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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution. launches Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named nytthumb.gifFirst impression: Looks like, a descendant of of the late 90s. The page is divided into modules, each module corresponds to a RSS feed. Within the module the items are presented in the same order as in the feed.

Login here:

Screen shot of the home page, uncustomized.

A press release ran at 9:30AM Pacific.

According to this blog post it was open to the public on Tuesday at 9:38PM.

I added Scripting News, but it doesn't seem to show up.

Of course I'm still looking for a reverse-chronologic list of all new stories as they are published (as they appear in a Times RSS feed).

Is there a mobile version of

What Scripting News looks like in the Times environment.

Their answer to What is RSS? gets the Dave Winer Political Correctness Seal of Approval. Good job. I'm sure they handle all kinds of feeds perfectly well, no need to bother the poor user with technical arcania.

Obvious opportunity to kiss up to influential bloggers missed. Only Battelle's site is in the list of defaults. Markoff likes Joi Ito. Engadget gets a link, TechCrunch does not. Of course Scripting News is linked in nowhere, but I didn't expect it would be. (Also, they clearly didn't seed any bloggers with the beta since it's been open to the public for about 44 hours at this writing and there's almost no coverage in the tech blog-o-s'fear. You'd think the Times could do better PR.)

So with the disclaimers out of the way, you may take the following with a grain of salt...

Initial impression: No big deal. They haven't improved RSS news reading in any obvious way. Looking for the reason to use this service, coming up empty. A couple of generations behind Google Reader.

A picture named river.jpgSalon tried building their own CMS, and learned the hard way that they should have bought one from a software vendor. Would have saved a lot of money and gotten a better CMS. The NY TImes is learning the same lesson with news readers. They clearly spent a lot of money developing, but in the end would have done better making a deal with Yahoo, Google, Netvibes, Pageflakes or any of a dozen wannabes who are working on customizable module-oriented viewing of news. If the Times wanted to blaze a new path, they should have done something new that used their unique understanding of news, something the software industry wouldn't think of or even understand. Such a fresh view is possible, but the Times lacked the courage, ambition, or maybe just the smarts, to try to blaze a new trail. Too bad!

Other reviews: Blodget, Mashable, MacManus.

Don's Amazing Puzzle Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Please read this sentence.





Count the F's.

How many did you find?

Click here to see the answer.

Thanks to Don Brown for forwarding this. It's a great puzzle!

Raines' oldfangled new phone Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Click the pic for an explanation.

A picture named phone.jpg

Gears of the blogger's fear Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Yesterday I caught up on cable news -- hadn't been paying much attention. I was peripherally aware that there had been a mine disaster in Utah, followed by a cave-in while rescuers were searching for survivors. Some of them were lost too.

The owner of the mine, a fat not very pretty older man, had become a media star, and had said something in the last news cycle that the press had latched onto, and now talking heads were saying nasty shit about him, the kind of stuff they never say about politicians or TV anchors, the stuff they reserve for the powerless, death row inmates, Don Imus.

A picture named byeByeSaysDubya.gifWhat he did wasn't so clear. They said (in an amazed tone) "and now he's denying he ever said it." They showed tape of him denying it, but the tape didn't include what he was denying having said. In other words, here's a fat, ugly, old man, being defensive. He's a bad person. I found myself thinking, nahh, he's probably just an average person, caught in the gears on a slow news day (the other big news was President Bush finally admitting that Iraq is a lot like Vietnam, something he and other neocons would have screamed at if you said it before yesterday).

The thing is, why we need to be paying attention to this in the blogosphere, is that we're doing the same thing, all the time. We have all the trappings, the cameras, the mikes, the beautiful interviewers. And we make big deals out of little ones, and let crooks off the hook. We haven't started any real wars yet, but give us time, we're just getting warmed up. And maybe if we are somewhat aware of this, we can try to offset it with a little bit of humanity. Maybe someone can speak up for the poor schnook who gets caught in the gears of the blogger's fear.

(Sorry for the pun.)

Solution to Don's Amazing Puzzle Permanent link to this item in the archive.

There are six F's in the sentence.

There is no catch.

I found three. I went back and counted and recounted, and I was sure there were just three. So I wrote a script to see what was going on. It said there are six! Mystifying.

Here's a screen shot of the script.

I first ran it in DaveNet in 1997. It's usually fun. Only two people I knew back then got it right without any coaching. My uncle and Scott Rosenberg. Scott said his trick was to read the sentence backwards, something he learned as an editor at Salon. My uncle was an engineer at heart and loved puzzles. He just did what the puzzle told him to do, literally. Most people, myself included, don't. That's why it's an amazing puzzle. It teaches us about our ability to see what's right before our eyes. Don't feel bad if you got it wrong, you have a lot of company.


Last update: Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 4:33 PM Pacific.

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.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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Scripting News

On This Day In: 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997.

August 2007
Jul   Sep

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.
21.Social Cameras.
22.The Next Big Thing.
23.It's time to open up networking, again.
24.Am I competing?

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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