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Anatomy of a hack Permanent link to this item in the archive.

CNET says I'm the "self-described co-inventor of RSS."

It's hard to say they did something wrong because what they said is true, I do self-describe that way, in addition to a bunch of other ways. I'm a self-described male, native of New York, resident of Berkeley. 51 years old. 6 foot 2 inches tall. Etc. Having participated in the development of RSS is one of the things I self-describe as.

George W. Bush is the self-described President of the United States.

How arrogant of him! Who does he think he is. When will he get over himself. Glad we debunked him.

On the other hand, he did win a plurality of the electoral votes in the last election. So in addition to being the self-described President, he is also the "legally elected" President.

It's not unusual for reporters to leave out the self-described bit, unless they're trying to leave an impression that the person is silly, or grandiose, or deluded.

Paul Andrews: "It's hard to believe that any self-respecting journalist who values objectivity or fairness would engage in this kind of backhanded defamation."

Another pub that does this is Wired. And they go on to quote Nick Bradbury, saying that he's the developer of a "popular" RSS aggregator. They could have said that I'm the developer of a popular aggregator too, but they left that out. I also wrote one of the first, if not the first aggregator, a precedent for Bradbury's work and Microsoft's. They could have said any or all of that and it would have been true. But they had a point to make and an argument to discredit. And to do so, they had to discredit the proponent. It's an old trick, not logically valid, because whether Microsoft's patent is good or not has nothing to do with my qualifications, its decidable all on its own. If I were running for office, or on trial for fraud, then they might do well to examine my personality, but I'm not. And plenty of other people thought what Microsoft did was pretty nasty. How about talking to a lawyer to find out if it's a good idea to give them a pass on this? They didn't do any of that.

What to do? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named snowman.jpg9:21AM Pacific: A 3.5 earthquake, centered in the same place as the previous 2 quakes, just above the Claremont Hotel in the Berkeley hills. I hate earthquakes.

BTW, we're really feeling these quakes in Berkeley. The first one felt like a truck hitting the house. It was quick but loud. The second two were longer and shakier, and didn't make much sound, just the sound of household stuff rattling and the house rolling. Nothing fell down or broke, but my nerves are fraying. You never know whether you should just park your kiester in a doorway or try to make it out to the street. And then after the shaking is over, should you go back to what you were doing, or get out of the house? Oy.

Who to believe? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

One of my projects for the New Year, if I get my shit together, is to do a right-sidebar thing that accumulates "open" blog posts, items that have yet to be resolved that we should keep on the radar.

For example, there's been no response to my acid test posted at the top of SN yesterday. Until they give us rights to use what they think of as their technology, sorry I don't believe the people who say that it's probably just a defensive patent.

I think it's really weird when big publications who take ads from Microsoft attack me personally, in a way that makes it sound like I'm some kind of credit-stealing idiot. Please see this as a reflection on them, not me. So far three pubs have indulged this way: CNET, Wired and the Guardian. Perhaps others, but I haven't seen them. Each of these pubs deserves a black eye for not bending over backwards to cover a conflict. They take ads from Microsoft. The appearance of impropriety is every bit as bad as the impropriety itself.

No doubt they don't take cheap shots at Microsoft because to do so would cost them money, and if there's one thing they don't take chances with is money. So every time they say something nasty, think of the cash register ringing. Ca-ching. If you work at Microsoft, thinking you're making a difference by making cool software, shame on you. You work for a company that promotes this kind of garbage. It'll catch up with you sooner or later.

This is how the business press lost its credibility, and it's why the tech blogosphere was founded in the first place, to route around their conflicts. It's not just advertising that makes them attack, it's also that they need to get a certain number of phone calls returned by Microsoft people to do their jobs, and if they don't smack me for saying Microsoft did bad, they may return the other pubs calls, not theirs.

This is why if you can trust anyone you can trust a blogger who doesn't take ads and doesn't do interviews. Not saying you shouldn't take what I say with a grain of salt, I have my own conflicts and perspective that color what I say. And all this mess hides the real question they should be asking. Do they think it's good that Microsoft comes into a market that was doing pretty well without them, and before they ship a single product, are already putting up barriers to keep others out? That's good?? Really. Why?

Jon Udell, you haven't started at Microsoft yet. Are you sure you want to?

Antony Mayfield: "Microsoft may be giving high fives round the boardroom table for this move, but how much will it cost them in goodwill and reputation lost?"


Last update: Saturday, December 23, 2006 at 3:08 PM Pacific.

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December 2006
Nov   Jan

Open issues

1. Microsoft patent acid test.

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