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

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, May 31, 2007. Thursday, May 31, 2007

Weak wifi Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Sorry for the lack of posts, the wifi here is pretty weak, I get a connection then lose it.

Good morning! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Arrived at the Reboot venue.

Movie of empty auditorium at start of day.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2007. Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Jet Lag News Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Hey that would be a good name for a blog!

Anyway, here's what's new in the world of Jet Lag.

Couldn't get to sleep until 1AM (maybe even a bit later).

Sun was up by 4AM (maybe earlier).

Only three hours sleep last night.

Exclusive: That's not enough sleep for Comrade Davey!

Google Gears Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I read that Google is going to announce a toolkit today that lets you run web apps on a disconnected machine. Something we had working in Radio in 2001. The key is something called a desktop web server. Nothing revolutionary about it. A database and CMS that runs on the local machine. I suspect that their approach will be heavier on the database and lighter on the CMS, since they like Ajax apps (as do many others, of course), where the content rendering happens in the browser, in Javascript.

Reboot 2007 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Pics from the opening party at Reboot 2007.

Congrats to Jason? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named mahalolol.gifWired has a scoop on Jason Calacanis's new service, a "people-powered search engine" named Mahalo, which they say is launching this week at an insider's conference.

Glad to hear someone is innovating in search. I bet it's cool.

Not sure I like that the insiders will see it before I will. :-(

PS: The site is live now. I signed up, logged in and started looking around. There's a page on me (of course that's the first thing I looked for), and what little it contains is accurate. I like that they identify the person who edited the page (someone named ck).

PPS: Looks like Yahoo?

From Rex Hammock, on vacation with family Permanent link to this item in the archive.

"I'm vacationing and am offline but had to share the following snippet of a converation I just had with my son, the high school sophomore.

"'I've got a friend you should meet -- He speaks your language,' he said.

"'What do you mean, he speaks my language?' I responded.

"There was a pause and then he said, 'You know -- he's the kind of guy who knows who Dave Winer is.'

"That was high praise from the 16 year old."

Here's one for Naked Jen Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A billboard in a Swedish ferry terminal in Halsingbord.

Here's one for Naked Jen!

Still the best picture I've taken Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Proof that every picture tells a story.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, May 29, 2007. Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Easy upgrade to Facebook Permanent link to this item in the archive.

When someone lists you as a "friend" on Facebook you get to confirm it. That's good.

When you click on the "Confirm" button, you get a list of choices that almost never seems to have the right choice. Does that mean you don't have a relationship with the person? No. It means that the list of possible choices hasn't been updated since Facebook was opened to people outside the education system.

For example, Jeff Jarvis requested that I confirm that he is a friend. Of course I'm going to confirm that, because there is a relationship between Jeff and myself that should be part of my social network. In this case, Jeff is part of my blogging network, and I am part of his. We point to each other frequently. When we run into each other at a conference we have friendly words for each other. If you want me to introduce you to Jeff, I can probably do it, and vice versa. Also, Jeff has introduced me to a company I subsequently invested in (not something students usually do).

Jeremy Allaire is also in my queue, and is verified immediately. What's the relationship? We were both early relatively successful web developers. We once, jointly, floated an interesting proposal for a tech standard that didn't go anywhere. I'm a founder of and pundit in a field that Allaire has started a company in (and raised a prodigious amount of money). He probably reads my blog.

And there's the "delighted by" checkbox for women I'll never date (too young, live too far away, etc), but who nonetheless flatter me by requesting friendship.

Another checkbox -- "fantasizes about." ;->

PS: For extra credit, relationship-defining should be part of Facebook's open architecture.

Memorial Day postscript Permanent link to this item in the archive.

In Monday's NY Times, I read a rousing op-ed piece by Paul Krugman, who quoted President Bush saying that Americans never go to war unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. Krugman said that no American president has ever had less right to say that.

Gives you goosebumps, until you realize it may not be true.

When I was writing my Memorial Day piece, I said that the war in Iraq is an insult to all other wars. I gave World War II as an example, but that is one of the few wars that the US has fought, except for the Revolution and World War I that you can say that about. If you stop and think about it, the US goes to war all the time for no good reason.

For example, who but the US could you blame for the Civil War? That counts as a war, doesn't it? Lots of people died. It devastated huge parts of the country. You think 9-11 was bad, think again. The Civil War was much much worse. The clever part of the hype about 9-11 is that it disclaims that the attack came from outside the US. Well, that's a distinction without a difference. If the terror comes from within is it any less terrible?

Krugman was right about many other things, but I think that those who hold the US up as a shining beacon of morals in war-going have been watching too many John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart movies. Maybe we should aspire to that.

A Berkeley prof with his hand out Permanent link to this item in the archive.

An over-covered story -- the professional reporters will go away, which is bad news for you and me. Not saying it isn't true, but how many times, and different ways have you read this story. But if Google were to fund the reporters, as the author suggests, what happens when Google's fortunes decline? Tech is a cyclic industry. What goes up must come down. Count on it. And who will watch Google? That's been the problem with the employees of big media companies, they never look at their funders. How do we know they're really losing money? Maybe they're controlled by politicians or business people who want to do nasty stuff without being observed?

I could make the same argument, persuasively, for basic computer research. Who's doing it? Who's funding it? But the money dried up there without many articles in the SF Chron decrying it. Big surprise? Nope, of course not. The reporters are selfish and narcisistic. Hey, if you want our attention, stop complaining, stop the open offers to sell out, and let's get working on solving the problem. I want professional reporting to continue, but I also want to live forever, and that ain't happening.

Arrived in Copenhagen Permanent link to this item in the archive.

At 2:17PM Central European Time, Tuesday.

Left Berkeley at 11:25AM Pacific, Monday.

Thomas just showed up, all is good, seeya after a bit.

Flickr: Having lunch at a coffee house in Copenhagen.

Paolo is coming to Copenhagen tomorrow. Who else?

From Jim Posner things to do in Copenhagen.

I want to take a train trip up the coast tomorrow.

Some kind of record Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I haven't slept since 5AM Pacific Monday.

It's now 6PM Central European.

Which is 9AM Pacific Tuesday.

So it's 28 hours since I slept.

Tired, but I took a shower, so I'm not sleepy.

Makes sense to stay up as long as I can.

Took a melatonin though.

Should be nodding off soon.

Jetlag Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I got 0 hours sleep on the plane, so now I've been up for 26 hours straight.

I just asked Thomas if David Weinberger has ever been to Reboot. He says yes.

I say then I feel like Small Pieces Loosely Joined. ;->

I'm going to try to stay up for two more hours and then go back to the hotel and crash.

Can't recall beeing this jetlagged.

Economist: Viagra and jet lag.

Internet perf in my hotel room Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named perf.gif

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, May 27, 2007. Sunday, May 27, 2007

Nothing Accomplished! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Relatively speaking I have very little to be angry about about the war in Iraq. Except for the information that comes to me in the news, and that's very abstract, hard to feel unless I really try, the war has no direct impact on my life. I don't know anyone who is serving in Iraq. I don't know anyone with relatives in Iraq. My taxes haven't gone up to pay for the war. There is no rationing, no shortages. I don't drive much so the increased price of gas isn't having much impact.

But the war does make me angry.

To call it a war is an insult to all other wars.

World War II really was a war against an Axis of Evil. It was unavoidable. A war for our existence. A fight for freedom.

Watching 60 Minutes tonight, on Memorial Day, it's hard to imagine how we go on living our lives as other Americans give up so much, for something so utterly pointless. As the program ended, it became clear that our soldiers are having the same discussions about the war that we're having here. They know about the lack of support for the war in America. They process it in different ways. Listening to the soldiers, I can tell they were lied to as we were lied to, and of course because they have so much at stake, it must be so hard to consider that the lies were actually lies.

This week, for the first time, the President is floating the idea that a massive pullout is coming soon.

Oh what an effect that must have on our soldiers in Iraq. The futility in risking so much knowing that the outcome, instead of Mission Accomplished will be Nothing Accomplished. Other than the unnecessary sacrifice of a nation, ours, and its army.

Robert Byrd: "Today I weep for my country."

Shopping Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named bozo.jpgI had a long shopping list for my getaway tomorrow. I went to a half-dozen stores, the experience ranged from ridiculous to sublime.

Ridiculous? I wanted to buy a new jacket. Something roomy and warm, because it might get chilly in Copenhagen at night. I wanted pockets, and I want it to look good, but not so flashy (i.e. memorable) that I can't get away with wearing it every night on this trip. It's the only jacket I'm bringing. (I want to travel light this time, a small suitcase on wheels and a knapsack.)

I walked into The Gap on Bay Street, and started looking through the racks, and was approached by a salesperson who didn't speak English. She pulled me over to the Clearance rack and pulled out a small jacket (I wear XXL) and handed it to me and walked away. I put it back on the rack, but there wasn't enough room for it, so I really had to work. She came back, mumbled something in Chinese English (whatever language that is) and pulled the jacket off the rack again and tried to hand it to me. I wouldn't take it, and I turned to go back to the rack I was looking at. She came over and started talking to me again in jibberish. I turned around and walked out, confident that I wasn't missing anything.

I looked in the window at Banana Republic across the street and saw two clerks talking to each other, and no customers. After the Gap experience, I didn't dare walk into their zone.

All this happened after I walked into the Apple Store on the same street. It was the sublime experience. I zipped from station to station, looking at merchandise, drooling over things I don't need, seriously considering buying an iMac because I saw a man walking out with one with such joy on his face. I want some of that. I had two ideas, to buy a third battery so I could use the computer all the way to Europe even though there was no power at the seat on the KLM 747. I bought one for $69. And for $39 I bought their World Travel Adapter Kit. A sales kid, respectful and competent (and he spoke fluent English, the language of our country) got me exactly what I asked for, so quickly I didn't have time to consider another impulse purchase. But while I was waiting, another competent English speaking sales guy asked if I was being helped. All this while the store was packed with customers. I noted that there were people with dogs in the store, they seemed to fit right in. I asked, when the sales guy came back, if dogs were really allowed in the store and he said yes. Apple really gets retail, they understand their product and their customer, and the experience is just fantastic. And every time I visit they get at least $100 from me. Sometimes much more.

I continued down Bay St, still looking for the jacket. I stopped in a much bigger Banana Republic on the corner, asked where the men's dept was, they said it was in the other store. I turned around walked across the street to Old Navy, where a person at the front door tried to hand me a brochure for something. I said I didn't want it, but I did want a jacket. She pointed toward the back of the store where they had a few ugly hoodies, nothing like what I wanted, so I continued down the street to Barnes & Noble to get a book about Italy, which I found in short order. No sales people got in the way, I also picked up a copy of Al Gore's new book, went upstairs, made the purchase with my membership card, got my parking ticket validated, and got out quickly with what I came for and one optional purchase, got in the car, no jacket (which was the primary goal for the stop at Bay St).

Went grocery shopping, a predictable, quick and pleasant experience, went to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions, the service there is excellent, but not quite sublime. Smart young people behind the counter, they treat everyone well, out the door quickly after paying a huge amount of money (drugs are so expensive) and went across the street to have a burger with a friend, who recommended going to REI for the jacket. After the burger we got in the car, they had exactly what I was looking for, I bought a jacket for $50, then looked around a bit and bought a much nicer one that will also work for $179. My friend bought one of the $50 jackets (an impulse buy) and a REI baseball cap (also on impulse).

All in all, I spent well over $1000. The stores that had their act together got all the money. The stores that didn't even come close to meeting my needs (about half of them) got nothing.

Links only a nerd could love Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Les Orchard says each API is a snowflake that every developer has to build custom interfaces for. Someday all these guys will realize they need to get together and come up with some standards for serializing data to simplify the work for themselves and developers. A lot of compromise and working together will be needed to make this happen. And when they have finished, many years from now, they will be where we were with XML-RPC in 1998. :-(

Brent Simmons writes a tutorial that I can use. It's really nice to see Brent caring about Frontier! After sorting out the mess on Friday, I have a new sense of what's possible with Frontier. Not saying that has anything to do with Brent's piece, but there may be some kind of wave of karma flowing around Frontier that wasn't flowing before. Or it could just be my imagination.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, May 26, 2007. Saturday, May 26, 2007

On mediation Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Observation: "At least it's over." ;->

And yes, I learned a lot.

Creativity is coming back in new ways. I, and UserLand, were under a cloud from 1992 until 2007. It's amazing how much we got done, considering. The cloud is now gone. This morning, I felt like the stack has been popped back to much brighter days. We'll see if this holds up.

My small Web 2.0 dividend now appears reasonably safe. Another way of looking at it is that I got back a good chunk of the cash I put into Web 2.0.

Yesterday's post was entitled "community" for a very good reason. As I went into the mediation, I remembered how genuinely happy people seemed to be when the deal with VeriSign came out. I couldn't understand why, usually people seemed to resent my success. And weblogs.com seemed a particular lightning rod for grief. Now, a couple of years later it's more clear. I had a much bigger reservoir of goodwill than I was aware of.

Another bit of information. While the threat of a defamation suit was hanging over me, I heard from a number of bloggers who had been similarly threatened, and caved. This was understandable, but disheartening. I felt in yesterday's negotiation that I was not just looking out for my own interests, but also trying to create a precedent for bloggers in the future. You may not have to cave under a threat of a lawsuit, although I understand that there are good reasons people do it. However, before making a decision, look in your homeowner's insurance policy, if you have one. Many of them cover defamation judgments, believe it or not.

Most of the terms of the settlement are confidential, but otherwise I did not agree to limit what I say publicly, or remove or modify any posts. In some ways I knew Russo pretty well, and I was pretty sure he wasn't misleading me in the past about his respect for the First Amendment, and as it turns out, that belief was correct.

Do I feel like a winner? More so this afternoon than I did last night. I'm optimistic that when I get on the plane on Monday for Copenhagen, I'll leave more than California behind. ;->

Afternoon humor Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named cat.jpg

Steve sez Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Geez, apparently I've pissed off Steve Jobs, again. ;->

Permanent link to archive for Friday, May 25, 2007. Friday, May 25, 2007

Midnight update Permanent link to this item in the archive.

It was a marathon mediation, starting at 10AM, finishing at 9PM, but we reached a settlement, drafted an agreement, and signed it. Most of the terms are confidential, but the important point is that we executed mutual releases, so there won't be any lawsuits. I'll probably post more about it over the weekend. Good night y'all.

Great community Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Illuminating and informative comments in the last two days.

I'm spending the day in mediation of the Russo & Hale matter, so expect little or no blog posting. If you feel so inclined, say a little prayer for peace in our time, I'm hoping to come out of today with the whole mess behind us. ;->

I've learned a lot about mediation in the last few weeks, esp talking with some people in Berkeley who do it for a living, and have come to think in terms of mediating conflict. Can we find middle ground, where we both achieve our goals? That's what mediating is about, finding what's in between.

It's a funny concept for me, since I've spent my whole professional career doing things to dis-inter-mediate, so maybe it's possible to go too far, and decentralize so much that in order to solve a problem you need to come together?

I expect to learn a lot today. To give some and get some, I hope.

Namaste y'all!

Jim Goodman: "A compromise is both parties going away unhappy."

What to make of the Facebook APIs? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I have a Facebook page, but I don't use it much.

I like the wild wild web, the unbounded frontier.

To me, getting to include something in a web page is ho-hum, been-there, etc etc.

A long time ago.

Like Amyloo, I wonder if they got it backwards?

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, May 24, 2007. Thursday, May 24, 2007

Say it ain't so Permanent link to this item in the archive.

AppleInsider "believes in all sincerity that the Mac mini is dead." I, for one, would be disappointed if this were true.

A picture named mini.gifThe Mac mini is exactly the kind of product Silicon Valley should never stop making. It's the perfect platform for tinkerers in the middle of the hottest growth area for tech, the home network. I keep mine under a 46-inch Sony HD-TV. Nothing else in Apple's product line would fit except Apple TV, which doesn't do enough to interest a guy like me. I want a new much faster Mac Mini, and would pay for it. It's the most cripped Mac I own, slow at everything. Yet its the workhorse of my home network.

Flickr: Mac Mini in my geeked-out home network.

Europe travel questions Permanent link to this item in the archive.

1. Will my Cingular Blackberry work in Europe?

2. Will my Sprint EVDO?

3. Will there be Internet on the KLM flight from SFO to Amsterdam?

4. Will there be power at the seat?

5. Which power adapters do I need to bring?

Todd Mitchell offers some very detailed answers.

Brian Benz has a novice geek's guide for staying connected while overseas.

I got Cingular to turn on the international roaming service. Calls and email will be expensive, but what the heck, I'm only there for 11 days.

KLM says no there's no Internet on the 747 and no electric outlets either. It's an old plane, but it's huge. I got them to put me upstairs, in a window seat. Let's hope I don't have to go to the bathroom too much. ;->

The consensus is that I can leave the EVDO card home, it won't work in Europe at all. Luckily wifi does work in Europe, and it should be better than the last time I was overseas.

Two eye-openers in the NY Times Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named china.gifI don't often read op-ed pieces in the Times, they're part of Times Select, and it's never really occurred to me to pay them for opinion pieces. Today I happened to be on a plane flying from San Diego to Oakland, and I picked up a copy of the Times, in print, an affirmation that newspapers aren't dead.

One of the pieces that caught my attention was by Nicholas Kristof, an essay about trade with China. He explained that while the balance of trade between the United States and China is lopsided in favor of China, there are countries with which China has a trade deficit.

For example, China is in the business of assembling parts created elsewhere, and those parts show up as a negative on their balance sheet. So while a Barbie doll they send to US creates a $3 debt from the US to China, only $0.03 of that belongs to China, the rest of it is owed by them to other countries. Our massive trade deficit with China actually distorts the economic strength of China. They're not so strong.

The second piece, about nursing homes in the US, was written by Atul Gawande. He explains that while nursing homes are good at keeping people alive, and better than they used to be, for people who lead rich lives before requiring care, they can be like prison. For people my age, this reality isn't so far away that it wouldn't be a good time to start thinking about it, and learning, and maybe helping to reform the system.

Season finales Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Two TV serials I follow wound up their seasons this week.

I have to watch the last episode of Heroes again to figure out the details, but it left me satisfied. A good story, with a good moral. Check.

The finale of Lost left me wondering why they're going to have another season. So much was resolved. It also had a strong moral message, be satisfied with what you have.

TV is definitely getting better.

Advisory board finale Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named loverss.gifEvery so often I get an email asking what's up with the RSS Advisory Board.

Here's what I thought in May 2004: "This group is not a standards organization. It does not own RSS, or the spec, it has no more or less authority than any other group of people who wish to promote RSS."

Today I think it's even less than that. It basically stopped functioning later in 2004. The people involved went on to do other things. In the meantime RSS kept growing and growing.

Did RSS actually need an "advisory board?" No, it didn't.

I think it's great that people care about RSS. Keep supporting it, and if you want to help people use it, great. Just don't pretend there's any official board or body or whatever behind it, because there isn't.

Oh and by the way this is where the RSS 2.0 spec is and always will be. (Modulo redirects and Acts of Murphy.)

Postscript: Any group could create a profile of RSS, and recommend that other people use it. That group could be the authority on the profile, and change it in response to feedback. A validator could have an option to test against conformity to the profile, to say that a file is not only compatible with the RSS spec, but it also conforms to the profile. The group could act according to rules they devise, which they could pattern after the IEEE, IETF or W3C, or come up with a completely new protocol. Doing a profile is a logical and fair way for people who want to do standards work based on RSS to proceed.

Yo Ted! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Kind words from Ted Leonsis about Web 3.0. ;->

Request for linkage Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named freakedscoble.jpgValleywag used a Creative Commons licensed photo of mine, one that I'm quite proud of, taken when I knew Scoble was leaving Microsoft and the rest of the world didn't (yet, it would leak out the next day). I asked how it felt to be out of Microsoft, and he made this face, in jest, for sure. It would be great Valleywag linked back to the original from the photo they used, share some of the flow and credit. Seems like a fair trade. Thanks in advance! ;->

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, May 23, 2007. Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Today's talk Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Audio of interview with Stephen Evans of BBC World Service.

Today's quick hits Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jose Marinez: Poor Man's SMS Gateway.

Rex Hammock: Web 3.0 delayed until fourth quarter.

Peter Rojas asks if there's interest in an unconference to discuss the podcast player. I would certainly participate and help organize the event. Podcasting won't be fully ready for prime time until there's a player designed specifically for podcasting.

A picture named sansa.gifA recent article about Steven Rosenberg, who's mediating the dispute with Russo & Hale on Friday.

Todd Cochrane says Google buying Feedburner is "pure evil."

What do you think of Fleck?

Movie of the beautiful beach, pool and patio at the hotel.

Congrats to the Knight Award winners, many of whom are readers of this weblog.

Congrats to Feedburner, whose $100 million payday was confirmed by Mike Arrington. Let's keep an eye on Google hoping they are kind to the ecology of the RSS coral reef.

What is Web 3.0? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

My talk went well, and I did talk briefly about how we should think about Web 3.0. I know other people have said it's the Semantic Web, and maybe that use of the name will stick. I'm with Tim Berners-Lee who says Web 2.0 is really what the web itself is about. He always intended it to be a two-way medium.

First, I think of Web 2.0 as the Two-Way Web, the Read-Write Web, the Web of User-Generated Content. It's Flickr and blogs and wikis. It's everybody creating the medium for everyone else.

Imho, the next step after that, I hope, is the professional media fully embracing the new media, no longer see it as a threat to their continued employment. See amateur public writing, the former audience who is no longer silent, as sources who can get attention for their ideas without going through an intermediary.

A picture named dropdead.gifI think it will continue to shrink until they accept bloggers and podcasters as legitimate sources of news and perspective, without interpretation by professional reporters.

I totally disagree with my friend Robert Scoble who says that newspapers are dead. There's always been too much made of death in the tech world, in fact newspapers are still published, you can pick one up at any airport or train station. Many people have them delivered at home. We often go to newspaper websites for the news. Sure, there are problems, and the world is changing, but imho, we'll all do better if something called the San Francisco Chronicle continues to be published, even though the form of the newspaper will certainly change in the future. It would be a waste of a tradition, of a good coral reef, if newspapers really died. They need to change, and imho, when that change happens, we will safely be in the era of Web 3.0.

If you have questions about this vision, please post a comment here.

Good morning everybody Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named spaceWoman.jpgI'm here at Future In Review, sitting between Dan Gillmor on my left, and Stewart Brand on my right.

We're hearing Cynthia Figge interview Janine Benyus about biomimickry.

I'm interviewed later this morning on ideas for the future in blogging, podcasting, etc.

Last night at dinner I talked with Stewart Brand about future-safing archives, so my schpiel about that is well-rehearsed. I'll certainly talk about that this morning.

Here are some of the questions they asked me to address.

What's on the horizon -- still OPML, podcast player (wifi, open to other apps, recording), real unconferences.

Service I'd like to buy that isn't available right now -- future-safe web sites, relate this to conversation with Charlie Nesson.

What is Web 3.0? Easy to answer. Stay tuned.

Excellent wifi at Hotel del Coronado Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named wifiperf.gif

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, May 22, 2007. Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Silicon Valley Sitcoms Permanent link to this item in the archive.

When the VCs gave $25 million to Adam Curry and Ron Bloom to create a record label and ad agency for podasting talent, and John Markoff wrote in the NY Times that Evan Williams was going to create the eBay of podcasting, I had an instant deja vu moment. I've been here before, it seemed.

The last time I had this realization was at a Christmas party in San Francisco at the tail end of the dotcom boom, with people from competing pre-IPO pet food companies, each boasting how rich they would be after their companies went public.

A picture named danah.jpgSilicon Valley goes through predictable cycles of boom and bust. I think it's totally avoidable, that it's a simple bug that the great minds of the valley could cure, by rethinking and then tweaking how capital works, but in the boom times they're too lusty for quick returns, instead of funding technology companies, they fund TV sitcoms. They cast their companies with people who could play the mad genius or ruthless marketing exec if it were a weekly series like Heroes or Lost, or sometimes even The Sopranos, and very often Entourgage.

Instead if they hired the math genius from Numb3rs, he might tell them what's obvious. They eat their seeds, and don't invest in creating new ones. In the last bust, I had a blog, and documented it here, it's all in the archives. But I've been through a few busts before I had a blog, and as Mike Arrington says in today's TechCrunch, it's time for another house-cleaning in Silicon Valley, because the place is clogged with hangers-on, and you can't find the new ideas among all the pet food companies and me-too social networks.

A picture named arrrrgh.jpgAs they say, you can't throw a pot sticker into a crowd without hitting a budding entrepreneur with a pitch. The place is crawling with get-rich-quick schemes.

When I moved back to sunny California, I decided to give Berkeley a try. I have a nice guest bedroom, and Mike you can stay at my house any time. ;->

PS: I think it's cool that Mike wrote his piece. I think it's because I write stuff like this that the VCs and BigCo execs tune me out. I can't imagine what they will say to him. Should get an interesting discussion going.

A reminder from Les Orchard Permanent link to this item in the archive.

We need to keep beating the drum for OPML reading lists.

Hotel del Coronado Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Movie: I arrived at my hotel, to a lovely room, so I made a movie to show it off, and the surroundings, and a cameo appearance (near the end) by one of the pioneers of the Mac software world (not me). Hint: His company was called Farallon. Remember them?

San Diego-bound Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'm going to the Future In Review conference, where I will speak, in the future (tomorrow) about the future, in review.

With Loren Feldman in Little Italy Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Live video with Loren Feldman and some tiramisu, canoli, Steve Gillmor and a beautiful Italian waitress.

Copenhagen or Amsterdam? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Interestingly, next week Mike will be in Amsterdam at a tech conf at the same time I'm in Copenhagen at a tech conf.

It seems that Copenhagen is to Amsterdam as Berkeley is to Palo Alto. Funny how things work out like that. (My flight goes through Amsterdam. And I'm headed south after the conference, destination Milano.)

Zune, part two, day two Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named zune.jpgI spent a few hours yesterday updating the XP laptop with the broken keyboard with four years of Windows updates. As it was rebooting for the last of six times a DOS screen flashes by too quickly to read saying something about a registry error, and when I try to boot using the last good configuration it fails, and loops, flashes the same message, and never boots. I pulled the power cord and let it do this overnight until the battery ran out, hoping that maybe a power recycle might cure the problem, but this seems desperate and very unlikely to work.

So despite my best efforts and dozens of hours invested, I still haven't managed to get one song or podcast onto my Zune. In the meantime, of course the iPod is still serving my audio listening needs, with no extra effort.

There's no hope of it working with the the other laptop, since it requires XP Service Pack 2, and it has Windows 2000 installed. I suppose I could buy a new copy of Windows XP for the laptop with the broken keyboard, but that seems ridiculous. I've paid for a copy of the OS for that machine, and I also have a working copy of XP running in Parallels on my Mac. And it would just be yet another experiment, because after all this michegas (including lugging a couple of heavy laptops through the NYC subway, JFK, SFO, and BART) there's no reason to suspect that more effort would result in success.

Postscript 1: I took a movie of the machine rebooting, and froze playback on the error screen. It's hard to read, but maybe you've seen it before and have an idea how to fix it?

Postscript 2: Jarod says Knoppix and a USB drive are a good way to get data off a dead PC.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, May 21, 2007. Monday, May 21, 2007

Advice for campaigns Permanent link to this item in the archive.

At the end of the last session on Friday they asked the people in the audience to raise their hands with ideas for the campaigns. I had my hand up, but they didn't call on me. Had they, this is what I would have suggested.

Take the money you raise and instead of spending it all on advertising, spend some of it on stuff that helps people now.

Spend 1/4 of the money on political advertising. The usual stuff, attack ads, issue ads, whatever. It's all a waste, but you have to waste some money to persuade the press your campaign is serious. Try to run your ads in media the press follows.

Spend 1/2 of the money on a social program that people care about. Buy health insurance for 50,000 poor people in Mississipi. Install free wifi in one American city for a few years. In 2004, I recommended to Dean that he set up permanent blogging infrastructure because at the time setting up a blog was too hard and unreliable. Now that's no longer a problem.

A picture named goofyPresidentialCandidate.jpgSpend 1/4 of the money telling everyone how you're using 1/2 of the money to help people. This proves that your Presidency will be about solving problems, because you're not waiting to get elected to solve problems. (I predict this will raise you even more money, for you to spend on helping people, and the idea is so fresh, it might actually help you get elected, but even if it doesn't you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you not only helped people in a real way, but you also helped people feel positive about politics. I think net-net this is why a lot of people got behind Dean, something that Dean himself never really appreciated. They wanted to do something powerful to help their country. Politicians tend to be cynical, so they don't get that many people are not inherently cynical.)

Next attempt at Zune Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named zune.gifWhen I was in NY, I picked up a couple of old Windows laptops I had left at my parents' house, out in the garage, in plastic containers. They weathered the east coast winters fine, both booted right up, one has a broken keyboard and the other runs Windows 2000. And they have files I had previously lost, so that's welcome. I'm going to back them up to DVD right away. And I'll use the one with the broken keyboard to try again to setup the Zune that Microsoft generously gave me to play with at Mix 07 in April.

BTW, on the flight back from NY I saw someone using a Zune. Made me think that if I had mine working we could have shared some music over wifi (even though I guess it violates the airline rules).

Checklist Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I started my checklist for my 11-day Europe trip which starts a week from today.

Purchased my Eurail Pass. I have five days starting in Copenhagen and ending in Milano.

They ship it from Newton Center, which is pretty close to where I used to live when I was in Massachusetts.

Thanks for PDF Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I had a wonderful time at the PDF, even though I spent a fair amount of time writing and surfing instead of participating. I really like both of the guys who ran the conference, Andrew and Micah. And everyone was so warm and friendly, much more so than at conferences held in California. How unusual for a NYC event!

Late start Permanent link to this item in the archive.

First post today at 3:25PM.


Permanent link to archive for Sunday, May 20, 2007. Sunday, May 20, 2007

Police intimidation of free speech in NJ? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On the plane today, one the of the flight attendants told me about a scandal rocking New Jersey, where the state troopers union, unhappy with questions raised about its practices by a radio talk show host, publicized his home address and phone number, and tried to intimidate the show's sponsors and the radio station's executives.

I said I'd ask about it on my blog, and I am hereby doing so.

Here's a Goggle News search query that returns lots of relevant hits.

Is this for real? Is this the United States of Fascism now? Are we allowed to ask questions about civil servants, without fear of reprisal?

Ebb & Flow Permanent link to this item in the archive.

SF Chron: Chronicle to cut 25% of jobs in newsroom.

3/24/07: "Embrace the best bloggers."

Back in Beserkeley Permanent link to this item in the archive.

See you at the Cybersalon tonight.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, May 19, 2007. Saturday, May 19, 2007

Today's links Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Kevin Tofel: "Widsets have extended my phone by magnitudes; granted, I use a Windows Mobile smartphone, but these widgets are Java based, so many phones can run them."

Winksite Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named fan.jpgI'm in a presentation by Dave Harper, founder of Winksite.

One of the people in the audience is monopolizing the discussion, saying over and over how she doesn't get it. That's the problem with a vendor doing a product presentation. He's got to be nice because it's a customer. The room empties out. I'm staying here because I'm getting caught up on email.

Postscript: I asked Hudson what he thought of Twitter. A long discussion ensued. I suggested that he provide a user interface, both mobile and desktop, for posting to Twitter, in addition to allowing for the display of Twitter-created RSS feeds. I thought Winksite could be the perfect first-peer in Twitter's coral reef. Let's see what happens.

Unconference art Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Neither of the conferences I went to today are really unconferences, people are doing presentations, I'm in the audience, expected to either ask questions or make suggestions.

People don't seem ready yet to accept that knowledge is distributed through the room, we're here to be taught.

3/5/06: What is an unconference?

Afternoon at MobileCamp Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I spent the morning at the PDF Unconference, so I'm spending some time this afternoon at MobileCamp. I'm in Room 3, watching a presentation about how to build your own SMS gateway. Not sure I need to do it, but the other sessions are either over-full, or I don't understand what they're about.

Cocoa UltraSMS is a "free utility for extracting SMS messages from a mobile phone into a MySQL database for use within your own applications and websites."

The teacher, Jose Marinez, says he'll put the full instructions for setting up the SMS gateway on his blog. He has the gateway running on his Mac Mini at home. Maybe I'll set one up too, but I couldn't follow the demo he did here today.

Remixing politics by JD Lasica Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named Kumaran.jpgI'm in a discussion led by JD Lasica about remixing politics.

He's describing a project to allow people to share speeches and interviews, commercials.

Problems with Youtube, per JD:

1. Uploads are limited to 10 minutes.

2. No Creative Commons.

3. Can't download the video.

Outthink Media is doing the development.

Blip.tv is a partner.

Ourmedia is the central place people will go to.

Coral reefs, the saga continues Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Bravetrail asks how many coral reefs do fish need?

The answer is of course that we only need one coral reef.

But a federated server that ties into Twitter would not be a new coral reef, it would be part of the Twitter coral reef.

A picture named houseOfCards.gifJust as Feedburner is part of the RSS coral reef. And rumors say they're selling their piece of the reef for $100 million to Google.

The danger is that Google is a super-power, and coral reefs depend on harmony and no one entity being too powerful. Such an entity might disrupt the fragile ecology of the whole reef. Of course they'll say they won't, but...

Well I've gotten too far ahead of reality. There is no announced deal, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens. This is the main reason I've been uncomfortable with a company (Feedburner) trying to make a business out of the centralizing something that only works if its decentralized.

And I'd feel much more comfortable if a publishing company bought them, than a technology company. Publishing companies tend to accept technology as-is, technology companies, often try to play a game of lock the user in the trunk.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, May 18, 2007. Friday, May 18, 2007

Next stops Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Sunday back to Calif, early morning flight. Ride BART from SFO to North Berkeley.

Sunday evening, Cybersalon, a reprise of the "debate" here this afternoon.

Tuesday afternoon, San Diego for the Future In Review conference. On-stage interview with BBC Radio Wednesday.

Friday, mediation with Russo & Hale.

Monday, fly to Copenhagen for REBOOT 9 on Thursday. Days inbetween to discover Denmark, acclimate to time-zone, midnight sun.

June 1-7, train riding around Europe. Destinations unknown!

June 7, return to US of A through Milano.

Pretty good wifi at conference Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named wifispeed.gif

Bloggers debate Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Andrew Keen opens a panel at Personal Democracy Forum debating The Cult of the Amateur.

Links of the Day Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Aaron Pressman on MSM that fell for hoaxes.

BBC on Flickr censorship.

Twittervision in 3-D.

Wandered into a press conference Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named chance.gifIt was hard to find a place to sit down to eat lunch, wandering around I saw an open door in a room with some tables and an empty chair. Turns out it was a press conference announcing a movement to draft a "tech president." I sat down, asked if it was okay, started eating my lunch and listened.

Craig Newmark is sitting at the table, saying Being There type quotable things, of course he is much more self-aware than he lets on. Eli Pariser from Moveon.org is sitting to my right.

Will something come of this? Well, there are a lot of industries that want to see the US networks for computers and cell phones to stay in the 20th Century. The cable and entertainment industries are scared of access being a free or relatively free thing.

Stifling while listening to Friedman Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I did a good job of stifling while listening to NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman, although at times I did gasp out loud at his arrogance and disregard for us, the audience.

As you know I don't like the audiences, but today I am definitely in one. I'm not allowed to talk, respond, agree or disagree. My job is to listen and that's it.

Friedman told an old story about how the Internet out of control would turn everyone into a public figure, like Friedman, who suffers from slander and exposure. True, the press can be unkind, Friedman himself has given credit for my work to a mob. What recourse did I have? Not much. I was thinking of responding to him in a question after his speech, but luckily I didn't have the chance.

Talking from the audience is to talk with no power. I'll wait until I have the stage, later today, or here on my blog, when I can finish a thought without having to explain my qualifications.

A picture named tf.jpgFriedman told the story of an Indonesian woman who thought Al Gore is Jewish, something she heard on the Internet, which Friedman says is untrustworthy. But we remember when Friedman warned of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, who explained to us in his audience why we had to go to war. If I had time to ask a question, I might have asked him what regrets he has about the mistakes he's made, the lies he told that caused more death than the lies the Indonesian woman who thought Gore is a Jew. The mistake we make is when we blindly trust any source, including the NY Times.

I've been able to use my ability to out bad businesses to get equitable treatment for myself and others. Sure some people will use this medium for bad purposes, as Friedman uses the Times for what I think are bad purposes. Him painting our medium as inherently evil might have slowed things down a tiny bit, a few years ago, but today it only tells us how flat this world looks to a man in Friedman's place. It's no more flat than any other world, but if you over-simplify it can look that way.

Report from the PDF Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named bj.jpgI'm finally ensconced in a seat in the auditorium at Pace University in NY listening to Lee Rainey talking numbers. Millions of people do this. Millions of people do something else. The median age has risen from 33 to 39. It's a lot less white. But it seems we could read this on the web and be a lot more comfortable.

People are dressed much better here than the typical California conference. Lots more women. ALready schmoozed with lots of people who it was good to see. Jay Rosen, Jeff Jarvis, Craig Newmark, Salim Ismail. I have Alzheimer's, I know this because I've been confused by three people who knew me who I didn't recognize. Two of them were very attractive young women. I'm losing my mind.

Sitting next to Ed Cone. I explained that he was lucky that I actually recognized him.

I've already sung his praises, as the godfather of Greensboro blogging, a legendary small North Carolina city that probably has the highest per capita blogging population than any other comparable city in the US.

Ed Cone: "Guy in tie at podium w/slides == death."

Please, no more presentations!

How about a discussion. This conference desperately needs to adopt the philosophy of the medium that it covers. If you're reading this in the room and agree, please cover your mouth and cough three times. ;->

It's not the blogosphere Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named bugspray.jpgEngadget on the Apple leak that made the stock move.

Somehow a fraudulent email was distributed to Apple employees. One of them forwarded the email to Engadget. They made a reasonable attempt to verify the email, failing to get a comment from Apple PR, they believed it was authentic, so they ran it.

What's new is the quick turnaround, otherwise Engadget is a professional publication that happens to use the web and tools of the blogging world, but this is not the blogosphere. Nothing wrong with that, and I don't think Engadget did anything wrong. Are they a powerful publication now? Yes. The news, while it was believed to be true, made Apple's stock go down; when retracted, the stock went back up.

They acted as any professional news organization would, which is what they are.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, May 17, 2007. Thursday, May 17, 2007

Miscellanios Permanent link to this item in the archive.

BBC: "Anya Peters went from homeless blogger to published author in the blink of an eye."

My Sprint EVDO card works grrrreat in this hotel.

Josh Marshall: "This White House has mainly used 'classification' as a way to keep embarrassing information out of public view."

Checked in at the Hilton, across the street from Ground Zero.

We've all been here at one time or another. Well, at least I have. ;->

Ron Paul the hero of 2008? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Of course the Republicans are trying to tar and feather Rep Ron Paul, spin what he says to make it sound like he's a nut.

Even the Democrats aren't making as much sense as he is.

A picture named maude.jpgThe things he's saying are surely what the politicos in Washington say when the cameras aren't on. We need more of that. Poor McCain, I can imagine at one point he might have said these things. But he's too sold out now to have any chance of winning if he did. His career would be over. But, you gotta wonder why he doesn't go ahead, because his career is totally over anyway, and the thought of more people dying, Americans and Iraqis, so he can hold on to a sliver of hope that he might win an election someday, suggests that he never really had any morals, he was just playing someone with them, in the hope of getting elected.

I'd like to shake Ron Paul's hand someday. I might even work for the guy, how about that! I honestly don't give a damn if the Republicans win or the Democrats -- I'd just like to see us, as a country, start using our brains, and start caring about not just ourselves but the poor schnooks who are dying. A little Golden Rule would help us feel okay about all the blessings we have.

As Maude used to say, and I think this every time I hear one of these guys like Blitzer or McCain (they're all the same) lie on TV -- God'll get you for that Walter. Well God won't only be getting Wolfe and John, he'll be getting you and me, if we stand around and don't do anything and let the bullshit continue.

Point of view is everything Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Les Orchard: "Twitter becomes immensely interesting when it turns out that you've amassed a group of contacts who tend to run in similar circles as you, because even their off-handed remarks and random burps have a decent chance of surfacing something interesting or entertaining. When it's good, this sets up a nice ambient chatter like sitting in a coffee shop filled with just your kind of people."

That's exactly right. And he goes on to explain that's why when reviewers look at Twitter, or other networking systems (like blogs) they see them as mundane. But it's like listening to random phone conversations, you'd think the same thing. But suppose you were listening to a conversation among people you know?

Twitter isn't private, so it's not exactly like eavesdropping, but it is personal. These days on the Internet we're experimenting with various mixtures of private and public, subscriptions and ephemeral connections. Almost no one watches the main Twitter page, yet that's probably where most of the reviewers go.

The naive reviewer hasn't got much to offer these days.

Wolf Blitzer interviews Ron Paul Permanent link to this item in the archive.

It's amazing how Blitzer protects his viewers from the new information that there might be understandable reasons why the US was attacked on 9-11. (Of course the information itself is old, what's new is that it's being aired on CNN.)

We've been killing huge numbers of people in the Middle East for a long time. If a foreign power was doing to us what we do to them, we'd be pissed, and we'd fight back. (As they are.)

Paul is right, of course -- and Blitzer is wrong. Paul is the only candidate of either party with the guts to cut through the nonsense and say what's obviously true. And Blitzer is the one that owes us an apology, for carrying the lies for so long. He's supposed to be a journalist, and his job is to be neutral and to find and tell the truth.

Ron Paul is good medicine for the US political system.

PS: If Giuliani is so good at protecting us, why did the attacks happen on his watch? Why no warning from Giuliani? Didn't he see it coming? Couldn't he prevent it? Why should anyone think he'd do any better if he was President?

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, May 16, 2007. Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Today's links Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Excerpt from last night's Republican debate cited below.

Larry King doesn't use the Internet, and doesn't want to learn how to.

Nik Cubrilovic: "The stats for torrent downloads are staggering."

I wish I had seen the Republican debate Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I had a dinner in NY last night, so I missed the Republican debate.

The Nation summarizes an exchange with frontrunner Rudy Giuliani and Texas Congressperson Ron Paul, who said: "Right now, we're building an embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican. We're building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting."

Here's the actual video.

Giuliani has no basis for running on his ability to defend the country against terrorism, other than an impression that he made some people feel better when he appeared on TV after the 9-11 attacks. I didn't have a TV then, so I remain perhaps the only American who doesn't have fond memories of Giuliani, who I remember as a brash district attorney, definitely not Presidential material. New York politics, even though NY is our biggest city, is a very small little world.

I'd like to see the current NY mayor, a Republican, get into the race. Unlike Giuliani, he comes from the city, not its political system, and is a genuinely smart man, who uses his brain, and his heart.

And I like the effect Ron Paul is having on the Republicans. He may be their Howard Dean, four years later, and perhaps without the self-destructiveness. They need, we need, someone to connect that component of our policial system in reality, and he's doing that quite well.

I don't usually watch Larry King Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A few weeks ago they had the entire cast of Heroes on Larry King, I'm a big fan of the show, so I watched. It was worth it, if only to hear the story of Adrian Pasdar, who plays Nathan Petrelli on the show, who is married to Natalie Maines, a Dixie Chick.

When she tours, in Japan for example, she can't get the show on broadcast or cable, so she downloads it from the Internet. No one remarked that this was illegal, or could get her a big fine or jail time. Larry King didn't say a word, nor did any of his fellow cast members. No lawyer served him with a subpoena. It went unnoticed.

Did a little reality leak in? On one hand, artists want their work to be seen. And the Internet reaches everywhere, including places that broadcast and cable don't. And it's the perfect time-shifter. Why shouldn't I be able to watch the Republican debate even if I happen to be in NY and eating dinner with a business associate at the time it was broadcast?

Isn't it time for the entertainment industry to deal with reality, instead of making obvious deals with Alberto Gonzalez to impose insults to the Constitution and the people, in order to support their denial of technology that serves people so incredibly well.

Maybe they should star in their own reality show, you could call it Network Execs in Denial. Put them on an island with a bunch of real people and Internet connectivity and watch them pull their hair out trying to explain to them why what they're doing is wrong.

PS: Yaacov suggests that she was watching on this website. Interesting. Does it work in Japan??

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, May 15, 2007. Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Saturday unconference in NY Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On Saturday I'll be at the PDF unconference at the Pace University Student Union, One Pace Plaza, 10AM-6:15PM. It's open to the public, $35 for lunch, coffee, snacks & wifi.

I'll also be at the non-unconference on Friday, part of an incredible lineup of creative bloggers and technologists who care about democracy.

I return to California on Sunday.

PS: If you read Scripting News and are going to the PDF meetup on Saturday, could you sign up here on my wiki, so I'll have an idea of who's coming. Maybe we can have a special meeting just for this community.

PPS: MobileCamp NYC is on Saturday. I'll try to make it over there, I want to show off the NY Times River. It seems that NYers who are into mobile tech might find that interesting! ;->

What is Yahoo up to with Flickr? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Read what Thomas Hawk says and give it a lot of credence.

Thomas has earned our respect. He says Yahoo is unfairly deleting stuff.

As a paying user of Flickr this is very disturbing to me!

Yahoo, please explain. Thanks.

Gotta say Permanent link to this item in the archive.

It's good to see Les Orchard blogging again.

Photos from a morning walk in Rockaway Beach Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Click here for more photos.

Rockaway Beach boardwalk

B. Mann loses it Permanent link to this item in the archive.

He says he lost it when he read my post about federating Twitter last night. He says "Forget Twitter. It has a bunch of users, that's about it." And goes on to say someone should rebuild Twitter using Jabber.

But having a bunch of users is very important feature. You can't just skip over it as if it didn't matter, because imho it's all that matters. Jabber is a good technological foundation. But we've learned over and over that that isn't enough to get people to use something.

So many people who know technology think they know better than users. The trick is to forget that and just go where the people are. Jason wants to use Twitter. So do a lot of people. That's good enough for me.

Previous citation: Twitter as coral reef.

Life in prison for copyright infringement? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

News.com: "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is pressing the U.S. Congress to enact a sweeping intellectual property bill that would increase criminal penalties for copyright infringement, including 'attempts' to commit piracy."

Theory -- this is what the Democrats got to look the other way and let the Gonzales matter drop. Howard Berman, the advocate for the RIAA and MPAA, is on the House Judiciary Committee, and in general, the Democrats are the ones pushing for legislation on behalf of the entertainment industry.

Also, I have no idea what attempted infringement means, but it could mean visiting a site that has BitTorrents available for download.

The News.com article isn't clear about this, but apparently there are some infringements deemed so serious that the proposed penalty is life in prison.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, May 14, 2007. Monday, May 14, 2007

Twitter Premium? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named fan.jpgJason Calacanis is known for stimulating interesting discussion. Today is no different.

He says he'd pay $100 a year for a Twitter that was always fast, almost always up, and had some additional features.

I sent Jason a private email which I'll now repeat here.

Just FYI, because of their API, you don't really need Ev and Biz to do that for you. A bunch of us could pool resources and set up a server of our own, and peer with Twitter's. If Twitter is down it would just queue up the messages, in the meantime, anyone who was on the premium system would see the messages immediately.

Wigglin Spree Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I find this commercial endlessly fascinating. Just love the song. And the dancing. Simple pleasures.

BTW, I've been saying this for years -- why don't companies put their ads on the net? Really high quality versions. They are ads after all, they want us to watch them, right? Or what am I missing?

Apparently it's sung by Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies. Here's an MP3 of the beginning of the song. Some people love the ad (like me) and others hate it. ;->

Okay there's a bit of wiggling on the Jell-o site. Not enough and not the commercial with the kid and the cow.

Another day in the park Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Speaking of simple pleasures...

It was just too lovely to spend much time blogging today.

I don't remember east coast weather as nice as the last two days.

Here are some pictures of turtles in the park for your entertainment.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, May 13, 2007. Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ideas for the TechCrunch 20 conference Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named mixer.jpgJason posted an outline of the agenda for the TechCrunch 20 conference coming up in September. I had some ideas I wanted to add, and asked if he'd prefer if I post them publicly or send them privately. He said he prefers public discourse, and naturally I agree, so here goes...

I think something is missing if we start with product pitches, and don't go any further back in the gestation process. Ideally I'd like to have a discussion about a roadmap for the next ten years in Internet entrepreneurship. Which ideas of today will still be around in ten years and which won't? What problems will be solved that will change the nature of products we can make in the future? I think that's a hard nut to crack, but there are some obvious things -- for example the mythical podcast player we're always talking about. It seems that, while no startups are today producing such a product (correct?) at some point in the next ten years someone will. Yes or no? If we want to see this problem solved, because, theoretically it will enable many more companies to start, how can we create incentives?

If given a chance, I'd get up and evangelize Checkbox News. I wouldn't actually be pitching it, but I'd be interested in knowing if anyone wants to work on it. A friend, Greg Stikeleather, once called this Idea Capital, it works like venture capital, but it provides a fertile idea for a group of entrepreneurs, much the way VC provides cash to stimulate the development of new entrepreneurship. That's a business I'd like to be in myself.

Just after the last boom ended, I argued that VCs should set aside some of their profits in boom times to build up a stock of developed ideas to fuel the next boom. I think doing so would help diminish the familiar boom-bust cycle that Silicon Valley has been going through for all these decades.

A picture named augustusCaesar.gifSo that's part one of the discussion. Part two is more fun -- I'd like people to talk about some crazy idea they have, ideas they don't think will get funded, but products they'd like to see nonetheless. Companies don't solve all the problems out there, some things get created with little thought of creating a company, but they end up creating opportunities for companies -- things like folksonomies, syndication, digital photography and video, blogging, podcasting. Personally, I'd like to see us make archving really work, so what we create on the web may outlive us. If there's a Hemingway or a Woody Allen out there today, they're probably creating for the Internet. How will we make sure their work survives? And of course that's just one idea. And some ideas never become commercial yet still have a potentially positive effect on our lives.

Now it could be these kinds of things don't have a place at the TechCrunch 20 conference, that's up to Mike and Jason to decide. But I would find a conference with a broader agenda more interesting, and perhaps it would provide a reward for some of the entrepreneurs who come, beyond helping get their companies funded, and their shareholders liquid.

Finally, I think of this set of ideas as nutrition for the startup community. So many times people come away from these shows feeling that nothing new was discussed. I feel strongly that the way to make sure that people feel they got their money's worth is to be deliberate, even systematic, about bringing the new ideas in.

Perfect weather in NY Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The weather in NY today is perfect, so I took a walk in Central Park with a friend and my camera.

Here's a four-picture Flickr set.

Weird movie made by holding camera at side while walking.

Today's links Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Rockbox is an "open source replacement firmware for mp3 players."

Permanent link to archive for Friday, May 11, 2007. Friday, May 11, 2007

Today's links Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Happy 40th birthday to Nick Bradbury. He was born in the spring before the Summer of Love.

NY Times: "Bonds's impending achievement would normally have the sport in a congratulatory frenzy, except that many fans view Bonds's ascendancy as the signature event of the ignominious steroids era."

Two-word comment: "If Only."

Wired on results from Alexa on traffic at various blogs. At least they're honest when they say it's link-baiting. ;->

Mike Shaver: "Why wouldn't you choose the web, given its record and power and openness?"

Great BBQ in Berkeley Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named chicken.gifMarc Canter will love this place if he doesn't already know about it. Wonderful home-style BBQ, all varieties. Been there twice so far, we've had baby back ribs, brisket and North Carolina-style pulled pork. All of it very well prepared, lean, very tasty. The hot sauce isn't too hot. The side dishes are prepared authentically. We had collard greens and cauliflower last night. At the table next to us, they had corn bread and macaroni. It's going to be a regular. Easy to get to, off the Gillman St exit of I-80.

Theodore Roosevelt Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named roosevelt.jpg

Retraction & apology Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A couple of days ago, in documenting a misquote in a Business Week article, I theorized that the misquote was a result of "empty throwaway words that fill up all Business Week articles."

While the theory accurately reflects my state of mind, which is all it purported to do, it's unfair to say all Business Week articles contain this kind of misquote, or even most. I should have said that some Business Week articles do.

I apologize for this mistake. I believe they care about the quality of their publication, it was unfair to imply that they don't.

The last movie I saw in a theater Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named spiderman.gifA few weeks ago I got a new sound system for my home theater. It makes a huge difference in the experience. I've been going back and watching old favorites to see what they're like now that the sound is better than the picture. I haven't found a way to describe in words how much richer it is.

My screen isn't as big as the screens in theaters, but the quality is much higher, and I sit 8 feet from the screen so in effect my screen is bigger.

Then early this week, went to see SpiderMan 3 at the AMC Bay Street, a relatively new theater, which should have the latest screening equipment. The movie had just come out, so it seems the print should be in good shape. This is the first time I've been to a theater seen since upgrading my sound system, and while I had always been impressed with the sound at theaters in the past, this time I was surprised to hear how bad their system is. The one I have at home is thrilling, theirs is mushy. And the film had all kinds of defects that I never would have noticed before, but now I'm spoiled by HD. However, even normal movies that I screen at home from an ordinary DVD are better quality than what they show at a theater. I wonder why?

A picture named jewWrestler.jpgOne reason I mention this is to point out, in my own humble way, an opportunity for the movie industry, to turn theaters into fantastic movie-viewing venues, with the best equipment, cranked up for maximum effect. Honestly, I think they're going to have to do that to compete with the equipment that's making its way into the home these days. Sure I spent a fair amount of money on my setup, but if there's one thing we know for sure, the prices in home electronics go down very quickly these days.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, May 10, 2007. Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tantalize me! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Twitter blog: "Twitter now fully supports microformats."

You don't say!


Smart Matt Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Matt Mullenweg: "There are now hundreds of people making their living using WordPress, and I expect that number to grow to tens of thousands. That's what gets me out of bed in the morning."

Haille Selassie Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named hailleSelassie.jpg

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, May 09, 2007. Wednesday, May 09, 2007

News you won't hear on CNN tonight Permanent link to this item in the archive.

ThinkProgress: "11 Republican members of Congress pleaded yesterday with President Bush and his senior aides to change course in Iraq."

From Doug Kaye, via email, RSS was the question for one of the answers on today's Jeopardy. If you know what the clue was, please post a note.

The future of news, part 3 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named accordion.gifAmyloo has a clear vision for how online news will develop, based on a very simple observable fact, news organizations specialize. Create a website that's the union of all the specialties. You don't need to replicate the stories, just links to the stories. Each site gets to run ads on their pages, but part of what makes a site attractive is how functional it is. If you have great reporting but the ads make your site more difficult to read, net-effect your reporting isn't so good.

BTW, part 2 of the future is Checkbox News.

Part 1 is Hypercamp, the meatspace Newsroom Of The Future, although I haven't been able to successfully convince anyone to partner with me on developing it. (And it requires too much capital for me to do it on my own.)

It's sad in a way to watch the various new media startups struggle to find a way to make money, because there are so many ways, they just haven't spotted them yet. ;->

Business Week misquote Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I know you're not supposed to object when a big print pub like Business Week quotes you, but they got it wrong, even when they quoted me verbatim from the web. I didn't think it was possible, but here it is.

Here's the article, and here's the quote.

I do not believe "one factor spurring the growth of unconferences is their ability to tap the smarts of the people who usually sit mute in the audience."

Yet they say I believe that.

I don't know if they believe it. Or if it's just some short-hand, or empty throwaway words that fill up all Business Week articles.

Truth be told, most things they call unconferences are not, imho, unconferences, and don't address the question I said they should address. If you determine the schedule ad hoc, but still put speakers in front of a silent group of people, you haven't changed very much, imho. If that's spurring growth, then it's not a good kind of growth.

Further, I don't think the kind of unconferences I like are actually growing. I know I'm not supposed to say that, but I like to stay grounded in the truth. When I say something is growing, I want that to mean something. So I don't say something is growing when I don't believe it is.

See below, on The Scientific Method, as it applies to journalism.

What I would teach a journalist, part 2 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A few days ago, in response to a query from a reader at the University of Nevada, I outlined how I would start teaching Web 2.0 to journalism students.

I think perhaps I said some things without explaining enough, so there were some misunderstandings.

I said skip Drupal and get the kids on blogspot.com or wordpress.com asap, because they need to be blogging before anything else happens. I saw this at a meeting with J-school students at Cal a few weeks ago. There's a real resistance among students to just get started. I've seen the same thing with software developers. Every writer will tell you the same thing I said. You want to be a writer young man or young woman? Then start writing.

Too often people start by designing then building elaborate online castles, that turn out to be reinventions of castles other people built, and then on opening day, have no idea what to do next. Why don't the people use it? Ahah, that's the real problem. By spending a lot of time thinking and planning and coding, you're just putting off the reckoning. You need to deal with that first. What do you have to say? Having an empty blog will raise that question, at the beginning, before you have a chance to bark up wrong trees.

A picture named hat.jpgI also said there's no curriculum and I meant it. It isn't some airy-fairy idea, I have hair on my chest, and a loud voice. Just kidding (well, I actually do). Why is there no curriculum? Because no one knows WTF we're doing, so how could we have a curriculum. It's like asking Lewis and Clark to have a curriculum for the Denver Nuggets. What are the Denver Nuggets, they might ask. I'm sure they passed through Denver on their exploration of the west, but there was no city there, and certainly no basketball team. See my point? You and your students are exploring the unknown.

On the other hand, there are some things that are known, the basics of journalism, how to do research, question the interests of your sources, disclosing your own interests, etc. That doesn't go away, but that's all in your Journalism 101 text. And there are writing skills and editing skills, all of that comes into play when writing, whether you're writing for print or bits.

And one other thing they don't usually teach in J-school (as far as I know) -- The Scientific Method. Please, let's be very very circumspect in stating our hypotheses, knowing what we know and don't know, and be careful not to have anyone say things they don't mean.

Philip Meyer: Journalism and the Scientific Tradition.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, May 08, 2007. Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Background images Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named star.jpgI've been playing around, inbetween heatwaves and bad movies, with the browser-based interface for FlickrRivr. Was looking for a cool background image, then I realized I had a whole folder of them, so I added a button that allows you to change the background image to a random choice from the folder.

To get the new features, OPML Editor users, bring flickrRivr.root to the front, and choose Update Front Tool from the Tools menu.

Truerumors Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mike Arrington has the scoop on an interesting concept for a rumors site that borrows features from Digg and Twitter.

It seems to me that a combination of Digg and Twitter has a lot of potential, as I said on Twitter on May 3. ;->

What's normal changes Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named apartmentbuilding.jpgWhen I was a kid growing up in NYC in the 60s, every apartment building had an incinerator in the basement, every floor had a garbage chute, and periodically they'd burn the garbage. Out of a chimney on the roof would come a vile combination of soot, flying pieces of debris, burnt garbage. They'd often burn the garbage in the morning while we were on our way to school. On our wet hair, faces and clothes made smart and sparkly by our moms, would come down this vile mixture. We'd cough, eyes would tear, what a way to start a day -- what a way to start a life!

Forty years later, in the springtime the weather in the Berkeley hills is gorgeous. Every day there's a new wonderful and natural smell rising from the gardens. The air is clear, and if it gets hot, it's just a matter of a couple of days before "nature's air conditioning" kicks in. The air is good to breathe, feels good on the skin, if you take a shower you stay clean. No one burns garbage.

Oh but the noise! At 8:15AM I'm awoken by the sounds of a construction site which is down the street but sounds like it's right next door it's so loud and jarring. It will be like that all day, my guess is it will last through the summer. We live in paradise, but it's never quiet enough to enjoy it. Leaf blowers fill in the gaps between construction crews. Jack-hammers, saws, idling trucks, cement mixers. Every street in the neighborhood is like this.

Maybe in twenty years they will invent a quiet way of tearing down and rebuilding. I wish they would do it now.

Amyloo: "I have a memory of burning trash, too."

Postscript: Calvin in SLC had a similar experience this AM.

Postscript: The apartment house I'm writing about.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, May 07, 2007. Monday, May 07, 2007

Audio for last week's Mix session Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mike Lehman at Microsoft produced an audio podcast of last week's Let's Design a Podcast Player session at Mix 07.

A hypothetical case Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Imagine you're getting an operation.

You're on the operating table, half-conscious, some part of your body open, spewing blood all over the place.

You're semi-sedated, on some really nice opiate, feeling like you wouldn't mind doing this again. (I've actually been there, it's a very very strange place!)

Your mind is humming along, when the surgeon says: "I'm almost finished, I'd be happy to sew you up, but you have to pay me $150,000 first."


I guess you'd have to pay.

But you'd kind of hope that the other doctors in the room would do something about it.

If you were to ask me what it feels like to have your lawyer sue you, the guy who's supposed to protect you from legal nastyness, I'd have to say this is what it feels like.

Welcome to the country that couldn't shoot straight Permanent link to this item in the archive.

CNN: "Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius expressed concern Monday that rescue and recovery efforts after tornado-packed storms were being strained because much-needed equipment is in Iraq."

My dad is a blogger too Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Leon Winer: "The Press, or the Main Stream Media have failed us by not examining critically Bush's moves to start and continue the Iraq war."

I love writing reports like this one.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named gumby.jpgTwo problems reported on Scripting News recently, both solved.

1. Yesterday I posted here about expanding a LAN. I had a missing, important piece of knowledge about routers and switches. Now that the gap is filled, I can see my IP-based printer from all stations on my local network. I also bought a nice new switch, which should arrive from Amazon on Wednesday, so I can add 15 more devices to my LAN, all visible to each other.

2. A few weeks back I noted that Firefox wouldn't display local images under certain circumstances, only to discover that this is a security precaution, a wise one. This morning I thought of a workaround, don't know why I didn't think of it earlier. My app is a web server in addition to all the other things it is. So I wrote a custom responder that loads the specified image from disk and returns it. Voila. Outage circumvented, neatly.

What would I teach a journalist? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Kevin Reynen, an instructor in the J-school at the University of Nevada-Reno, writes to ask what I would teach a journalism student about the new technologies. How would I design a curriculum for students wishing to learn journalism in the age of Web 2.0, if I could work with him/her every day for 10 months?

Well, that's a juicy question. Something I've thought about in the back of my mind for quite some time, and it turns out that I actually have some ideas.

First, I'd forget about Drupal, and customized sites, and HTML, CSS and PHP.

Let each student create their own site at blogspot.com or wordpress.com, where ever they like. If they want to create five sites, let them create five sites.

What a privilege to be able to work with the students every day for 10 months. Don't they get vacations or weekends off? I assume so. But five days a week, man, you could really get something done.

The students must start covering their world online, openly. Tthe class meeting would be like the Berkman Thursday meetups we had at Harvard (they're still having them, btw). But, and this is important, they'd evolve and how they evolve is something you will figure out, with the advice of the students, as you go along. It's hard to say at the outset what it would become, but if I had to guess, you're going to create the equivalent of a newsroom, for your community.

Which brings me to another key point. You must bring Reno into your school. Open the doors. Go on the local TV and radio stations and explain what you hope to do, and tell them where and when they need to be. You will attract some amazing people from the community. I could go down the list of the people from the Boston area who showed up at Berkman, but the list is too long. Lisa Williams is now an editor at the Boston Globe. Andrew Grumet, who was a developer at MIT is now the CTO at a SF Bay Area startup. So many others.

Bring Reno into the school.

And don't think in terms of curriculum.

It'll be like an unconference -- no panels, no speakers, no audience.

No students, no teachers, no classroom.

Just news about the community, and make it inclusive, and everything that needs to happen will happen, imho.

Something strange Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I was struck by this Todd Bishop post at the Seattle P-I.

At first I couldn't quite place what seemed so weird about it.

And then it hit me.

A professional reporter saying another professional is doing something un-professional.

Usually that's the kind of thing a blogger, an amateur, says.

I like it! ;->

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, May 06, 2007. Sunday, May 06, 2007

Twitter for coding communities Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named houseOfCards.gifA few days ago I wrote that Twitter is a very nice low-tech notification system. I had an application in mind, and put a first step on my to-do list.

I started a new channel called dwcodeupdates. The content in this channel will be of interest to at most 10 people, geekish users of the OPML Editor, but the concept should be interesting to members of coding communities.

I added a hook in my code check-in system. It already had a provision for me to add a comment to each partial release, derived from the outline at the head of every script that maintains a reverse chronology of the changes to the part. In a sense every bit of code is a weblog. I've been doing it this way since the early 90s. Here's a screen shot of a bit of code I started yesterday. And one that was started in 1998.

As I release a change, the system posts a note to the Twitter channel. You can subscribe to if, if you care. Like everything with Twitter, no big deal if you miss something, but it does give you an idea of what I'm doing right now, in a different dimension.

As usual, what's important are the people.

Dumbass networking question Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Okay, here's a dumb question about routers.

A picture named gumby.jpgI have four computers plugged into a router via hard wires, and two computers via wifi. All six computers can see each others' shared disks, and life is good.

I just bought a printer that works over Ethernet. I want to make it visible to all the computers. All the jacks on the router are used up, so I buy another router, unplug one of the computers, plug it and the printer into the new router. However, the only computer that can see the printer is the one that's plugged into the new router. None of the other computers can see the printer. Arrgh!

Do I need to find a router with more jacks on it, or is there some way to configure things so that all devices plugged into one router can see all the devices plugged into another?

All the computers are Macs, btw. The original router is a Netgear. I have lots of choices for the new router, the one I'd like to use is a new Airport Extreme that supports 802.11N.

Thanks in advance for ideas.

Postscript: The community delivered the answer in record time. Thanks!!

To the Gates of Hell with McCain Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named fistfulsmall.jpgAmyloo quotes Newt Gingrich as not liking the way debates have been moderated. I sympathize.

In this week's Republican debate, there was a moment when, if John McCain had his wits about him, he would have punched Chris Matthews in the nose.

McCain had just finished a monologue saying he would follow Osama Bin Laden to "the gates of Hell." Brief pause, he smiles nervously, and Matthews says "OK," but the tone was unmistakeable -- "what ever."

It went from reality to parody in a blink of an eye.

Of course McCain delivered the line awfully, he was almost a parody of himself.

The gates of Hell is not the kind of thing you smile about. ;->

The line would only really work if he could have pulled off a Clint Eastwood deadpan, in the style of Dirty Harry or Fistful of Dollars.

Today's links Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Nik Cubrilovic is running Vista, exclusively, on his MacBook. Now that's a first. Never heard of anyone doing that.

An unforseen application of Twitter. ;->

Markman twitters from Shanghai.

Philosophy from 1998 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

9 years ago today: "I can imagine it would be irritating if you didn't like the dog, but I really do like the dog, especially the way his eyebrows move, so I always watch the commercials when they come on."

Today's performance results Permanent link to this item in the archive.

After reconfiguring the network, a two-second job. Voila! It's much faster. ;->

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, May 05, 2007. Saturday, May 05, 2007

Today's links Permanent link to this item in the archive.

24 hours of Flickr.

Todd Cochrane on good and bad re-syndication practices. This is bound to be controversial, even so it's good to ground this perennial discussion with specifics.

I don't believe in 'gotcha' Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named berkeleyPath.jpgI don't believe in the mythological "gotcha" moment reporters like to dream about, for a couple of reasons.

1. I've never seen it happen, in years of being interviewed, and knowing people who are often interviewed. I've never seen a reporter ask a question and get an answer that revealed something unusual that was actually understood by the reporter, and made its way into print in a form a reader could use.

2. I've seen really interesting juicy stories out there, ready to be reported, on the record, attributable, with dozens of supposedly ambitious and relentless fact-diggers swarming all around, and instead of going for the gusto, they cling to the safe tried-and-true nauseatingly boring and insignificant overtold bedtime stories.

In other words, if you fancy yourself a Woodward or Bernstein, stop boasting and go out and do some work and take some risks. Until then I don't see why you need to talk to someone for 25 minutes for a 12-second soundbite. I don't see who that serves. I don't think very much listening is happening in that process. I think if the subject spent the 25 minutes blogging instead, the world would be a much better place for it.

So here's a question for the reporters who may be listening. Did you learn anything in the discussion about interviews, or did we just talk over each others' heads?

What's wrong with this picture? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The NY Times announced their new public editor, the person who, more than any other person on the Times staff, represents the interests of the readers of the Times.

I'm sure he's a fine person, great reporter, watchdog of politicians. But -- what the Times needs more than anything is a reader to represent the readers. Someone to tell them, without a lifetime of training in the politics of newsrooms, what they're doing wrong.

More likely, they're getting someone who will tell them and us why the public is wrong.

As with everything else on this blog -- imho.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, May 04, 2007. Friday, May 04, 2007

Today's links Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Twitter's new mobile interface, look no SMS! ;->

NY Times review of ultraportable notebooks.

Zune, still no love Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I put in another two hours with the Zune today, finally got it to say it was synchronizing, but it kept going and going, no indication of progress on the computer or the Zune itself. Finally after about an hour I unplugged it, no changes, none of my songs or podcasts are there.

Microhoo? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Lots of stories this morning on Techmeme saying that a Microsoft and Yahoo merger is coming soon.

What would this get Microsoft? An exit for Yahoo's founders?

Scott Rosenberg: "Seven years from now Yahoo will be as much of a shell as AOL is today."


WSJ: "The merger discussions are no longer active."

Brier Dudley: "The New York Post owes everyone a good follow-up story."

Everyone goes global Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Om Malik: "Now that Web 2.0 is growing up, scale no longer matters. Even tiny businesses can go global."

'A reviewer at every table' Permanent link to this item in the archive.

There's a yin to Om's yang -- not only do companies go global easily, their customers do too.

Now we all have much better information, when we need it, to make a decision about who to do business with.

Marketwatch: "Eateries see reviewers at every table."

Businesses that really think of the customer will be rewarded, and those that fake it, will fail to compete.

If you don't want your customers to find out that you mistreat customers, then don't mistreat customers.

Don't expect them to suffer sliently. That worked in the last century, it doesn't work in this one.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, May 03, 2007. Thursday, May 03, 2007

Essential television, part II Permanent link to this item in the archive.

4/25/07: Bill Moyers, Buying the War.

4/27/07: Bill Moyers, Jon Stewart, Josh Marshall.

His blog, RSS feed. Subscribed.

Previous installment: America at a Crossroads.

Don't forget to give generously to PBS.

Why the users of Digg got pissed Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I hate to say it but Ed Felten doesn't explain why the users of Digg got so upset.

He thinks it's a technical issue. It's just a number, and who can claim ownership of a number?

A picture named lovelyBottleOfKetchupTilted.gifWhat if it were Ed Felten's social security number, plus the number of his VISA card, driver's license, mother's maiden name, a couple of pieces of data, enough to unlock a bank account of Ed's that has say $50,000 in it. Suppose the publication of those numbers was done by the same guy who published the code that cracks HD movies on Linux? Would he be less justified in publishing those numbers? Hard to imagine Felten going along with that.

I think I understand why the Digg users got so upset. They weren't consulted. They weren't included in the decision. Their opinion, the core value that Digg "owns" if they own anything, wasn't sought. That was the source of the anger.

If instead of deleting stories and users, silently, they had written an open letter to their users explaining what was happening, and why the lawyers felt they needed to respond quickly; I think that would have worked much better.

The people who man Digg want what everyone wants, respect. To be listened to. To be considered. Solicited. I think that's where the disconnect was.

Today's links Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Don Park: "There is no value in a community of hooligans."

ZuneThoughts is a blog about the Zune.

Wired: PC World Editor Quits Over Apple Story.

HBO has a podcast feed for the series Rome.

LA Times: The Internet sure loves its outlaws.

Nice work Yahoo Maps Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Yahoo: MacArthur Maze Detour Update.

Sometimes it takes a five days to generate exactly the one piece of information that 5 million people need.

Audio of Monday's session Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Here's a 39MB WMV from the A/V people at Mix.

Apparently they had the camera focused on the slides (we didn't have any), so it's really just audio. ;->

Mike Lehman from Microsoft says he'll turn it into an audio podcast, so if you want to save some bandwidth you might want to wait.

On the other hand, the audio ought to be enough to communicate what happened.

Jeff Sandquist, via email: "We just ship up the audio + slides during the event to conserve bandwidth within the venue. High quality videos are being prepared and will be up within the next few weeks."

Live-blogging the Republican debate Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Remember this name: Ron Paul. Renegade Republican candidate for President.

I'm much less familiar with the Republicans. The only one I like listening to is Ron Paul.

McCain is trying to sound like a president. Mitt Romney plays a dad on TV (he's on TV). If Giuliani doesn't win he could take over the Hanibal Lecter character.

BTW, think of Twitter as "Live-blogging for the rest of us."

McCain: "I'll follow him to the gates of Hell." (Of Osama bin Laden.)

They mention Schwarzenegger, and I realize none of these guys could even remotely win against Arnold. Of course they don't want to change the Constitution, he'd kick their ass.

Giuliani got Roe v Wade more right than the rest of them.

Controversial RSS study Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named mug.gifICMPA study on RSS, reaches incorrect conclusions, imho, about the quality of news you get from the feeds of the NY Times, al Jazeera and the Guardian, among others. I like getting short summaries of the news from feeds (e.g. NY Times River), and if I want more information, I can click through to the full stories. I know others disagree, but this is a matter of taste that they present as a matter of fact.

Zune, Day 2 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I have a lunch in SF today, which means a BART ride, so I thought I'd take the Zune with me instead of the iPod, to listen to some podcasts and some music, but I can't figure out how to add a folder to the list of folders it synchs up with, or how to even get it to recognize the device (which is attached via a USB port). It might be a Parallels issue. So many pieces of software to get working with each other.

Later... Turning Autoconnect on for USB in Parallels did the trick, although it caused XP to crash but reboots are really fast in this environment. It's synchronizing now. What is it copying onto the device? I have no clue. :-(

Later... Nothing got synched. Oy. This trip I take the iPod.

A picture named zune.gifBefore I leave -- When we were developing Radio 8 in 2001, we set a goal that 80 percent of the people who tried it had to get to first post in five minutes. We iterated until we got there.

So far I've put at least three hours into the Zune, and I haven't managed to get one of my songs or podcasts to play on the device. Granted, a lot of the difficulty has been using the device inside Parallels on a foreign operating system. But, a fair amount of the difficulty has been in getting meaningful feedback from the software. The controls are impossible to find, the settings a first-time user is going to look for aren't there (of course they must be there, but I poked at all the obvious controls and didn't find them). The online help is pretty useless.

It seems the designers of this product could benefit from having a similar goal. Measure the performance of the device in terms of the success of a first-time user. True, in 2002, I had similar problems with the iPod. But it's not 2002 anymore.

Alsop's rebuttal Permanent link to this item in the archive.

What do you do when two people remember an event differently?

Yesterday, I got an email from Stewart Alsop, saying that I got the facts wrong in in my recount of his Agenda conference. Of course it is possible that I got it wrong because my memory is imperfect, and I do make mistakes.

But I have a very distinct memory, sitting in the audience of his conference, having paid a lot of money, and believing that the table had been unfairly tilted in favor of Stewart's interests.

He says it's not possible. So I ran his objection at the end of my story. And I wanted to give it even more prominence, here this morning. However, I want to make it clear that I am not retracting, my piece is very clearly labeled as my recollection, and I've disclaimed that my memory is imperfect, so I think everyone has all the caveats they need to decide for themselves.

Here's his rebuttal.

Stewart Alsop via email: "I became a VC in June 1996. At Agenda 97 that fall, I shared the program 50/50 with Bob Metcalfe. I made my first investment at NEA right after that conference in December 1996. I did not participate in running Agenda 98, by which time I had three portfolio companies. But, even if I did AND if I had all three CEOs participate (which none of them actually did), it's hard to imagine that 3/26 of the program would be a 'fair number of the presenters.'"

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, May 02, 2007. Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Berkeley quake Permanent link to this item in the archive.

We just had a small earthquake here.

Amazing how quickly the USGS site has info.

It was only a 3.0, but it was really close. (And quite close to the MacArthur Maze, site of the truck crash on Sunday.)

Tech conferences and integrity Permanent link to this item in the archive.

When Mike Arrington launched TechCrunch 20, I said that integrity had come to conferences in Silicon Valley. I meant it then, and I still mean it today.

A picture named krupsCanOpener.gifThe brief look we had yesterday at the invite list for the conference in Hawaii run by David Hornik of August Capital provided a reminder that there's often a story behind how the speakers at conferences are chosen (or invitees to invite-only events), a story that often is not shared with the people who pay to go to the conference, and the rest of the world, even though sometimes the conflicts are very clear.

The first time I remember being sure of such a conflict was at an Agenda conference after Stewart Alsop became a venture capitalist. I noticed that a fair number of the presenters were from his portfolio companies. He may have even joked about how he was using his power to tilt the table in favor of his investments. I also remember hearing a lot of grumbling in the hallways (some of it from me) that we were paying to see ads.

Hornik's investments are well-represented among the people invited to his conference. Are his competitors represented as well? We can't analyze that now, because the site has been closed.

Who loses when tech conferences lack integrity? I'd argue that the Valley loses. It's this kind of inbreeding that kept them from seeing what they call "user generated content" until 2004 or 2005, when it had been growing along with the web since its inception in the early 90s. An industry that prides itself on always being at the forefront had fallen far behind the leading edge. And even today, they don't understand it -- they call it "new media" -- and invite people who make them feel safe, they don't want to hear from people who challenge their assumptions. That's not a good way to design a conference, people come home feeling bored with the same-old same-old, when there are new experiences to be had, new ideas to be shared.

Long-term this is their loss, although it slows down the flow of capital to new ideas when they most need support. They are happy to come in when it has been proven that there's money to be made, but the technologies come out much less powerfully than they would if the investors of the Valley really risked alongside the innovators. But they find us too brash, or outspoken, that's how we sound to them -- and to their friends in the established media and "new media" but until they embrace the randomness of the web, they'll continue to be surprised, continue to play catch-up, and continue to miss the really big opportunities.

Stewart Alsop via email: "I became a VC in June 1996. At Agenda 97 that fall, I shared the program 50/50 with Bob Metcalfe. I made my first investment at NEA right after that conference in December 1996. I did not participate in running Agenda 98, by which time I had three portfolio companies. But, even if I did AND if I had all three CEOs participate (which none of them actually did), it's hard to imagine that 3/26 of the program would be a 'fair number of the presenters.'"

PS: Valleywag has a copy of the invite list.

PPS: I've backed it up here.

Today's links Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Micah Sifry: The Battle to Control Obama's Myspace.

Om Malik: Hey Microsoft, forget MIX, focus on Mobiles.

Learning about Parallels Permanent link to this item in the archive.

For some unknown reason I needed to reboot my Mac by powering it off a number of times while I was in Las Vegas. Each time the Parallels desktop would be forced off without saving its state, and now it won't launch Windows XP.

So I'm reinstalling the operating system, and all the apps, again (third time).

I'm getting good at this! ;->

PS: I'm doing this so I can install the software for the Zune that Microsoft gave to all the speakers at Mix 07.

Zune setup Permanent link to this item in the archive.

It's been said before, elsewhere -- but this is ridiculous. They're asking for my life history. I just want to put some podcasts on the device and talk a walk and try it out. For example, they want my phone number and birth date, both are required fields. Geeeeez. I lied, like everyone else.

Later, I've completed the installation, now, how do I get a few songs and podcasts onto the device?

It shows up on the desktop, but when I click the icon, it launches the marketplace user interface, which lets me buy music from their store. But of course I already have music. Seems they should make it a bit more obvious how to copy my tunes onto the device.

Later, I might be getting somewhere.

Fumbling around, I believe it's possible to synch up a podcast downloaded from the web with my Zune device, but everything I try results in it playing the MP3 on my desktop instead of copying it to my Zune.

I wish there was a way to use the Windows desktop file copying commands to move content onto the Zune. I already know how to use it, and I've never liked synching.

In this blurry picture of a Zune, look at the top of the screen, you'll see a list of menu options. I can't figure out how to get the cursor to go up there. Any ideas.

Michael Gartenberg on the Zune UI (and a comment on Parallels).

Kevin Tofel explains how synching works on the Zune.

Thanks! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

52 years ago on this day I was born.

My mailbox overflows with birthday wishes.

It's going to be a great day.

Thanks everybody!

PS: Megnut-the-blog is 8 today.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, May 01, 2007. Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Were you invited? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Another exclusive, invite-only tech conference, $3000.

Here's the list of invitees, username "enter" password "thelobby".

Can't believe they didn't invite Scoble. What's up with that?

However, the format seems really interesting. "No panels, no keynotes," which is 2/3 of the disclaimers for BloggerCon (we also featured no audience).

It's a good idea. I'd throw in a few of the Hypercamp ideas as well, but (of course) I wasn't invited (nor would I go to such an exclusive event).

Frankly, I doubt if they needed to make it invite-only with the steep price and long distance (Big Island of Hawaii). The exclusiveness and publishing the invite list is more of a marketing thing, and more than a little unfair to use people's names without their permission, if in fact they didn't have their permission.

Of course you have to look to see if you were invited. Or to see who's cool enough to be invited. Any surprise omissions? Post a comment.

I'm off to Gordon Biersch for dinner with a bunch of nerds who invited themselves. Heh.

Jay Rosen on Frontline's News War Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jay Rosen: "The way the film was edited to bring out one story: heroic press fighting against ownership and its budget cuts, a government that would like to silence it, and untrained bloggers and amateurs buzzing around, stinging like knats. This is the story Lowell wanted to tell. He's been a part of it in his career and feels very passionate about it. He's newsroom Joe himself, and he's got newsroom Joe's mindset. You let that perspective carry the day. You're entitled to make that decision, which is an editorial decision, and I'm entitled to be angry about it. Because it's inadequate. You had the materials to challenge it more, you just didn't want to."

Today's links Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jeremie Miller, the designer of Jabber, is joining Wikia.

Today's song: Oh Nine Eff Nine.

Travel day Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Heading back to Berkeley this morning, going through Oakland, and I'll avoid the Maze by taking city streets through Oakland and Berkeley.

Tonight there's a dinner at Gordon Biersch in SF for British blogger Hugh MacLeod. I'll be there if BART travel isn't prohibitive.


Dave Winer, 52, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

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May 2007
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Things to revisit:

1.Microsoft patent acid test.
2.What is a weblog?
3.Advertising R.I.P.
4.How to embrace & extend.
5.Bubble Burst 2.0.
6.This I Believe.
7.Most RSS readers are wrong.
8.Who is Phil Jones?
9.Send them away.
10.Negotiate with users.
11.Preserving ideas.
12.Empire of the Air.
13.NPR speech.
14.Russo & Hale.
15.Trouble at the Chronicle.
15.RSS 2.0.
16.Checkbox News.
17.Spreadsheet calls over the Internet.
18.Twitter as coral reef.
19.Mobs of the blogosphere.
20.Advice for Campaigns.

Teller: "To discover is not merely to encounter, but to comprehend and reveal, to apprehend something new and true and deliver it to the world."

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