end to the 12-year Republican Revolution on Capitol Hill and delivering a sharp rebuke of President Bush and the Iraq war."
7:08:26 PM: When the dust settles I think we'll look back to Bill Clinton as the leader of the Democratic Party, passing the baton to his wife. The primary election started a few weeks ago, it turns out, and now I see how Hilary is putting it together, in ways I hadn't seen before. They are two really smart cookies.
7:06:50 PM: We're in a lull, the mood has really changed among the talking heads. Republicans are saying they lost their way. The Democrats are either jubiliant (in speeches) and sober (interviews). The dynamic of American politics is changing visibly, minute by minute.
6:33:26 PM: MSNBC calls Rhode Island for the Democrats. There goes Lincoln Chafee. So far the Dems have won everything they need to win, they've now won three of the six they need to take the Senate.
6:25:34 PM: It really feels like a Democratic sweep tonight. The early exit polls told the story, most voters were influence by national issues. There's tremendous dissatisfaction with the Republicans.
6:18:13 PM: MSNBC calls Maryland for the Democrats. The third seat of six they needed to win.
6:10:22 PM: MSNBC says Lieberman wins in Connecticut. No doubt the Republicans are going to court him.
6:00:34 PM: CNN calls Pennsylvania for the Democrats -- the second unseated Republican.
5:55:32 PM: CNN calls Ohio for the Democrats -- the first of six Republican incumbents they need to unseat to take control of the Senate.
5:37:44 PM: CNN calls New Jersey for the Democrats.
5:06:17 PM: Katherine Harris lost in Florida. Mixed feelings. I love her dearly. But she is a Republican. Net-net: Coooool.
5:02:23 PM: Nothing surprising projected on MSNBC.
4:59:47 PM: If you're blogging the election returns, send me a link.
Pennsylvania closes at 5PM, 13 minutes from now. Permanent link to this item in the archive.
I'm watching the returns on MSNBC. It's almost 4PM, when they'll have results for a bunch of states, including Virginia. Exciting! None of the tight races have been decided. They have been reporting exit polls on what issues voters thought were important. 60 percent thought Iraq was the most important issue in this election. That's got to be good news for the Dems
Doc Searls is coming up from Santa Barbara, he'll be the first guest in the new house, now that the guest bedroom is minimally furnished. Tonight we're going to watch election returns in HD. Maybe we can do a podcast. Tomorrow morning we're going to have a two-person conference to discuss a project for open metadata we want to do together. Then we're having lunch with George Lakoff. In the afternoon we're going to see a demo of a hot new web app that I'm investing in. I think of this as my own personal Web 2.0™ conference, on a scale that I can enjoy.
Om Malik: "Thanks but no thanks for Web 2.0 spin."
Dan Fost: The Top 10 Lies of Web 2.0.
I've heard it said many times that the march of progress means that business people take over from the pioneers, but I've observed the opposite. When the boom is finished, the technology will still be here, and while progress may have suffered during the euphoria (the money is rarely used to fund new ideas), the ball never really stops rolling while everyone is focused on the money-obsessed. When the boom is over, we'll still be here, pushing new ideas forward.
Is it just me or did Studio 60 totally suck last night?
Rex Hammock always asks questions with deep philosophy.
I think I finally figured out the point of Studio 60. It's the methadone for West Wing addicts, which is the real smack. Even when the WW sucked, it was still about the Presidency, so you could kind of forgive the characters for their arrogance. But when the Chairman of NBC acted offended when John Goodman didn't sway and faint at being in the presence of such greatness, all I could think was "What a fcuking putz!" (And I wasn't thinking of Goodman.)
The only thing worth watching in this show is the sex between the writer and the star. It's really a love story. When they push that to the side, the show has no punch at all.
Yeah I'll watch again, but I really hope Harriet and Matt have sex. This is not like Donna and Josh. They really have to do it for the show to make any sense at all.
NY Times: "Dean Baquet, the editor of The Los Angeles Times, who refused to go along with staff cutbacks ordered by its owner, the Tribune Company, was forced out of his job today."
iPodObserver: "58% of current iPod owners who are planning to buy a new digital media device in the next 12 months are 'likely' to choose Microsoft's Zune."
Lance Knobel voted against impeaching the President.
I bought a Netgear powerline adapter. It arrives tomorrow. Will report.
Amyloo is a visionary. She had a vision about Katherine Harris in Florida.
Question of the day. We know now that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we brought them there. (They say Saddam attacked his own people, so did we. Poor Iraq.) Next question. Have we brought nukes into Iraq? Extra credit: How many days after the election before we attack Iran? Do you think it matters if Congress is Democrat or Republican?
Newassignment.net: "Here are nine ways that distributive networks are working to cover Election Day."
This movie, like Fog of War, changed the way I look at things, and filled in at least one important blank, probably far more than that, but only time will tell.
I'm neither a Republican or a Democrat. I'm what they call an Independent, and I think of myself as the Party of Dave. I try to think for myself, and have my own platform, and choose candidates to vote for based on how well they serve my philosophy and values. I rarely vote my pocketbook. I pay taxes, I wish they were lower, but I don't believe any of the bullshit the Republicans throw around about Democrats. I see the money they channel to themselves, the billions they spend on Iraq, as a major major tax, one that they've managed to hide, for now, but it won't stay hidden forever.
And I do think the Democrats are better because they're just a bit more transparent. But in the end they all say a lot of bullshit to get us to vote for them, and then they go ahead and serve the people who really got them elected, the military and the media. And not the media they talk about on the media, but the people who own the media, the ones who decide which party they're going to lean into this time around, and the ones who they raise money for so they can buy ads. It's all a big circular flow of money. CNN supports a group of candidates, they raise money, some of it from corporations, and some of it from us, and pay it back to CNN, for ads. And of course, the other TV networks, and now Google, less these days to the newspapers, its the economics that's the flipside of blogging. We are different, no matter how much complainers say the A-list is just like MSM. The blogosphere is distributed, there are no barriers to entry, and we don't pick candidates and we don't take money from them. (None of this is black and white of course, some bloggers do pick candidates, in the sense that they determine who is running, and some take money in the form of political advertising.)
George Washington, the nation's first general, was dead-set against a standing army, he saw that as a sure way to bring back the king they just fought to get rid of. That's why the Constitution reserves the right to declare war for the people's representatives, the Congress. But that was circumvented right after 9-11 when Congress gave the President a blank check to go to war with whomever he wanted whenever he wanted. George Washington 0, George Bush 1.
Eisenhower warned of the military industrial complex. Well, in Y2K we elected a defense contractor as vice-president. Eisenhower said god help this country if someone takes this office (the Presidency) who doesn't understand the military as well as I do, to hold them in check. Today, we're doing worse than holding the military in check, balancing their power, we've elected people who profit from their excesses! Where's the incentive to hold back? It's just not there. And by the way, we've had a standing army since the end of WWII. Another point against George Washington.
Anyway, all this is background, and what's amazing is that the people doing the explaining in Why We Fight are all Republicans, ex-military and CIA. These are not the people the Republicans run against. They're Republicans, and not fringe ones either. Amazing stuff.
Warning: Spoiler ahead.
At the end they deliver the punchline, they solve the puzzle of Iraq. If you don't like spoilers, stop reading right now. But this one is too important to keep hidden.
I have this conflict about Bush, on one hand, it's tempting to think he's stupid. He sends all the signals that set off my east-coast inner-snob. But I think that's a trick. I honestly don't think it's possible for anyone to reach the place he's reached without being really smart and without knowing exactly what he's doing. Any fool could see what would happen if we drove to Baghdad and tried to occupy the country. I wrote about it in the very early days of the war, before we even took Baghdad, that this would not end like they say it was going to. I was right, but I think they knew how it would come out too. And it's only a failure if you assume they meant to do what they said they meant to do, which of course they didn't.
What they wanted is to have 12 bases in Iraq from which they could launch an attack anywhere in the Persian Gulf. They wanted Iran to feel the American presence at their front door. They wanted Syria to feel it too. They wanted quick deployment possible to Saudi Arabia. They wanted the bases. Our standing army moved to the theater for World War III.
And anyone who says we need an exit strategy is going against what Bush wants, he says this very clearly, because Bush doesn't want to leave.
But ony the most radical Democrats, e.g. Russ Feingold and Ned Lamont, say we should bring all our troops home immediately. All the likely 2008 Democratic presidential candidates agree, we will stay there. Why? Because they're employed by the same people as the Republicans, there's only a difference of style, not substance. The Democrats are making the sounds we want to hear, the ones we believe will relieve the pain we feel because we're going to be dying for this, over and over, and they will not be heroic deaths, they will be anonymous deaths. The Americans dying in Iraq, like the ones who died in Vietnam, are not thought of as heroes, because now everyone knows that we were told bold outrageous lies when we were led to war by the government (including the Democrats).
Even so, we should vote Democratic, because it's the clearest protest vote we have. But if we elect Democrats, we should be prepared not to stop there.
My parents are trying to find an artist who did beautiful sculptures of people, in 2003, using nothing but soda cans, around Stillersee Lake near Zermatt. Can you help?
Highly recommended: Why We Fight. A mostly Republican documentary that has a ring of truth. Begins with Eisenhower's farewell address. I learned a new word from this movie: blowback. "The effect caused by recirculation into the source country of disinformation previously planted abroad by that country's intelligence service in an effort to mislead the government of another country." That might be a bit confusing. An example. Suppose the CIA does something nasty to another country, but it's a secret, so we don't know about it. Then the other country retalliates. We wonder why they hate us. The President explains, saying they're evil. Sound familiar?
Ooops, looks like the Republicans are up to their dirty tricks again. Losers!
Todd Cochrane recommends using a powerline adapter to bridge LANs over electric circuits. I may try this approach, wifi is proving a very slow way to move files between computers in the house, even though it's perfect for Internet access.
Via email, Ralph Hempel recommends using a low power FM transmitter to play audio around the house from a desktop computer. For what it's worth, the Airport Express method works fine from here.
Scott Rosenberg: "The fact that Saddam Hussein's verdict has emerged immediately preceding U.S. elections can be safely ascribed to Bush's desperate need to show some results from the Iraq fiasco."
Betsy Devine has an amazing picture of a leaflet that Republicans are putting on the windshields of cars parked at Boston-area churches this, the last Sunday before we vote. "Stop the Democrats from weakening America," they say. She's encouraging others to take similar pictures and post them on the web. This is a really good idea.
Scripting News is a proud sponsor of the Web 2.2 conference, next Thursday and Friday in San Francisco, the meeting place for the cool kids in the tech business.
Remember the upstairs office, the one with the nice view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Well this was moving week, my office moved from the den downstairs, where the DSL line enters the building. I have great connectivity upstairs now, but it wasn't easy!
First, I asked for a bid from a contractor for a hard line connecting the two rooms, and I didn't like the price. For that amount of money I could buy a great color laser printer. I'll just use wireless for now, and see how I like it. I had tested it with my MacBook (which is working fine, no random shutdowns since it was repaired, knock wood) and it was able to get a strong enough signal to get on the net. Not very strong, but still good enough.
So I took apart the dual CPU G5, and moved all the pieces upstairs (where I have a nice Aeron chair) and hooked them up, turned on the Airport, and it couldn't find the wireless router. Gulllp. I guess the desktop doesn't have as good wifi as the laptop does? Hmmm.
Okay, I had bought a second Airport Express, because I wanted to experiment with piping music around the house from my desktop, so okay, let's try using it to extend the range of the Mini, which I was using as my wifi base. Well that didn't work, because apparently it can only be used to extend an Airport. The problem then was that the new Airport Express didn't work. After I set it up initially nothing I could do would make it show up on any of my computers. Every attempt to reinitialize it failed. So I went to sleep and figured I'd go down to Best Buy and get a new Netgear or Linksys in the morning.
But when I woke up, I had fresh energy, and I did some searches and found that the Airport has to be plugged in when you push the bent paper clip into its port and hold it in for five seconds and when I did this, sure enough the light started flashing orange and then green, and I carefully set up both Airports, took frequent breaks to contemplate my good fortune, to pray for wisdom from Murphy, and crossing all my fingers and breathing deeply, and being totally sure a dialog would appear telling me it didn't work. After a number of attempts, with proper humility and low expectations, everything worked!
I'm on the second floor, the second Airport is directly below me in the living room, and it's wirelessly connected to the other Airport on the other end of the house, which in turn is connected to the DSL router and onto the Internet. The Mac Mini has a hard line into the router, and all the computers can see each other and share files and I'm one fukcing happy dude!
That all happened yesterday. Today I recieved guests from NYC, and then went out for a walk. When I came back I decided to tempt fate and try to use the same Airport I used to extend the reach of the other Airport to pipe music from the desktop upstairs, wirelessly to a radio in the living room, connected to the Airport by a mini jack.
And, again, holding my breath, crossing all my fingers, I jacked it in, and damn if it didn't work the first time!
I am the wizard of my domain. Master of the airwaves in my Internet craftsman house. Ready for new challenges!
Doc Searls: "Where would RSS, blogging, podcasting or outlining be today if Dave Winer had locked his ideas behind patents?"
Thanks Doc, I really love getting credit for my work. That's why I proposed that the tech industry grant honorary patents with no legal value to people who contribute their creative work for free. A nice award you can put on the mantle over the fireplace, and for adorning the Wikipedia page with, but not in any way keeping people from using the ideas. Something like the Creative Commons, but for patents.
I suggested this during the One-Click controversy, not sure if anyone was listening.
In 2002, after the World Series, I wrote of baseball: "Baseball is nothing if not history. That's why the business of baseball is so disconcerting." I realize now that the same is true of software. It takes a huge amount of trial and error to weed out the nuggets and then infinite patience to help other people see the light, only to have greedy business people come along, after all the work is done, and say the idea was obvious, or worse, theirs.
If I could get one idea through to people who write about the business people as if they were the Hank Aarons and Ty Cobbs of software, that would be it. You had to love baseball to love Pete Rose, but there's a bit of his spirit in every winning idea in software. And sure, some people don't like Pete Rose, but then what do they know about baseball?
BTW, if you watched the World Series this year, did you see a bit of the Charlie Hustle spirit channeled in the series MVP, David Eckstein?
In the last month, two leading gay Republicans have been outed. If Foley hadn't also been implicated as a pedophile and Haggard as a meth user it still would be significant because their party makes such a big deal of its homophobia.
You have to assume that both Haggard and Foley were aware of the risks, still here are two Republican men who chose not to (or maybe can't) control their sexual attraction to other men. How many more must there be who are more careful. It seems that party preference may not be an indicator of sexual preference.
Homosexuality is not a major issue for our country. Yes, there are homosexuals. I think most Americans understand that, and now the news is available to the Christian Right.
Let's get beyond villifiying ourselves, esp ones who aren't doing harm to others, and focus on Republicans who are willfully causing the deaths of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
Andrew Sullivan: "The
Wired: Gannett to Crowdsource News.
Wow, that Wired story on Gannett is big news.
It's going to work, for someone, at some time. Gannett may be biting off too much at once, but really big kudos to them for taking the dive. I'd love to help with this, so if anyone from Gannett is tuned in, how can I find out more?
I wrote about this just last month, counseling a more gradual transition to the web and incorporating reports from the citizen media.
I don't like the term "crowdsource" -- it's demeaning and not accurate, and betrays an arrogant point of view, kind of like calling your customers "consumers." Yuck.
Also, to my friends in the tech industry, you can build from the other direction too. Last month you could have bought a major newspaper for a song. Imagine a web-citizen news organization called The Philadelphia Inquirer. The brand alone is worth a fair amount of money, imho.
Another point, I love how they're transitioning the newsroom! I was thinking about that too.
Here's a diagram of my Newsroom of the Future.
If the Dems win a majority of just one of the houses of Congress, it could mean a dramatic shift in politics, finally there's a chance for a real national discussion of our options in Iraq. With subpoena power, there may be hearings into every major decision, past and present. At least there will be a way to ask questions. That doesn't mean of course that they will be answered, or if they are, that we will like the answers. But just being able to have a discussion that's not dominated by a few smirking wiseasses could mean a lot for the future.
Guardian: "British voters see US President Bush as a greater threat to world peace than either the North Korean leader or the Iranian president, according to a poll."
Electoral-Vote.com is tracking the Senate races.
According to BusinessWeek, next week's Web 2.0 conference is the "annual gathering of the digerati crème." To people who give me grief for being an A-list elitist (a-litist?) gatekeeper, hey I wasn't even invited to attend the conf, so according to my theory, I'm totally off the hook, so give the grief to someone more deserving.
I bet you're all getting tired of my Apple peeves, but here comes another one. I tried yesterday to make an appointment with the Apple genius (no sarcasm) at the Emeryville store, but I must have tried too late, and they said they were all full for that day. So I tried again today, same result. I decided to pay them the $99 for ProCare, although I consider this bordering on unethical to have to pay them just to talk to me (the problem might be their fault after all), but there's no way to buy ProCare online, you have to go to the goddam store to buy it. Okay, don't they know how much gas costs, and have they heard of global warming? And is my time as a customer who spends thousands of dollars with them a year, worth anything to them? I suppose they figure (rightly) that I can't make a visit to an Apple store without buying something, but geez Louise, how about making something easy for the customer? End of rant.
Thanks to Doc Searls for the pointer to the Donald Rumsfeld talking doll who says many of the clever things the real "Rummy" says. They have lots of others, including George Bush (elder and junior), Ann Coulter and Bill Clinton.
If you doubted that PR plays a role in the today's news flow, check out this post from a PR firm that representing a client that too aggressively wanted coverage from TechCrunch (and didn't get it). See how Mike Arrington responds. Everyone is human, even the gatekeeper du jour, and deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt.
Connecticut Bob: Mr Lamont goes to Washington.
Nan Lee: "Winning this midterm is the ultimate nightmare."
Mark Anderson: "While many people focus on Google as MS' top competitor, that's a consumer game; Oracle is a much greater threat, from the perspective of dominance in both database and now, suddenly, server operating systems."
WSJ: "TechCrunch has become a must read among many Silicon Valley venture capitalists and entrepreneurs."
VentureBeat: "Parakey is an application you download to your PC, which effectively becomes your personal operating system."
My thinking on the options backdating mess has been heavily influenced by Mark Anderson, who runs the Strategic News Service. Mark and I have become friends, at the urging of a mutual friend. He's a really interesting guy, with a huge and influential following, but almost (until now) no connection with the blogosphere. I spoke at his conference in May, along with Dan Gillmor. I am now on the Advisory Board of SNS, and at our meeting last week in Seattle, I urged Mark and his team to start a weblog, and now they have done so. I think he'll be an important contributor to the tech blogosphere, and I'm proud to have played a role in helping him get his blog up and running.
Mark Anderson: "Apple will end up being a model case of how NOT to handle such affairs, and Intellectual Dishonesty will have cost the company more than dishonesty itself."
NY Times: "Mr. Bush is inventing a fantasy world in which to campaign on phony issues against fake enemies."
UK quiz show: "What XML formatted files are used on web sites to provide machine readable content summaries and are often visuaally marked with an orange box?"
Michael Markman: "The Bush communications strategy has long been to make up false Democratic positions and then ridicule them." True true true. And then if the Republicans really wanted to turn things around, they'd tell Bush to go home and shut the door and talk to no one until Wednesday-next. Every time he opens his mouth and gets on TV that keeps the focus on Iraq, and the basic weakness of the Republicans, most of whom are trying to get their constituents to overlook the fact that they're Republican (or forgive them for it). Famous Democrats should keep baiting Bush, drawing him and Rove out, and let them make the headlines and to remind the voters that we're just getting deeper into the Bush mess, and we'd better start cleaning it up soon, and no matter how much you like your local Republican incumbent, he's not very likely to help clean things up as long as Bush is in office.
PaidContent has the scoop, Daylife will soon announce that the New York Times Company is leading its first round. I am also an investor in Daylife.
Grace Davis: "I strongly believe that all children under the age of six should have a pair of cowboy boots."
I'm looking to hire a part-time developer, possibly on a venture-development basis (that is, partial or full payment in the form of equity), to work on a series of projects, starting with work on the SYO project (a PHP/MySQL app).
Important qualifications: 1. Professional approach to work. 2. User focus (preferrably someone who uses RSS or OPML-based apps him or herself). 3. Local to the Bay Area (even better if East Bay, and/or near BART). 4. Experience in building commercial quality scalable apps.
I prototype in Frontier, but we will deploy apps in LAMP-based environments (although I'm also interested in commissioning a port of Frontier to Linux). What matters to me in choosing platforms is that the code be maintainable and the environment popular enough so that if we need to grow a devteam it'll be easy to find the people.
My track record is well-known, I hope, I've created many of the apps, formats and protocols that are the basis for what people call "Web 2.0," in addition to pioneering outlining and presentation software.
I have some more ideas, some quite powerful, imho, and I'm aiming high, I only want to work with great people. I also invest in the people I work with, you'll learn new skills, and I'm a demanding boss, but if you stick with it, the rewards are great. If you meet most or all of these qualifications, send me an email with a pointer to your resume. Thanks.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.