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

Permanent link to archive for Monday, March 31, 2008. Monday, March 31, 2008

Our standard April Fool party Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Watch out for the lunacy tomorrow as April Fools is celebrated on blogs and other websites far and wide. I imagine it's already started since it must be April 1 in New Zealand or Australia by now.

Here on Scripting News we celebrate something else... Our birthday! You see it was on April 1, 1997 that a blog-like website first appeared at Last year it was our 10th birthday, which implies that tomorrow is the 11th.

To celebrate, I've cobbled together a humble page that calculates the age of Scripting News with 10 digits of precision.

So at midnight tonight, it should flip over. If you like such things you may stay up to see it flip.

Hey it's a geeky site. What else would you suggest? ;->

So enjoy the other sites, and keep coming back through the years, Murphy-willing of course, as we all grow old together.

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I love Battlestar Galactica Permanent link to this item in the archive.

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Working my way through Season 3, in prep for Season 4, which starts this week.

Mixing tech industry politics with U.S. politics Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Something I didn't know, but now that I do, it makes sense.

A picture named accordion.gifOne of the reasons I'm not so popular in the tech industry is that I'm an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama, and I look forward to the day, coming soon, when the Republicans leave the White House and we can get on with fixing the problems they created, and then getting on track solving some long-term problems that we've been ignoring.

Now of course, I understand that there are Clinton supporters in the tech industry, and there are even Republicans who like Bush, and to them my enthusiastic support sometimes goes a little too far. I understand, totally. If for example, I were following a Bush supporter, like Tony Perkins, on Twitter, I would have unfollowed him long ago. I don't need that level of annoyance. He and I are never going to agree on politics, not even how to discuss politics, so I would just tune him out. Knowing Tony, I don't think he'd hold it against me, as I wouldn't hold it against any Republican tech person who unfollowed me.

What I can't support are personal attacks and name-calling just because we disagree. General attacks are okay with me. In other words if you think all Obama supporters are idiots, go ahead and say it (I'll probably unfollow, but BFD). But if you say I'm a jerk just because I support someone you don't, then I have a problem with that (esp if you don't make it clear that's why you're saying it). You're getting confused between personal issues and political ones, and I think you're going to even lose the support of people who agree with you politically, and imho you should.

A picture named elephant.gifAfter all is said and done, when we elect the next President, we're still going to be Americans (with apologies to readers who aren't). That's been the problem in the last few elections, we forgot, after the election was over, to find the common ground that we agree on. And as a result the Constitution is in trouble, and our economy is a mess (even Bush agrees), and our reputation overseas isn't good and it's getting worse. I think this is because we forgot to bind our wounds after the election, and our elected leadership didn't lead.

So this is what I learned. I think some people hide their political differences behind personal attacks. This is what none of us should support. We should be able to have a discussion and keep our self-respect and dignity. That US politics gets masked as tech industry politics is very confusing and should not be tolerated.

BTW, as a constructive step toward fixing this problem, I think all tech industry bloggers should let us know their politics. If you're American, which of the Presidential candidates do you support. I wouldn't have thought this was necessary just 48 hours ago, but now I'm sure it is.

Where did you have your great idea? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Wired has a fascinating photo-essay with narratives from famous innovators explaining where they were when they had their biggest idea.

For example, Reed Hastings got the idea for Netflix in a movie rental place in La Honda, CA (a fairly remote place between Palo Alto and the Pacific Ocean).

Now that we have digital cameras and know people from far away through our blogs, Twitter and Flickr, it seems we could tell stories like this about the places we live and more mundane but still important events in our lives. They could become quick collaborative documents like the Wired photo-essay.


1. A photo-essay of opening days at all major league ballparks in the US.

2. Church services in every major city on a given weekend (different religions have services on Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

3. Following a candidate for the Senate or House as they campaign for one day. (The major news outlets don't cover local races very well anymore.)

A picture named netflix.gifProjects like this are important warmups and proofs-of-concept for amateur newsgathering, and perhaps new politics. It's not just for Democrats or Republicans, maybe this is how we bootstrap new parties, or maybe it's just for fun. Who knows. Learning doesn't have to stop when you leave school. I like stories, esp short ones, along with pictures of places and people that are different or strangely familiar. This is part of what I meant in yesterday's post. Let's reset the dial back to the beginning, start small, and stay small. Now we have some new tools that we didn't have last time amateur public writing started up (or whatever it's called).

There is no A-list, just people with ideas.

The difference is people doing it for fun, versus people doing it to either get rich or earn a living. Yes, there really is a difference in approach.

PS: In case this turns out to be a great idea, I had it in my kitchen. ;->

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 30, 2008. Sunday, March 30, 2008

Why would Google Web Services cost $0? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Google Web Services, or GWS, is the hypothetical competitor to Amazon Web Services that I wrote about yesterday.

The first question that comes up is how can they afford to give it away? That came up in yesterday's comments and the answer is important enough to deserve its own blog post.

So here goes...

Google has always challenged conventional wisdom that way, as Netscape did before. Remember when they let people download the browser for free, how foreign that seemed.

Google's search engine cost nothing to use and had no ads for the first few years, and look at how well that turned out.

Flipped around, I don't see why Amazon charges me to use AWS. I think I produce as much value for them as I use just by writing about it, but they haven't been willing to bend (not that I've asked them to). If there was no cost to it, I'd use their services for new things that I'm not willing to try as long as I have to pay. I know that because there are projects I've not attempted because the cost was prohibitive.

Perhaps Google is thinking about acquisitions. How much would it be worth to buy companies without having to transition their technology to their platform? There would be no retraining either, all the programmers in the companies they acquire would know how to work in the environment. Further, can you imagine that they'd charge universities to teach comp sci using their cloud?

Given the cost of acquisitons, recruiting and training they can afford to blow a lot of money on free bandwidth, storage and CPU to make the buying and hiring process more efficient and increase the hit rate (the percentage of programmers who work out).

If they're smart they won't get involved in deciding which projects can use the service, as Apple has taken an interest in who can develop for the iPhone. How can a bureaucracy decide what projects will have merit in the market? Better to let a thousand flowers bloom knowing that the best ones will be available to you first because their software is perfectly compatible with yours.

My guess is that's why Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo, which is built entirely on open source system software. Microsoft will be in much better position to acquire companies after Yahoo than before.

Of course Google is doing this, how could they not be. What's hard to believe is how much of a running start Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google have been willing to let Amazon have.

Proof that the end is near Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Over on Twitter I am unceremoniously blocking all tech industry superdelegates.

Let me explain.

Imagine if the tech industry was the Democratic Party, then the insider's insiders would be the superdelegates. The people who talk about people talking about people talking about people talking about tech.

Somewhere at the end of the chain there are products and users, forgotten in all the drama.

I'm sick of it.

I pulled out of the tech industry and started blogging in 1994 or 1997 depending on what you count as the start so I could get away from the crap. Now Mike Arrington is talking about turning TechCrunch into CNET. That's a sure sell signal. Get me the fuck outta here. Beam me up Scotty. This isn't Kansas anymore Auntie Em.

I announced this on Twitter, and people asked me to explain.

I struggled, then I bounced over to TechMeme and found the perfect explanation. Click on the image below for the punchline.

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I'll tell you the answer. Most people wouldn't recognize an original thought if it bit them in the ass.

What we used to call blogging is now just bullshit about recycled bullshit about recycled bullshit and on and on. Who bit who in the ass, never mind anything new or hard to comprehend, cause that's not what we do. We aggregate eyeballs and clickthroughs and CPMs and god knows what else.

Back in the old days before any of you were blogging, we (the olde skool bloggers) used to write about them watching us watching them watch us watch them.

It's happening again...

Nothing wrong with it, it's human nature.

But it's time to decentralize again.

Head for the hills.

If I could only remember where they are! ;->

PS: Google is doing something itneresting. So much for finding all the juicy bits on TechMeme! ;->

PPS: Tech industry people dis Marc Canter, they're idiots. Marc always knows what's going on long before they do. It sounds strange when he says it cause new stuff is strange.

PPPS: Further proof that the end is near. This idiotic meta-meta-post made it on TechMeme. Oh the humanity.

PPPPS: Thsi stupid piece is now the #2 item on TechMeme. Proof that the more stupid a post is, the higher it rises in what passes for the tech blogosphere. Update: It's now #1.

PPPPPS: This won't be complete until Mathew Ingram tags on his two cents. Update: It's now complete. Good night Chet. Good night Daivd. ;->

How the Democratic process will likely conclude Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Like everyone else (or so it seems) I have been following the Democratic nominating process, even though we're in hiatus now between the early March primaries and the Pennsylvania primary in mid-late April.

I'm an Obama supporter, so I like the way the conversation has turned back to "Why Doesn't Hillary Quit?" instead of the soul-sickening stuff we were talking about for the last couple of weeks. (Even though there was a lot of growth there.)

This morning Josh Marshall at Talking Point Memo circles around all the possibilities.

But it seems obvious to me this is how it will end:

1. On or before June 3, enough superdelegates declare for Obama and he wins enough delegates in the remaining 10 primaries to give him more than the 2025 delegates he needs to get the nomination. The key is that the superdelegates don't have to sit by and do nothing. Winning favor from Obama who is pretty likely the next President is going to be worth more than hedging against the chance that HRC prevails. The Clinton's currency is already heavily devalued, and it's likely to keep going down.

2. Then HRC is free to bring whatever fight she wants to the convention, it won't matter, because Obama will have the nomination, and will (correct me if I'm wrong) also control the Credentials process, so she'll have to do what he wants in the end wrt Michigan and Florida. (A more than fair resolution of Michigan and Florida, already offered, would be to split the delegates 50-50. This slightly favors HRC and dilutes BHO because he currently has a delegate lead, and that would go down after a 50-50 split. A minor point.)

3. Then all that's left in question is HRC's self-respect. If she wants to keep some of it, she'll bow out gracefully and tell her supporters to make it unanimous in Denver, or she won't and will probably retain her Senate seat as long as she wants but will always be a Democratic Party outsider. It probably won't bode well for her husband as an elder statesman, and there goes Chelsea's chance to run for President in 2024.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 29, 2008. Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pigs Permanent link to this item in the archive.

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A little pig came up to me while I was waiting at a stop light in Walnut Creek.

He squealed "Pssst down here." I looked down. The pig looked up at me and asked: "Can you keep a secret?"

I don't know, I said. It depends.

"Oh hell," said the pig. "I'll tell you anyway."

"You know how Amazon has all those great web services."

Yes, I said, I use them and they're great.

"Well how would you like to get all those services and more, and get to run software in Google's cloud, just like all the people at Google do?"

Yes, I would, I said, wondering how much this would cost.

"How much would it cost?" I asked.

"That's the best part," said the little pig. "For a guy like you, a blogger, with modest needs, it would be free."

I bent down and gave the pig a kiss on the cheek and said "You're a very nice little pig."

The light changed and I crossed the street. I noticed the pig was stopping the next person and asked if he could keep a secret.

A digital camera designed for bloggers? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I really like the way my iPhone works for publishing pictures.

I have it wired up so that I can send an email to Flickr. And then I have a script watching my Flickr feed that routes new pictures to Twitter where 6000-plus people follow my feed.

The only problem is that the iPhone is a shitty camera. It's great for pictures where quality isn't the most important thing, but timeliness and convenience are.

So what if I wanted to buy a new camera, in 2008, surely one must have the ability to send a picture to Flickr the way my iPhone does? Without thinking about it too much it seems like it must be possible, but then there aren't an camers that are also phones (there are of course other phones that are cameras). But I want the quality of a Nikon or Canon with the communication ability of an iPhone or Nokia.

I'm sure nothing like this exists, but I thought I should ask.

PS: I'd settle for really clean simple wifi access. I'm tired of the mess of tethering via USB. And I'm looking for a camera that costs no more than $250 on Amazon.

PPS: Instantly I'm overwhelmed with pointers to -- yes of course I've heard of them, and even been told by a friend who has one that it works great. My mind forgot about it until now. Of course now the flood will not abate. ;->

We Make Shitty Software, and other long tales Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named fujiFilmCamera.jpgWe're having a bit of rain this morning in the Bay Area. It's the best thing this time of year. All the plants, bushes and trees are in bloom, but they could all use (it seems to me) one more good soaking. One last rain before the final bloom, then we settle into a long period of beautiful sunny days that will last till late fall when it starts raining again.

In the news, violence is up in Iraq, and Bush is making speeches about it again. First thought that popped into my head -- I wonder who he's going to blame this time. It's never the people in Iraq or even the insurgents, certainly not the military, and absolutely not the DOD or god forbid, the President. It's almost always liberals, even though he doesn't use the word (possibly because it would seem so insane). It seems if we're not taxing and spending we're running away with our tails between our legs, on behalf of Bush and his team of super-heroes.

Is this really a question of guts and determination? How much determination does it take before you get the idea that it isn't working. Are the people who think this is a waste of two countries, ours and theirs, really weak people who won't rise to a challenge, cowards who want to cut and run. We've been hearing for a long time that nirvana is just around the corner, but it's a long road ahead. I heard a Republic spokesperson actually have the gall to say that again on Face The Nation last Sunday. A long road ahead. I think they misunderestimate our interest in long roads in Iraq. Like the last rain of last winter, one can only hope this kind of idiotic double-talk will soon be behind us.

A picture named littlebuddies.jpgOne more thought. The Republic is a guy named Lindsey Graham, Senator from South Carolina, one of two little guys often seen behind the little guy running for President, John McCain. The other is "Little Joe" Lieberman. I wondered what's inside Graham's head. He can't be stupid, I never believe people are stupid until there's no other explanation that fits the facts. So I wonder why he's so hell-bent on us staying in Iraq even though it's still a long road (though we're just about to turn the corner). What's his story? When they talk about it between themselves, the little guys -- Joe, John and Lindsey, I can't imagine they say the same bullshit they say on TV. What do they really think about this?

On to the next seemingly endless war...

As I've written here, a number of times, there was a pretty bad scene at Gnomedex last August, and foolishly, I got myself mixed up in it. I apologized for doing so, and I stick by that apology.

There were two versions of what happened, and I'm happy to say that Chris Pirillo, the organizer of the conference, finally spoke up and told his version of the story.

For the most part I agree with what Chris said. I think he should have spoken sooner, it would have saved me a lot of grief, for sure. Perhaps next time you hear another version of this story, you could tell the person telling the tale to give it up.

I've been told by lots of people that they like it when these blowups happen, they find it entertaining. I understand, but I don't like being part of these things. So much so that I don't go to many conferences. It's just not worth it.

The whole point of the blogosphere was that we flatten things out, that we're all just people. I'm a creative guy, in that I like to create things. I don't wake up every morning thinking who I can pick a fight with. I know other people do, and sometimes they try to engage me in those fights.

On the other hand, I also hate being lied to and I want to buy products that I admire, and expose products that are scams. That's another important function of blogs. Sometimes that means there's a fight coming, because people with dishonest proposals usually don't want to be exposed. I get that. And sometimes they respond to honest criticism with personal attacks, hoping to shred the critic so other people won't notice the defect in their pitch. That will lead to fights.

I used to admire Microsoft for their willingness to be criticized. It was really something. If you said their product sucked, they drew you closer to find out why you thought that. Every so often you see that culture in a company and you know you've found a winner. People who are willing to work with you to make your product better are like nuggets of gold, you just need a few of them to guide you to success.

I've long thought that newspapers should have the same approach. The NY Times public editor shouldn't be a journalist, he or she should be a member of the public, a user of their product. Point of view is everything. You'd think the editors of a great paper would understand that. They have long had disagreeable people on their op-ed page knowing that there's much to be learned from what they say, even if you don't agree with their conclusions (though I wonder wtf Bill Kristol is doing there).

I said recently to Chris Anderson, the editor in chief of Wired, that they should have some bloggers on staff to critique their work from a reader's point of view. The thought went nowhere, he says they already have bloggers (I know many of them, and they're fine people). I wonder what they think a blog is? I imagine it has something to do with the tools. To me it's so much more.

As we approach the 11th birthday of Scripting News, I had a little free time the other day and cobbled up a dynamic page that says how many years old the blog is, with 10 digits precision.

Looping back to my disclaimer of being a racist, a bunch of people said I'd catch hell for it, but I haven't, at least not yet. There's proof that change is possible. The other day Condoleeza Rice, our Secretary of State, a black woman, said that our country has a birth defect about race. Here's another first -- who ever thought it would be possible for me to express admiration for Ms. Rice, one of the most shameless liars and double-talkers of the Republic Party. She must be running for something. ;->

Haven't done one of these morning rambles in a while. Thanks for listening. Now I have some work to do, fixing bugs, creating new ones, etc.

Update: Comments on an earlier version of this post.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 28, 2008. Friday, March 28, 2008

Are you using Firefox 3? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

If so, what do you think?

If not, will you? When?

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, March 26, 2008. Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why can't we all just get along? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named jewWrestler.jpgIt was a friendly meeting today, but not without the usual competitive spirit between the Mozilla camp and the Microsoft camp.

Mozilla engineering VP, Mike Schroepfer explained that Microsoft tends to implement technology already approved by the standards working groups, in a different way, and then says their implementation is the standard. Sounds like something Hillary Clinton would do, until you realize that the Mozilla guys do it too. Basically everyone does it, when they feel the competitive technology is implemented by someone smaller or less significant than themselves. And since this is a very immature business, everyone feels that way about everyone else, so it's something of a miracle when interop happens.

It has always been thus.

When Netscape, the company that spawned Mozilla, wanted to implement a format for content syndication in 1999, they did it outside of the W3C because they were sick of the dirty politics bigger companies that felt more significant had been using against them. There was prior art, but they trampled it, because (you guessed) they felt more significant than those that came before.

The trick is to get over that feeling, and to adopt something specifically because it comes from someone you feel superior to.

Be the change you seek.

I pointed out to Mike that three real religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, religious causes that great wars have been fought over, for 2000-plus years, are just forks of the same religion and bible with emphasis placed on different characters, they are basically compatible. Isn't that amazing?

In tech, where wars are between nerds who drink Jolt and read Microserfs, and couldn't fight a real war if our lives depended on it, why can't we at least agree to use the same names for elements of our XML that do the same damned thing?

Something to think about!

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End of editorial. ;->

Almost 11 years old Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Here's how old Scripting News is, in years.

double ( () - date ("4/1/97")) / (60*60*24*365.25)


Pretty close to 11!

Hot dam.

Block-with-Timeout for Twitter Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named spaceWoman.jpgI need a new command in Twitter -- a temporary unfollow, or viewed another way, a block-with-timeout. Same idea.

I need it when someone is at a conference I don't care about, live-blogging every detail. After 30 or 40 updates, I gotta stop it, it's interfering with other posts. But I don't want to complain. I just want to go silently. But tomorrow when the event is over, I want to (silently) resume the follow.

Problem with normal unfollow, is that: 1. I have to remember to re-follow and 2. When I do, they'll get an email. This is confusing and can cause hurt feelings. Not my intention. I just don't want all the details of this conference (or someone live-blogging an event I'm watching live or on TV).

Live-blogging from Mozillla press meeting Permanent link to this item in the archive.

If you have questions for the people at Mozilla, post a comment and I'll try to ask it.

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About 1/2 hour into the meeting I don't really have any overall idea of what they're doing with Firefox 3. I know other people are using it, I'm still using v2. I tried v3 beta but found that it was too awkward a transition. (Wish I remember what it was that was so awkward.)

"Better faster safer" -- the slogan for Firefox 3.

They put up some screen shots and I recalled clearly what the problem was -- they moved the Home button.

They call the new address bar The Awesome Bar, which is very Steve Jobs-like in my humble opinion. Boom! ;->

They're talking about Weave...

I believe this is Asa Dotzler world-famous Mozilla blogger.

Why Clinton supporters might flock to McCain Permanent link to this item in the archive.

According to a Gallup poll, 28 percent of Democrats who support Hillary Clinton say they will vote for McCain if Obama is the Democratic nominee.

Two reasons this might be so..

1. Clinton has been campaigning against Obama, and for McCain. It's working with some of her supporters.

2. So far no Democrats have been running against McCain, exploring his weakness. He still looks relatively good. That'll probably change.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, March 25, 2008. Tuesday, March 25, 2008

FriendFeed API announced Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I've been talking with the folks at FriendFeed about APIs and such, and boy do they move fast. I got the first draft of the API spec on Friday, and today it's out there.

Here's the blog post announcing the API.

Glue for the OPML Editor will ship soon, delayed a bit by tomorrow's press event at Mozilla in Mountain View.

FriendFeed will be supported in my software in all the places Pownce is.

There's a lot of movement in the TwitterSphere these days. I was hoping that the FriendFeed API would be a clone of the Twitter API. It's not. But it is workable and exposes features, including Payloads that are not implemented by Twitter.

Next question is how scalable FriendFeed is.

I'm going to visit with them in Mountain View tomorrow.

Exciting times! ;->

Can't you see? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

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iPhone maintenence time Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Let's see -- I've had my iPhone since June 29, so that's...

number ( () - date ("6/29/2007")) / (60*60*24)

270 days. In that time apparently it's been downloading all my non-spam mail from Gmail, and now periodically interrupts me to say my mailbox is 92 percent full, would I please delete some of my mail.

I finally had a minute, on the BART the other day, to look into deleting mail, and it appears to be an onerous process to do for thousands of messages. First you tap the mail message, then tap the red minus sign, then tap the Delete button. They want to be sure you're sure (no Undo).

Problem is -- I only use the Mail app to send pictures to Flickr. On the rare occasion that I want to check email on my iPhone, I just use the excellent mobile version of Gmail. So I never want the email from the Mail app.

So I guess I have two questions:

1. How to mass-delete all the mail that's filling up 92 percent of the allocated space.

2. How to tell the mail app that I don't want it to fetch mail. (This is probably something I'm paying a fair amount for, btw.)

Any suggestions would be most welcome. (And I suspect the iPhone Nazis out there will use this as an example of my ineptitude for years to come. Have fun!)

Bonus: The Soup Nazi from Seinfeld.

PS: I've tried deleting the account and adding it back. No luck. The mail is still there.

PPS: Apparently mass-delete is new with iPhone 2.0.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, March 24, 2008. Monday, March 24, 2008

FriendFeed moves into TwitterSpace Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named gumby.jpgWe said a couple of weeks ago that FriendFeed is gaining a lot of traction. Since then we've started a background conversation and have been giving them a bit of friendly advice (heh, sorry). Today they added a feature that brings it closer to Twitter, and in some ways takes it to a place Twitter hasn't reached yet.

FriendFeed, in addition to being an aggregator also allows you to post directly to other FriendFeed users who are following you, and it has a threaded comment system that allows you to post a response to anything that FF has discovered. But how do you read those responses elsewhere, and how do you know to go see if FF has anything you might be interested in? They have ways to deal with this, but none are as neat as the one they introduced today, if you use Twitter.

The feature: You can optionally route comments from FriendFeed to Twitter (if the original message came from Twitter) as a reply.

Nothing more to say than yes, this is the right thing to do, and yes it is neat, and also it's nice to see Twitter get some competition. We know that products that have competition get better, and ones that don't generally have no incentive to. Considering that it would be good, imho, if Twitter were a little more active in adding features (I know others feel differently) it's good that FF is applying a little friendly (arrrgh) pressure.

And to people who thought Scripting News had become 100 percent politics all the time, here's proof that it's not. ;->'

PS: Just tested the new feature. It works.

TwitterGram functionality baked into FlickrFan Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I've been meaning to do this for some time...

Just released a new feature in FlickrFan that allows it to do for pictures what TwitterGram does.

You can set it up to check for new pics in your Flickr account and when it spots one, automatically post it to Twitter.

You can set the interval, so it can check every minute if you like, for virtually instant publishing. I like to use this to take pics on my walks and share them with my Twitter friends while I'm still out and about. GIves me a sense that the Twittersphere is on the walk with me.

Yes, I know I need to make this work with Pownce too. And other instant social networks like Jaiku and others. ;->

If you want to try it out and have FlickrFan running, follow the instructions here. There's also a place to comment and ask questions.

Status on campaign conference call MP3s Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named justice.gifWe begin this week where we began the last. Thanks to McClatchy, we're getting almost half of the conference call MP3s. But that's not half as good as getting them all, not close.

Imagine getting a trial transcript with more than 1/2 the testimony missing. Some days you get the words used by the defense, other days, the prosecution. Never both.

Our pleas openly stated in public and expressed privately, have gone mostly for naught. Occasionally there's a nibble, but never any followup.

I have excellent contacts in the Internet parts of the Obama campaign, but emails on this subject have gone unanswered. The Clinton campaign was worse, they thought I was signing up to support the candidate and suggested I give money, stuff envelopes, etc.

I've been in touch with numerous professional news organizations, with reporters, editors, and technical people. I don't want to say who because I don't want to embarass anyone.

Dan Gillmor, in a private exchange, a former tech journalist at the SJ Merc-News, volunteered a perspective that's common-sense and refreshing. This is their job, at the news organizations, to provide readers with information, not to control the flow of news and spin it for us, rather pass it through transparently, so we can make up our own minds.

I consume lots of professional journalism, and it's sad and angering that so much of what they report as the mood of the people is really their mood, based on no actual information. Because no one can expose them, they get sloppy, it builds over the years.

It's outrageous to me, listening to them talk about the Wright tapes, they're getting it wrong. I have actually watched the videos. Have they? Either they have or they haven't. If not, it's grossly irresponsible. If they have, it's criminal, the way they deliver incorrect conclusions and show misleading evidence. When all the networks do the same thing, it's collusion, anti-trust, conspiracy.

Sometimes, rarely, a little truth leaks out.

So no, I don't trust them, and as journalists like to say, if your mother says she loves you, check it out. They need fact-checking to keep them honest, that's why we need the source material.

I had the image yesterday, listening to the Meet The Press podcast, of irresponsible children throwing around lit sticks of dynamite in the middle of a sacred library. Our democracy is at its most vulnerable right now, and they're behaving as if it was a sporting event. Because I listen to the actual words the candidates and their representatives use, I know when they're lying. Of course this is the real reason they don't want to help us get the MP3s. They may not be conscious of it, but it's the reason.

However, I'm sure that eventually we'll get them.

Now that you mention it... Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I was reading Newsweek's story on why Barack Obama asked people to stop calling him Barry and use his more formal name, and I remembered that I had a grandmother who was different in the same way Obama did.

My mixed heritage isn't so obvious as his because all my grandparents are white, but the difference may be even more dramatic than his because of the time I grew up.

My maternal grandmother was pure German, blonde hair, blue eyes. She married a Jew, my grandfather, in Europe, before the war. I loved my grandmother, but she could say the most hurtful things, even as a child I knew there was a good chance she knew what she was doing. I never fully understood the issues of Jews and Germans, but they were all right there in her house in Rockaway Beach.

So when I wrote the story on Saturday wondering what it would be like now if I had grown up in Germany instead of the U.S., I was unconsciously writing a story that actually happened.

I have to think about this.

One thing's for sure, the last week has been an incredible week of growth for me, largely due to the conversation we're having here at a national, even international level (a lot of the response to the piece was from Europeans).

Also, the quality of the discourse, as always, is very high. Keep up the good work everybody! ;->

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 23, 2008. Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday Gang #4 podcast Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Today's guest is Matt Stoller.

"I'm a DC-based political activist and consultant, and I blog at the new strategy site I work on telecom politics, progressive movement building, Democratic primary challengers, and analyzing internet-enabled coalition politics. I'm the President of Blogpac, a political action committee that funds progressive blogs and candidates."

Links mentioned in today's show:

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 22, 2008. Saturday, March 22, 2008

What if I lived in Germany Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Michael Markman sent a pointer to another Wright sermon video, which I watched. The one that ends with God Damn America.

I was born here, I love this country, it gave sanctuary to my parents and grandparents. I am a product of Jewish Europe, transplanted in, welcomed by, the United States of America. I owe my existence to this country, and never forget it.

So God Damn America, to me, is bad. What a thing for a man of religion to say. A man who believes in god, to whom damnation is real.

On the other hand...

The rest of the sermon, the part leading up to that conclusion, is reasonable, and makes the ending understandable, even if I don't support it.

Then I wondered, what if I had been born in Germany instead of the U.S. The country that treated my ancestors the same way Wright's ancestors were treated by the U.S.

How would I have made the adjustment?

What if my country's flag had a swastika on it?

What if my country hadn't fully expressed its shame over burning my ancestors in ovens. Treating them like animals. Implementing a "final solution" on my race that somehow left me living. What if they expected me to love that country the same way the ancestors of the people who destroyed my ancestors do?

In the privacy of a cultural gathering of Jews living in a German city under a Nazi government in the 21st Century, might we say God Damn Germany for what it did to my people?

I don't know. Probably. It's something to think about.

PS: How long before an idiot invokes Godwin's Law.

What's wrong with Wikipedia, day 2 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Anonymous people writing with supposed authority about living people. Too easily (and often) gamed.

I was at Dean HQ, the night they did him in Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I was in Burlington, VT at the headquarters of Dean For America, the night of The Scream Speech. I knew, therefore, that the campaign had video that showed clearly that the press was actively trying to kill his candidacy. They had a website, and they had enough money to pay for the bandwidth to run it. They knew what the press was trying to do. They could have fought it. But they didn't.

If it happened today would a campaign fight it? And if the campaign wouldn't, or felt it couldn't, or felt it wasn't wise, would we have the will to fight it? Or are we still just the audience. Is it our place to expose the corruption of the press, when we've caught them, or leave it to the press to do it? (If Dean is a guide, they will, half-heartedly, when it's too late, after the candidacy is dead.)

We have a library of video of Wright sermons. We could divide them up, watch them, look for evidence that the press was right to make fear of Wright the topic for a week's worth of news cycles. If it turns out they were right, and the Reverend is someone whose ideas are dangerous to the U.S., we don't have to do anything more, because the concerns have already been raised. But if it turns out otherwise, that we were manipulated, don't you think we should know for sure?

BTW, in 2004, I was not a Dean supporter. I had not chosen a candidate, as I had not chosen a candidate at the time of the Iowa caucus this year.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 21, 2008. Friday, March 21, 2008

Give Rev Wright a chance to convince you Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named think.gifMelroy Hodge, from Queens, NY, a contact on Twitter, sent a pointer to a YouTube video of a longer excerpt of Jeremiah Wright's post-911 sermon, one of the speeches that soundbites were shown repeatedly on cable news this week. I guess it's not surprising that the cable news excerpts gave a very misleading impression. (Next time this happens we must do an immediate fact-check.)

This is a must-watch video. Stop what you're doing, right now, and watch it.

I found myself captivated by Wright's ideas and the way he expresses them.

I agree with everything he said.

I would have been willing to cut him some slack, because this was less than a week after the attack, and those were crazy days, who knew what was coming next. But he was right, we have done what they did to us, and we're doing it again in Iraq.

The US was led by despotic people and we followed; we wanted to punish someone, anyone, and it didn't matter if they had anything to do with what happened to us. And we did.

Lots of people don't want to acknowledge this, esp the cable news networks who led the charge to war, but if you compare what Wright said to what they were saying, and why shouldn't we, I think we'll find that Wright was a rational and calming alternative to the lunacy that was dominating discourse in the US in the years following 911. And this video was taken mere days after the attacks.

The news networks don't have standing to criticize Wright for his post-911 speech. Let's dig up some of their oratory from that timeframe and see if we want them involved in our political process in the future.

As Wright says, the chickens. Have come. Home. To roost.

Richardson endorsement MP3 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

New Mexico governor Bill RIchardson endorsed Barack Obama in a rally today in Portland, OR. Here's an approx 15 minute MP3 of his speech.


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Video of the Richardson speech.

Today's Clinton conf call MP3 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I've only listened to the first few minutes but it begins with some really provocative statements about Obama's campaign. Can't wait to hear the rest.

"It is no secret that the Obama campaign is in political hot water... and is basically desperate to change the subject."

I also here there was a pretty sizzling Obama conf call, don't have the MP3 of that. Yet. ;->

Richardson to Endorse Obama Permanent link to this item in the archive.

NY Times: "Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who sought to become the nation's first Hispanic president this year, plans to endorse Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination on Friday at a campaign event in Oregon."

Incredible discussion on race Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Yesterday's piece about race drew some of the most loving, fun and heartfelt comments ever. And some serious discussion about what counts as racism.

When one person says "that's racist" but it doesn't seem that way to you, the best way to tell is to flip it around. Change black to white. Or vice versa.

For example...

"Maybe you think it's unfair that this anger sometimes gets generalized to include you, when you yourself have never detained a black driver or used a choke hold to subdue someone you were arresting."

I think it's pretty obvious when you do the flip, the statement, even though if you parse it literally, is not demeaning to whites, an equivalent statement made about blacks, using black stereotypes, would certainly be considered offensive.

When someone says something like this in my presence I feel a twinge of pain in my stomach. I know what it's like to be driving in an area where the cops probably aren't friendly, or where a mugging could take place even while you're in a car. (It actually happened to me in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I was mugged at knifepoint after I got lost driving a rental car.)

I don't split hairs about what is racism or isn't. This is a period of amnesty, no one knows how to talk about this stuff. Yesterday candidate Obama, who I admire more every day, said his grandmother is a "typical white person." There were attempts to use this for political advantage, but I think by the end of this campaign we'll laugh at how awkward this period was and how common this kind of thing is. So what. Are there typical white people? Maybe, maybe not. But in the end, what's the big deal.

The only way to make progress is to go through it. I know that black people say really racist things about white people, and no one called them on it because white people couldn't hear. Same thing's true the other way. The difference is now we can hear. Great. You wanted change, right? This is what change is like. It ain't easy and not always pretty, but when you're stuck in a rut, it's the only way to go.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 20, 2008. Thursday, March 20, 2008

My name is Dave and I'm a racist Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Hello! ;->

I wrote a comment on a post on Phil Windley's blog earlier today which I ended saying perhaps we should all just disclaim up front that we're racists, and then go ahead and say what we have to say about race.

It should save a lot of time, and get a lot of formerly private and hush-hush stuff out in the open.

Ironically, it's possible because we got, through Rev Wright's at-first shocking sermons out and in the discussion. So much for black people not being racists. He could attend our nation's 12-step meeting and introduce himself as I did.

Hello, my name is Jeremiah Wright and I'm a racist.

Hello Jeremiah!

In his speech on Tuesday morning, Obama said the same thing.

It's like what Jerry said about his life.

It's even worse than it appears. ;->

Fact, if you've lived in the United States as long as I have, 52 years, you have opinions about race, and to some that makes you a racist. The problem -- only our closest friends and family know our opinions about race. There may be blacks who first heard that there is white resentment from Geraldine Ferraro, or from Barack Obama. But it's no secret to me.

We may eventually get rid of racism, but it isn't going to happen by keeping it hidden.

On Tuesday before Obama's speech I saw a panel on race, on CNN, moderated by a black newsman, with two blacks as panelists. No whites. That's the old style pre-Obama panel on race. The new modern way is to balance it, and let whites speak about race too. Let us make generalizations about blacks and whites the way blacks always have. For a change, let the blacks listen, and appreciate that we have opinions too, show us that you get that we're not silly, naive, trivial.

In all my years, I've only heard two images of whites from blacks. 1. The man. We control everything. We're privileged. The oppressor. We coordinate to keep blacks out, to keep blacks down. 2. The silly do-good liberal. We look for approval. We want to be hip. But we're naive and shallow. There is no third view of whites in black folklore. And you wonder why we never connect.

Right now I'm not trying to be your friend. I never was your oppressor. I do believe in the fierce urgency of now, so what I want is to work together to get us some good government. I certainly don't mind, if along the way, the lot of black people improves. In fact I like that. And it doesn't make me silly or naive. I argue, and I think Obama agrees, that makes me an American, which I most certainly am.

Once we feel heard, then we might be better able to listen to what you have to say. Just a thought.

One more thing before I sit down. By disclaiming my racism, you can't get me by calling me a racist. Just admitting that one simple and obvious fact makes it possible for the air to start to clear on this formerly taboo subject.

I'll sit down now, having said my piece, for now.

Christmas comes early for President Obama Permanent link to this item in the archive.

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NY Times: "During one of the most difficult periods in the presidency of Bill Clinton, he addressed a group of clerics at an annual prayer breakfast in September 1998 just as the Starr report outlining his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky was about to be published."

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

First, I point to Wikipedia pages often here on Scripting News and on Twitter. I also find it a useful personal resource. For example, I'm working my way through Battlestar Galactica and I find it helpful to read the summary of each episode after I've watched it. It's great that they have a common format. And they fill in blanks you might not have noticed but don't spoil the plot of upcoming episodes. I've been investing in ETFs lately, and Wikipedia has helped me learn how they work. So I don't question its value. It has value.

Wikipedia is therefore a puzzle to me. Because while it's helpful, it also hurts me, because my biography there is more of a vendetta, by anonymous people, who seem self-centered and immature, but it's impossible to tell what axes they have to grind, because they're largely anonymous.

Same is true for various activities I've participated in. You may argue that I didn't invent this or that, but surely I had something to do with RSS, blogging and podcasting? Yet depending on when you look, I'm often not mentioned on these pages. This makes it hard for me to claim my work in professional dealings because people consider Wikipedia authoritative. What it says is considered by many to be the truth. So this has hurt my career, and my ability to do creative work that builds on past work.

This is where Andrew Keen could have and should have, imho, written his book. This is where the Cult of the Amateur really does do damage, by usurping authority, and replacing it with anonymity and giving power to those who who tear down creativity, to remove the incentive to share, unless you're completely selfless and don't mind if others take credit for your accomplishments. That's not the nature of creativity, btw, creative people fiercely insist on credit, fight for it, imho, rightly.

Eventually, if it hasn't already happened, there will be consultants you can pay to make sure your point of view dominates a Wikipedia page. It has already come out that a gift to the Wikipedia Foundation will assure that your point of view dominates your profile page. How much of this can Wikipedia stand before it is reformed? It seems time to have this discussion, and not in the confines of Wikipedia where it can be controlled and gamed by insiders, but outside where everyone's opinion can be heard without being edited out and when it's clear who's saying what.

That said, here's how I think Wikipedia should evolve to fix this problem.

Based on the principle that one has the right to confront his accusers, Wikipedia pages on living people, or covering active creative areas, should be limited to pages of pointers of attributed accounts. Editors work to validate that the people are who they say they are. If they can't be validated, they either don't get linked, or get linked to from an area specially marked as not being validated. (I prefer the former.)

Further, in areas important enough to be controversial, meaning that people disagree on what happened, we should try to get as many people who were involved in the event or activity to write first-person narratives. In areas where they all agree, that should eventually be considered fact and presented as such, but the first-person narratives must stay linked. This would prevent the kinds of disasters that happen when people (for example) edit their own profile pages, meanwhile giving people the formal right to tell their own story, which clearly, many people covered by Wikipedia want.

I hope an interesting discussion ensues. Of course I expect to hear from the people who edit my profile pages to keep my name in the dirt, and I don't expect them to use their actual names. Can't speak for everyone else, but I'm much more interested, always, in hearing opinions from people who have the conviction and courage to put their personal authority behind their words, as I do.

Perfect purple Permanent link to this item in the archive.

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Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, March 19, 2008. Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Update after Obama's race speech Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I had so many thoughts after Obama's speech yesterday, but none of them were organized enough to write. Today maybe a few are.

1. I don't think it's going to change anyone's mind. If you supported Obama before, you probably still do, if you didn't you still don't.

2. It should now be clear to everyone with a reasonably open mind who listened to the speech, what he means by change. There were so many shortcuts he could have taken. If he were Bush or Clinton, he would have taken them. After having Presidents who openly lie for so long, the change is this: Obama doesn't. He told the truth, maybe not all of it, but orders of magnitude more than politicians of our age do.

2a. Yes, Virginia, Obama is a politician. And that's not a dirty word. We have politics to make decisions as groups of people, at a local, state, country, even a global level. If we ever elect someone to the Presidency who says he or she is not a politician, they are lying, bigtime.

3. Sometimes things get so bad that only the truth will do. We usually like bedtime stories from our politicians, tales that give us a good night's sleep. Obama certainly has a good bedside manner. And while race isn't the top item on our national to-do list, it is on the list and has been there, as he said, since before the founding of the country.

The Wright videos have brought race to the front, have started a discourse here and elsewhere, that has enormous potential for improving communication. And while the problems may be unsolvable (none of us are going to change how we feel or what we believe) we must not let them stand in the way of working together and getting stuff done. You don't have the time to change me, and I don't have the time to change you. Our first order of business is to get Obama elected, and after that, we have a lot more work to do.

I think this is how historic problems are properly dealt with. You side-step the personal issues, and just start assuming the problem has been solved, and then one day you look up and things are a lot better. Not perfect, they never are, but better. (This is why the "fierce urgency of now" is something to seize and embrace, to not pass up. We can use it to get past the attitudes and beliefs that are in our way.)

4. Obama is not Howard Dean, and the Wright videos are not the Dean Scream, because Obama has the delegate and popular vote lead, and we're deep into the primary season. He makes the decision whether his candidacy is viable, not Hardballs, 350, The Saturation Room, Space The Nation not even Cowntown and certainly not Tim Russert. (Sorry, the first was a typo, then I had fun with the others.)

5. Maybe the delay in choosing a candidate is not such a bad thing for the Democratic Party. Maybe the time can be used to figure out wtf the Democratic Party is in 2008. Maybe we can participate in that decision this time, maybe it isn't just the insiders and fatcats (love that word!) who get to call the shots. Maybe we should organize a BloggerCon for May to discuss the future of the Democratic Party. I bet some interesting ideas would come from such a meetup.

Update: Huffington cross-post.

Today's Clinton conference call Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Berkeley anti-war demo Permanent link to this item in the archive.

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Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, March 18, 2008. Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama's race speech Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a speech today about race.

Here's an MP3 of Obama's speech.

Video of the speech.

Links for 03/18/2008 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

NYT: Mr. Obama’s Profile in Courage. What this Tweet points to.

Today's Clinton conference call Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, March 17, 2008. Monday, March 17, 2008

Today's Obama conf call MP3 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Today's Clinton conf call MP3 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Race in 2008 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Last week race became the issue in the election of 2008.

Of course some people would say, and they're probably right, that it was always the issue, but it came to the surface last week. I won't try to speak for them, I'll just speak for myself.

I am white, male, 52 years old, and like everyone else (sorry) I feel that people always find a way to push me to the side, to objectify me, to react to my body as opposed to my ideas, and to use me as a screen to project their fears and doubts on.

I went into yesterday's podcast thinking we'd have an interesting discussion on race, that I was prepared for whatever would happen, but I was not prepared. You can hear that in the 50 minutes. You should listen all the way to the end before you form a judgment. And also watch your own responses and reactions and see how your racism works.

In the US, it seems no one is without it. If you think you are, perhaps it's because you've kept it tucked away, and don't challenge it, so it's invisible to you. But you have no trouble seeing it in others.

For example, there's no missing Geraldine Ferraro's racism, I don't know if she sees it or not. But it's clearly untrue that her nomination for VP in 1984 is comparable to Obama's leadership in the Democratic nomination process in 2008. She was chosen because of her gender. But that does not imply that Obama is leading because of his race. There is no correlation.

I understand her point of view because it's familiar to me, people close to me see it the same way as Ferraro. I don't think they can or will or want to change, they will always believe that Obama had an advantage.

In the comments in response to yesterday's podcast, Herb, a black man tells a story of attending a conference as a speaker, and having other participants treat him as if he were a waiter. I honestly had no idea that that happens. I knew that stuff like that happened in New Orleans when I was a student there in the early 70s.

I think blacks are racist too, btw. I've experienced it this way. According to them, all my experiences are invalid. They tend to talk about white males the same way Republicans talk about liberals, as if we're silly, naive, trivial people. Can you imagine I don't like that any more than the speaker who was asked to fetch a Coke. We're always lectured, no matter how old we are, no matter how much life experience we have, no matter how curious, or intelligent we are, the same way, as if we need an education. Black people actually put it that way. No not all. But remember, not all white people asked for the Coke, either.

BTW, that also comes with age. As you get older a curious thing happens. In some contexts you're assumed to be smarter, but in most you're that trivial, naive and silly stereotype I described above. It happens more frequently as my beard gets more gray and my hairline recedes.

I listened to Face The Nation on my walk yesterday, and heard Bob Schieffer ask Deval Patrick if black people are going to be angry if Obama is denied the nomination by superdelegates even though he has a majority of the elected delegates, and a majority of the votes. Wait a minute, what about non-black people who support Obama? Doesn't our opinion matter? Apparently not. What just slipped out there? Schieffer seems like a good guy, high integrity.

A picture named hope.jpgThen this raises another question for me. Okay there's a lot of unprocessed anger over race in the US, and a lot of it will come out in the next few months, but what if Obama is elected? This is where my head starts spinning. I tried to raise the question in yesterday's podcast -- will blacks look at the world differently now that a black man is President? I think he said no. I can't believe that. Something will have to give. But haven't they thought about that at all? (I'm very sure something will shift because, being around Silicon Valley for so long, I've seen lots of people achieve wealth very quickly. This usually causes an eruption of huge emotion as the normal feeling of worthlessness is contradicted by the new worth in the person's bank account. People often get very depressed when this happens.)

Then the question comes up -- will there be retribution? I couldn't believe I was thinking about this, but the Jeremiah Wright speeches that came out last week put it front and center. There was a time that I remember when blacks talked about taking power in the US in ways designed at least in part to scare white people. Obama is the perfect black candidate for not raising the fears of whites, unlike Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. I'm still supporting him, but now I have new questions, that I probably would eventually have had even if Wright's speeches hadn't become an issue.

Yeah, I'm a middle-aged white male, and my opinion matters not one bit. I've heard that so many times. But of course I don't buy it.

I want to believe what Obama says, because I know that what he says is what we have to do. I want to find people whose politics are as far from mine as possible and find the bond that connects us as Americans. I think if we all do that we can hold on to our beliefs, and not worry about convincing others that we have it worst (that's not going to happen) but rather look for ways we can give each other what we want. That's why I want to know what people want, not the kind of victory wartime presidents say they want. Sometimes you can define victory, but most times there is no victory. We just get to do more with our lives with less suffering, and after all that's pretty good.

PS: I'm not voting for Clinton, under any circumstances. I would be happy to vote for a woman for President, but send us someone better than Hillary, who doesn't deceive so much, who actually has the experience that she is claiming. And even if she doesn't agree with Ferraro, she tried to use it, and that's inexcusable.

Update: This piece is cross-posted at Huffington.

Links for 03/17/2008 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Negative review of iPhone dev program. What this Tweet points to.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 16, 2008. Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday Gang #3 -- Race in 2008 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

This has got to be the heaviest podcast I've ever done. It almost melted down, but it had a happy ending.

Our guest this week is Chris Rabb, a blogger from Philadelphia. It was a three-way conversation with Nicco Mele in the middle, the real fireworks are between Chris and myself.

The lesson from this election cycle imho, is that race, which has always been everywhere in US politics, is so close to the surface this time that we get a chance to hash out our differences, and if we want, find what we have in common. As always, when change happens, no pain no gain. But in the end, you hope it comes out the way this 50-minute podcast did, with an agreement to continue the conversation.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 15, 2008. Saturday, March 15, 2008

Interview with Marshall Kirkpatrick Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I did a 20-minute interview this morning with ReadWriteWeb's Marshall Kirkpatrick about FriendFeed and related tools.

You can receive these MP3s in your podcatcher by subscribing to the RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures for this weblog.

Update: Bret Taylor, a founder of FriendFeed, checks in.

Must-read piece Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Orlando Lima: "[Geraldine Ferraro] theorized that a self-made black guy with a Muslim name has a political advantage over a white woman who is the wife of a two-term President."

I was reading along until I came to this bit.

"When liberals need black votes they come into our communities and act like they're down."

Okay, that may be prejudice, not racism, but no matter what it isn't cool.

I am a liberal, and I feel disempowered too, and I feel that the pols come around and ask for my vote and money and that's the end of that. Even Obama has yet to prove he's any different.

We desperately need to look for things we have in common, and we all have barriers inside ourselves that we can't see. I'll listen when you say I have a barrier, but you have to do the same.

If you make being a liberal equivalent with being shallow and silly, you're buying into a Republican frame of reference, and you make it impossible for us to be powerful. And that's not something I'm going to support.

The lesson of Reverend Wright is that blacks have bad racial attitudes that balance those held by whites. Yes the whites started it, but that isn't going to help anyone (my ancestors were in Eastern Europe while that was hapening). There were reasons we were scared of blacks when I was growing up in NYC, they may not have had anything to do with reality, or maybe there was some reality to it. Remember there were riots then, and the cities were burning. MLK and Malcolm X were assassinated, but so were some white people. (To be fair, white people did most of the assassinating.)

Obama is definitely a leader in league with MLK, I watched him yesterday on TV carefully explaining what was happening, but not using words that would give the press guys any new issues to hang on him. What he's doing is hard, and great. Without Obama we wouldn't have had a reason to listen to Orlando Lima's story, above, and he probably wouldn't have had a reason to tell it.

If Obama wins, we'll be going through a lot more of it, but going through it is a lot better than living with it. At some point we're going to have to get the racism out in the open and deal with it, all of us, it's just one of many items on our national to-do list that we have been so totally neglecting.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 14, 2008. Friday, March 14, 2008

MP3 of Sun-Times meeting with Obama Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Obama had a "extensive 80-minute interview" with the Chicago Sun-Times (I think earlier today) to answer all their questions about his relationship with Tony Rezko. Following is an MP3 of the meeting, provided by the Sun-Times.

You can receive these MP3s in your podcatcher by subscribing to the RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures for this weblog.

PS: He did a similar interview with the Chicago Tribune.

Northeast-style racism Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I grew up in the northeast, not far from where Geraldine Ferraro lives, and I recognize the racism of the northeast, where people nod knowingly that blacks who are competing with whites have been given some kind of advantage that makes it possible for an inferior person to compete with a superior one.

It's easy to trigger this kind of logic in a northeastern white supremicist, just say that a black guy wouldn't be there if he weren't black.

You can say "It's True," in a tone that says that disagreement is naive. "Of course," you are supposed to say.

I've seen Jews and Catholics do this, two types of people who have themselves been victimized by stereotypes.

But it's all lunacy, and definitely not true when you're talking about the leader for the Democratic Party nomination for President.

It's lunacy but it's lunacy that works. All around the northeast, esp in Pennsylvania, people are talking around the kitchen table, saying of course he wouldn't be there if he weren't black, and identifying with Hillary Clinton, a white person who's about to lose her job (one she was never elected to) to a black person, unfairly.

Someday America will grow out of this lunacy, and will stop judging people based on their race. That Obama is a very serious candidate for President says a lot about him, but it says even more about us, that the racism of Ferraro and the northeasterners who reason as she does, is falling into the background.

How Internet news should work Permanent link to this item in the archive.

By the mid-90s I became accustomed to reading news on the web. So much so that I cancelled subscriptions to the NY Times and Wall Street Journal because most days I'd never take the papers out of the plastic bags they were delivered in.

Getting news on the web was so much more efficient. I'd read the TImes and local papers and, Infoworld, MacWeek, and a bunch of other industry publications. This was before blogging, before RSS.

How I'd do it -- I'd go to a site, for example, and scan for articles that interested me. I'd do this every hour or so, I'd rely on memory and link color to determine if an article was new or not. Being a software developer, every time I thought of better ways to do this, if only...

Then in 1999 something great happened, a bunch of tech industry publications, working with Netscape, started publishing titles, descriptions and links to stories in RSS. I immediately put together a web application that scanned these "feeds" periodically, and put the new stories at the top of the page, pushing down the older ones. Then, to do my hourly news trawl, I'd just have to start at the top of the page, and read down until I came to something I had seen before. I thought of this as "automated web surfing." It took the labor out of the hunting and pecking I had been doing before.

This is, imho, the way news should work on the Internet. I've had this argument many times with people at the NY Times and other big news organizations who feel that part of what they do is to prioritize and organize the news into a front page backed by sections. They feel the Internet versions of their news should work this way, as their print versions do.

But you see them break out of this model sometimes when news happens in the middle of the day. When William F Buckley died last week, there was an item at the top of the home page, in red letters, with the news of Buckley's death. What if two or three big events had happened that day? What would they do then?

We've already seen news organizations when the rush of news is too great, adopt the blogging style of news -- the New Orleans Times-Picayune didn't allow tradition to get in the way of reporting Katrina, they turned their news flow into a blog.

I think every newspaper on the web should at least offer the reader a choice of a reverse-chronological view of the news. I think they would find most readers would use this view, most editors would too.

I was inspired to write this today because Scott Karp at Publishing 2.0 has come to basically the same conclusion. I think we may finally be coming to the tipping point for news publishing on the web. I hope so.

Links for 03/14/2008 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Apple's iPhone developer rejection letter. What this Tweet points to.

Obama is live on Countdown tonight. What this Tweet points to.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 13, 2008. Thursday, March 13, 2008

Candidate MP3s progress Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Progress to report on the MP3s of candidate conference calls.

The Washington bureau of McClatchy has produced an RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures for some of the calls.

We still need a feed with all the calls. We're missing some of the most important ones. But we're making progress, and thanks to the folks at McClatchy for pitching in.

Now bloggers have a chance to listen to the campaign spinners in their own words, without interpretation.

Update: USA Today posts 2 minutes of a Clinton conference call today saying: "we want to make sure you get the full context." No. Wrong. Incorrect. To get the context we'd need the MP3 of the full conference call. Come on guys, let's get over this gatekeeping. We'll all do better if thousands of bloggers can listen to these calls.

McClatchy has the full conference call.

2/20/08: "Where can I get MP3s of all the conference calls, the day they happen, in full, not spun through the reporters."

2/21/08: "Four years from now we'll look back at this in amazement that there was a day when campaigns hid their words and ideas behind the filters of the press."

FriendFeed gets interesting Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named love.gifAfter opening to the public a week ago, a lot more people are showing up on FriendFeed, and it's got features the others don't have. The others? Yeah -- it's competitive with things like: Twitter, Facebook, Jaiku and Pownce. And it's simple and minimalist like Twitter, yet it fully embraces everything else out there that has a feed. Can you post to FF? Yes, and you won't see those posts on Twitter. Not sure about the other places.

Network apps are getting really interesting, and it's all different variants on the River of News aggregator and RSS, going back to My.UserLand in 1999, almost 10 years ago. ;->

I love to see this stuff finally take root so virally.

Now I gotta get Kawasaki to see the light on RofN. ;->

Obama for President Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Obama for President

Bluetooth headset for Mac? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named headset.jpgI've been doing my interviews with a new USB headset I bought on Saturday at Fry's. It's pretty good, except there's a hum, and the volume is pretty low, so the person I'm interviewing comes through louder than I do.

I'd like to nail the quality issue, so I've been looking into other choices for USB headsets.

Then I wondered if the Bluetooth headsets for cell phones work with Macs?

I read some of the product descriptions on Amazon, and it's not clear. They say they work with Skype, so that must mean they work with laptops and desktops, right?

So the question -- is anyone using a Bluetooth headset with a Mac? If you use a USB headset is there one you recommend or don't?

Update #1: Based on advice from early commenters I ordered a Sennheiser USB headset from Amazon. I figure if any of them are high quality this one is, I'm definitely going to buy a Bluetooth headset, I've never owned one, I figure I should try it out, they're not very expensive. I do have Bluetooth headphones from Motorola, courtesy of Sprint. So I'll try those out with the Mac now that I know they're supposed to work. ;->

Update #2: Here's the Bluetooth headset I'm getting.

Update #3: Chuck Shotton got the Bluetooth headset I'm getting.

TWiT follow-up Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I was a guest on Leo LaPorte's TWiT a couple of Sundays ago. It was fun, we had an interesting discussion about a lot of things, including the ideal podcast player device.

I've gotten a bunch of email from people who use Nokia cell phones and their N800 and N810, and say they do what I was asking about.

Could be so.

A picture named n800.gifI bought a N800 but never got it working in any meaningful way. I think it's a really poorly designed product. Does it have a podcatcher? Never found it. Never even got it to connect to my wifi reliably. After putting in a bunch of hours I gave up -- I wasn't getting anywhere. The Nokia guys told me they were going to send me a phone with a podcatcher built-in but they never did. It's a little too expensive for me to buy one just to find out what the software does. And as I said the N800 was a real bad experience. And I'm not going to shell out $400-plus just to find out if the N810 is more usable than the N800. If they want to send a review unit I'll try it out (I've already told this to their rep).

To their credit, Nokia actually does coordinate with bloggers, almost none of the other device and hardware manufacturers do, so my ability to review stuff is limited by what I'd pay money for. Not a bad limit btw, there's an implied endorsement of products I had to pay for to review.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, March 12, 2008. Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Olbermann special comment Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Fantastic 10-minute essay by Countdown's Keith Olbermann about the racism of Geraldine Ferraro and how it reflects on Clinton and her supporters. Here's the audio.

He hits all the major points, clearly, powerfully and leaves HRC a way to regain the respect of Americans for whom racial politics are unacceptable.

I would never stand by and say nothing when people tried to keep an African-American in his or her place, as the Clintons have repeatedly tried to do with Obama. It was over exactly this issue that I went with Obama, after comments made by President Clinton during the race for South Carolina.

1/24/08: "There are good reasons why the first lady (or first spouse) isn't actively involved in running the government, so we don't have to understand how good their marriage is, and they get a tiny bit of privacy."

I can't imagine any American, no matter what party they belong to, supporting the racial arrogance of Ferraro. But I go further than Olbermann, I think Clinton should return the money that Ferraro has raised, and not accept any further funds. It's not enough to reject and denounce racism, you also must not profit from it.

Wedging the electorate Permanent link to this item in the archive.

There's no mystery why race keeps coming up in the Democratic race, injected by the Clintons. If they can get white people to vote white and blacks to vote black, they win.

I recorded a very brief podcast on my daily walk that explains.

Twitter is not a chatroom Permanent link to this item in the archive.

When you want a chatroom, use IRC...

Links for 03/12/2008 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

War in Iran before Bush leaves? What this Tweet points to.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, March 11, 2008. Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hillary for Republican Veep? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

You love Hillary and you love McCain.

They're both ready from Day One to cross the threshold as Commander-In-Chief.

Isn't it terrible that you have to choose one over the other?

Well, maybe you don't have to choose! ;->

PS: Vote for the new Republic dream team on Digg!

Links for 03/11/2008 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Texas caucus results won't be available until March 29. What this Tweet points to.

Video of Ferarro on Fox News, explaining her racial comments about Obama. What this Tweet points to.

Google announces layoffs. (Not a typo.) What this Tweet points to.

ReadWriteWeb on Twine: "Feels half baked." What this Tweet points to.

Ads should show Obama doing things, actively leading. What this Tweet points to.

Interview with Scoble Permanent link to this item in the archive.

15-minute interview with Scoble mostly about conferences and the SXSW "trainwreck" interview of Mark Zuckerberg by BusinessWeek reporter Sarah Lacy.

I have a laundry list of questions that we didn't get to, so I want to do another basic background interview with Scoble.

Note: I had trouble with this recording, since I lowered the bitrate in Audio Hijack Pro, it produced an M4A file instead of an MP3. I had to learn how to do the conversion. It turns out that iTunes has this capability built-in.

Nicco's site, day 2 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A commenter notes: "SonicWALL has [Nicco's] site classified as pornography."

It appears Google is at the root of all the trouble.

The final finale of The Wire Permanent link to this item in the archive.

It was great. Very satisfying in most ways, and predictable when it was not.

I love it when they finish something great so well.

Mazel tov!!

Permanent link to archive for Monday, March 10, 2008. Monday, March 10, 2008

Interview with Guy Kawasaki Permanent link to this item in the archive.

20-minute interview with evangelist Guy Kawasaki on Microsoft, Twitter, SXSW, how to do interviews, Apple, RSS.

Picture of Guy's MacBook Air with hookups.

A picture named guysMacBookAir.jpg

My notes for the Kawasaki interview.

You can subscribe to my podcasts using this feed.

Who should I interview next? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I have a great rig here and I'm learning how to use it.

I can interview any willing interviewee with a telephone. I can do the interview when I'm at my desktop, or with somewhat less fidelity, using my iPhone from the road.

I like the 15-20 minute format.

I've interviewed Guy Kawasaki, Joe Trippi, Steve Gillmor, Marc Canter, Jay Rosen, Scott Rosenberg, George Lakoff.

Who should I interview next?

PS: Lots of great suggestions. I'm interested in either talking with people I know well, because it's easy for me to pull a good story out of them. Or people who have a new product, esp one related to products I use. Or people involved with national politics because that's a current focus for me. Better if there are people who mix all these.

We're trying Chatterous tonight Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Passcode: 2chil

What is it? I have no clue.

I found out about it from this Seattle P-I piece.

Come over and help us figger it out. ;->

Danes in Berkeley Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named danesInBerkeley.jpg

Thomas Madsen-Mygdal & Steffen Tiedemann Christensen visit from Copenhagen.

They are founders of the photo sharing site 23.

Thomas runs the popular and much-loved Reboot conference in Copenhagen.

Nicco says: Google = Evil Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I've reposted his piece here in full, in case Google/Firefox is blocking his site.

Today's Clinton conference call MP3 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Retired military who support Clinton...

Democrats waste opportunity Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named bushBushClinton.jpgI listened to all the Sunday news shows on the major networks, Face The Nation, Meet the Press, This Week. I even did one myself. On all these shows, all that was talked about was the Democratic race for the nomination for President. Almost everyone on the shows were Democrats. The token Rep, Ed Rollins, was very polite and respectful of the Dems.

You'd think the Dems could find some way to use this advantage. But all they can talk about is each other. None of them talk about us. What they can do for us, why we should support them.

This is just like the Browser Wars in the software biz. Two big companies fighting with each other, neither of them listening to users, making their products better, fixing bugs, improving performance, adding new features. None of that. All their energy was devoted to each other. It's simpler of course to focus your energy on a small target, but the job of a software developer isn't to depose another software developer, it's to make better products and services for users.

It happened again with the Java Wars. What was accomplished there? Not much. Maybe today Java would run better in more places. Maybe the dev tools would be better. I have no idea. But instead of talking about what we liked in software, they were talking about each other.

There's a lesson here. The Internet and politics are merging, just as the Internet and technology did. When it's all said and done, we will have the equivalent of User Generated Content in politics, although it will never be as tame as that "frame" implies. The founders of our country believed in the power of the people and set up a system that would be hard for a king to rule. Yet our political system today very much resembles a monarchy and the political spectacles are fights to the death that simply don't matter, they just determine which family is stealing from us.

A picture named mccain.gifI watched McCain on 60 Minutes last night and was astonished when he said that waterboarding is torture (this from a man who has been tortured himself). He said Japanese were convicted of war crimes after WWII for waterboarding. The interviewer asked how America got to this place, and McCain said the politicians stopped listening to the military. Okay that's a bit of a cop-out, but still, I was impressed. Not the usual humiliating lies we've come to expect from his party.

Of the three candidates running now the only one I could never vote for is Hillary Clinton.

I was seriously considering voting for Clinton in the Calif primary, but when they turned to race in South Carolina, that's when I remembered how miserable they were when he was President. That the Clintons will do anything to win was brought home when she said last week that she and McCain had crossed the "threshhold" and had the experience to be CINC, but Obama did not. From that moment on I thought of Clinton in the same way I think of Joe Lieberman, a pathetic little faux Democrat who would change parties if they had an ounce of honor or integrity. The idea of campaigning for the Republic candidate while running for the Democratic nomination -- there are few things more despicable.

A picture named sanMarzano.jpgMeanwhile, Obama was coasting. His first speeches were inspiring. But then as he took the lead in primaries, there were no more new ideas, not even new stories. I can recite them all by heart. This is a problem, because we're all wondering if he'll really be different when he becomes President. When he thought he had the nomination locked he started cruising, one wonders if his ambition stops at being President. Will he really put us all to work, pitching in to make American better, and a force for good in the world, living up to our hype? We tell everyone else that we're the leaders of the free world, but what kind of freedom do we offer? And what about long-term investment in the US? There are people on the Gulf Coast who feel like finding a new country, they're so forgotten by this one. How are we going to compete with growing economies on other continents. What about our education and health care systems. Getting elected is only the first step. It's like an entrepreneur getting funded. It's what you do after getting power that matters. I'd say based on what we've seen so far, there are at least some questions about whether Obama really means what he says. But he still has my endorsement. He's the only candidate this year that I want to vote for. Hell, he's the only candidate I've wanted to vote for since 1972, and I was too young to vote then.

A picture named warKittens.jpgObama, start communicating with your troops directly -- don't do all your communication through TV. Pour big bucks into commercials that run on YouTube. Involve your people here on the net. We like the idea of all of us pitching in to make America a force for good. And use the fact that you control the conversation re the Republics to move beyond their style of politics. Don't just say you want to do it -- do it.

There's no doubt that Hillary wants to have a conversation with you about her and you. You have to change the subject, it's not enough to say she's wrong. Let's get beyond this.

Links for 03/10/2008 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

NY Mag interview with Joe Trippi. What this Tweet points to.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 09, 2008. Sunday, March 09, 2008

Joe Trippi on this week's Sunday Gang Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Nicco and I discuss Democratic politics with Joe Trippi.

We talked with him via Skype at his home in Maryland.

A picture named notesSmall.gif

I scanned my notes into Flickr.

Links for 03/09/2008 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Charles Cooper supports the public release of campaign conference call MP3s. What this Tweet points to.

Must-read: Marc Cooper compares Samantha Power with the Clintons on genocide and Rwanda. What this Tweet points to.

Maybe Obamaman should name his VP now Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named spiderman.gifFirst, I can't get this video of this adorable kid out of my head. It was sent to me by Ross Mayfield, and I think it might be his son? This is one smart kid, probably the kind who will grow up to start a company and will be able to lead people because they all love him. I dare you to watch the video without loving the kid.

He calls the likely Democratic nominee for President Obamaman. So I call him that now too. ;->

Read this comment by Josh Whalen who says that Obama should name his VP now. He even says who he should name. I think the first half might be right, not sure about his choice.

I'd like to see Obama choose Jim Webb, first-term Democratic senator from Virginia, a sizable state that usually goes Republican that Obama could carry in the fall. Having Webb on the ticket, a white male with a strong military background, ex Secretary of the Navy under a Republican president, Reagan, and a fantastic fighter, a no-bullshit debater, who can bring the battle to the Clintons and their surrogates. Let Webb organize the fight, and Obamaman stays above it. Webb is enough of an idealist to fit in the Obama regime, but he gets angry in a very productive way. I've watched him on Meet The Press, arguing with one of McCain's chief surrogates, Lindsey Graham, and he's hot shit. An attractive choice, imho.

It may be time for Obamaman to let us dream about his team, without a Clinton anywhere in sight. Goodbye Hillary. Goodbye Bill. Thanks for the memories, now get off the stage.

Hot products make successful startups Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named uma.gifThere's a thread on Techmeme about startups and money, and how important it is that they watch every penny.

Mike Arrington says they must do this or fail. Something really bothered me about this, and I couldn't immediately put my finger on it, but then I re-read the piece in the morning and it struck me.

Companies can't watch every penny. Of course everyone you hire in a startup has stock options, so theoretically they're all doing everything they can to make the company successful at all times. But that's just a theory, even the founder isn't going to watch every penny. You go out to eat a nice sushi dinner with people you want to influence, you go to a nice restaurant, order a nice bottle of wine. All that adds up to a lot of pennies that weren't watched.

As a general rule, no one in a startup works harder than the founder, and no one watches pennies more carefully than the founder. If the founder upgrades to business class, so does everyone else.

Companies even small ones are out of control messes that waste a lot of everything. All organizations do. Can't help it.

Yet some of them don't fail.

Imho, having started two companies -- one that failed and one that succeeded, and watched dozens of others over 30 years, the difference is the ones that succeed have a hot product that lots of people want, and the ones that fail don't. I don't think whether you savor every penny makes much of a difference, in fact if you pinch them too hard your people are going to hate you, and they have to love the founder, just as the customers must and the press and even the competitors.

When I think about the people who had runaway successes that made them fortunes the ones that had great products and were admired by many were the ones that really hit it out of the park. I can't think of anyone who had a great product and failed because they didn't watch every penny.

Clocks turn themselves Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Last night was the "spring forward" night.

Spring forward fall back.

And it's a sign of the times that most of the clocks in the house took care of themselves. The wall clocks have radio receivers that receive the time from a government clock, and when there's a difference, the clocks self-adjust.

All the computers self-adjust too.

My watch does not, and I had to change it manually. But so far that's the only one.

But maybe Amazon S3 is having a problem?

Weird message, it showed up four times and then went away.

Oh well. Onward! ;->

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 08, 2008. Saturday, March 08, 2008

If you followed me on Twitter... Permanent link to this item in the archive.

You'd know that...

A picture named obamaGirl.jpgThe 3AM ad uses stock photos. The girl in the ad is grown up now. And guess what? She supports Obama! (Oh the humanity.)

She was a precinct captain for Obama in Washington! (Thank you Fox News.)

I'm watching Fox because CNN was pissing me off with all their "Hillary has momentum" bullshit. Weird that Fox is much easier to watch.

Google News search for "Casey Knowles."

The best tomato sauce Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named sanMarzano.jpg

Smafulli, a Twitterer from Milano, has his own favorite sauce.

DerekTut digs San Marzano too, in Brooklyn. ;->

Quick podcast while driving Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Thinking about tomorrow's Sunday Gang podcast...

Want to talk about the final finale of The Wire? Trade theories about how the show will end. Will it be a lame ending like The Sopranos (my opinion) or satisfying like Six Feet Under?

BTW, I had hoped to go to the Legal Futures conf at Stanford, but there's no public parking. Oh well. (Luckily I have EVDO so I can post on the road, but not while driving of course.)

MP3 of Clinton conference call Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A conference call focusing on foreign policy and more Obama-bashing.

Good that the reporters are calling them on it.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 07, 2008. Friday, March 07, 2008

Interview with Steve Gillmor Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I thought we'd do another 15-minute interview, this time with Steve Gillmor, who does the NewsGang website and daily podcast, he's one of the proto-podcasters, and all around wise guy.

It came out great, but it was actually 44 minutes. ;->

Steve and I talked about developer platforms, Microsoft, Apple & Google, and Democratic Party politics.

Interview with Marc Canter Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Marc wrote a blog post after hearing Ray Ozzie's keynote at MIX 08 in Las Vegas, giving it rave reviews.

So I wanted to hear direct from Marc why it was so great. We had a 15-minute talk about this and lots of other things.

I'm really getting into these short interview-style podcasts, doing some of them with Cinch and others with Skype, depending on where I am when I get the idea.

Dan Farber wrote up Ozzie's keynote.

MP3 of today's Clinton conference call Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Just got this MP3 of this morning's conference call from the Clinton campaign, where they call for Samantha Powers to resign for calling Clinton a "monster."

If you want to receive all our MP3s in your podcatcher, subscribe to this feed.

MP3 of today's Obama conference call Permanent link to this item in the archive.

An MP3 of today's Obama conference call.

If you want to receive all our MP3s in your podcatcher, subscribe to this feed.

If you were following me on Twitter... Permanent link to this item in the archive.

You'd know that...

New Republic: "Pennsylvania is a swing state that Democrats will almost certainly need to win in November, and Clinton will spend seven weeks and millions of dollars there making the case that Obama is unfit to set foot in the White House. You couldn't create a more damaging scenario if you tried."

Don't know why I didn't see this sooner, but the Clintons are Republics who found a way to run against other Republics.

The beauty of Samantha Power's resignation over calling Hillary a monster is that it guarantees that the association of Hillary with that perfectly accurate word, will be smeared all over the nightly news and the front pages of every newspaper. Probably with not too flattering pictures of Hillary looking like a monster. In other words, be careful what you demand resignations over.

MikeA says only one iPhone app can run at a time. This effectively rules out a podcatcher.

I'm easy to find on Twitter.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 06, 2008. Thursday, March 06, 2008

Links for 03/06/2008 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Larry David: "Does anyone want this nut answering the phone?" What this Tweet points to.

New Republic says Michigan will announce its caucus in the next few days. What this Tweet points to.

Clinton running for VP? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Hillary Clinton: "Look, I have said that Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign, I will bring a lifetime of experience and Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002. I think that is a significant difference."

It's been pointed out elsewhere that you say stuff like that if you want the VP nomination, the Republican VP nomination.

In other words she's as much a Democrat as Joe Lieberman is.

Podcast response to Barack Obama Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I got an email from the Obama campaign manager, then Barack Obama added something. They're having a conversation in my inbox and I can't participate. Ooops.

A picture named bushBushClinton.jpgIt's good that we have a chance, once again, before it's too late, to redefine a positive hope-filled candidacy. I admit that some part of me would be satisfied to hit back at the Clintons, hard. I've wanted to do that ever since they were in the White House. But they aren't the issue. We are.

Let's create something great.

I think Obama has lost sight of that, and that's why we're struggling, and scared that we might lose. The first step is to reset all our attitudes. We have to create more meaning out of the Yes We Can idea. We have to apply it to Wyoming, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and beyond, way beyond.

So here's the podcast, it's about 10 minutes long.

Let's get creative.

You can subscribe to my podcasts by subscribing to this feed in your RSS 2.0-compatible podcatcher. .

The Lakoff podcast referred to above, is here

How to subscribe to Scripting News podcasts Permanent link to this item in the archive.

In the last few days I've done a number of interviews, published MP3s of conference calls from the Obama and Clinton campaigns. People have asked for an RSS feed, a legitimate request, of course.

So I made it so that the feed for Scripting News, a feed that's been published continuously since December 1997, has enclosures and can be understood by any RSS 2.0-compatible podcatcher.

If you subscribe, you should get all the MP3s published here.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, March 05, 2008. Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Lakoff hits it out of the park Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I thought today would be a great day to interview UC-Berkeley professor George Lakoff on the Democratic campaign, who should have done what, and how his candidate (and mine) Barack Obama should proceed in the race with Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

Here's the 25-minute interview in an MP3.

I think he hit it out of the park and I hope this makes its way into the Obama campaign. It's got so much more substance than the typical talking head stuff on CNN and MSNBC.

Update: Cross-posted at Huffington.

Today's campaign conference calls Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named hebrewHunk.jpgListen to the Obama and Clinton campaigns spin results from yesterday's primaries in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Sorry I don't have an RSS feed yet for all these podcasts. It's all rushing by so fast, it's the most I can do to get them online and downloadable.

Need some new tools, which I'll have asap.

Morning podcast Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Another in a series of 20-minute interviews with smart people of all walks of life about the political issues of our day.

Today our guest is Scott Rosenberg, former Salon Managing Editor and book author.

This podcast was recorded at 10AM on March 5, 2008, the day after the Ohio and Texas primaries. improved Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Okay the number one complaint about the wonderfully simple Cinch service from BlogTalkRadio was that your feed has your phone number in it.


Now they've added a simple registration feature that allows you to give it a new name and hide your phone number.

I changed my feed to:

You can listen to my first podcast under the new regime.


Quote of the morning Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Politico: "If she wants to make issues like ethics and disclosure and law firms and real estate deals and all that stuff issues, as I've said before I don't know why they'd want to go there, but I guess that's where they'll take the race.'' Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod.

Obama has to fight back and there's lots to discuss. Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, impeachment, disbarment.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, March 04, 2008. Tuesday, March 04, 2008

IRC for Ohio/Texas returns Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named broom.gifI started a chatroom for tonight's primaries.


5PM Pacific: Vermont declared for Obama, the rest are closed or too close to call.

Update: I'm predicting a sweep for Obama tonight. 4-for-4.

5:50PM: Clinton is calling an emergency conference call about "irregularities" in Texas. Okay, she didn't win Texas. Now comes the whining.

John W. McCain Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named snuggle.jpg

McCain loves him some baggage.

Technopeasant News Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Things you would have learned if you followed me on Twitter.

Apparently, I am, according to Andrew Keen, a hippie, academic and peasant. Pretty accurate. I'm a technopeasant.

Andrew Keen once said I should get a Pulitzer. is very nice. If you've been overwhelmed by all the michegas in Pownce you might try this UI.

Me, I'm here for the politics and the raw unadulterated sex. :-)

Twitter doesn't have to implement what Pownce has, as long as Pownce is there. I'm no longer telling asking them to implement payloads.

Hillary is falling.

I have 579 friends on Pownce. (Update: 639.)

I'm not a Democrat. I don't believe that "we" have to win. I'm not part of that "we."

"Hope" is the right thing to be focused on, because normally, we are "hope-less."

Update: Francine Hardaway follows me on Twitter and confirms something a lot of people suspect. She's only seen half of these twits. She thinks Twitter eats these gems. If so that's very bad!

Jay Rosen interview Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A 15-minute Skype interview with NYU journalism prof Jay Rosen about politics, journalism and blogging on "Telltale Tuesday."

Jay's PressThink weblog.

Comparing Twitter and Pownce for payloads Permanent link to this item in the archive.

New development, now when I post a picture to Twitter from my iPhone, it also goes to Pownce.

A screen shot of the Pownce version.

A screen shot of the Twitter version.

We now can see, visually, the difference betw a messaging service that supports payloads and one that doesn't. Not saying one is better than the other, because this is still very much an exploration. But there are definite advantages to each approach. Please consider that before you beg anyone not to listen to anyone else. ;->

Update: I quickly added fields to the flickrToTwitter page to flow pictures to Pownce in addition to Twitter. Screen shot.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, March 03, 2008. Monday, March 03, 2008

Pownce API 2.0, day 2 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I've made good progress wiring up the OPML Editor to Pownce, but I got stuck when it came to posting a media file.

The docs don't say how to encode the data of the file. I guessed that it would be base64-encoded, but it didn't work. If anyone has gotten this working, or knows how to do the encoding, please post a note here. Thanks.

BTW, this is the file I was testing with. It's nowhere near the stated file size limit.

Update: FIle-sharing in Pownce, explained.

A picture named hebrewHunk.jpgUpdate #2: It works. Here's a file that I uploaded, you have to be a logged on and a friend of mine to see it. The key was using a multipart/form-data POST. Highly recommend that the API docs be updated to say just that. It's enough of a clue so that an experienced developer will be able to get it to work with no extra help. Okay I'm happy about this now, I've got payloads working from both ends, under program control. Next thing I'm going to push up to the cloud is a campaign conference call MP3. Good news, we have a partner, a huge media company that decided to work with the bloggers. ;->

Update #3: Here are Pownce entries for today's Obama conference call and the Clinton call. You need to be signed into Pownce to listen in, and be a friend of mine. Just for this experiment. We'll have other ways to download conference calls soon (for example, an RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures).

Inquiring minds want to know! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Cryptically MikeA teases about something new from Om Malik. What is it my brother? We need to know. Now! ;->

Update: It's a new blog about the business of open source.

Valleywag got a legit story, Mike Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named ronaldMcDonald.jpgI posted a comment on a post on TechCrunch by Mike Arrington, re a Valleywag story about Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia.

Mike, I don't like Valleywag, but I think you're wrong in this case. They got a good story because Wikipedia, the publication that Wales runs, has rules that prevent people from editing stories they have an interest in. Wales was trading edits to Rachel Marsden's profile for sex. They got him, and had they left out the parts you don't like, it wouldn't have been clear that they did.

This is not only a good story, but it's an important one. Wikipedia, unlike Valleywag, is widely thought to be authoritative. Those of us it covers who are not friends with Wales know that it is far from authoritative. Both Valleywag and Wikipedia are pretty sleazy, imho, but Valleywag disclaims it, and Wikipedia pretends not to be.

Think about it this way, if we had the guts to challenge Wikipedia, if a glaring mistake was considered a problem in the tech industry, one of two things might happen: 1. They might clean up their act or 2. Entrepreneurs might launch competitive sites that fix its integrity issues.

Interesting comments on this topic on Silicon Alley Insider.

Yesterday: "Wikis are not enough."

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 02, 2008. Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Sunday Gang Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named ronaldMcDonald.jpgI've been a regular watcher of the Sunday morning political talk shows, and I've always in my heart wanted my own show. Then I started talking about it, people kept telling me just do it. So today I did.

My guests are Nicco Mele and Morra Aarons, a married couple, they live in Medford MA. Morra is a frequent guest on CNN and writes at BlogHer. I met Nicco when he was working on the Internet for the Howard Dean campaign in 2004. Nicco was famous for switching to McCain a couple of years ago, but now he appears to have regained his senses. He still likes McCain and explains why in this 33 minute conversation which was cut short by the battery on my phone running out.

The next Sunday Gang show may actually come on Tuesday night, after the returns are in from Texas and Ohio. Hope you enjoy!

PS: I haven't got the RSS feed ready yet, I'll post a link here as soon as it is.

Update: Cross-posted at Huffington.

How many blogging platforms are there? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

My post yesterday about my excitement over innovation in the Pownce API, led to what, in retrospect, was a predictable backlash from users who don't want:

1. Twitter to get more complicated.

2. To switch to a service with less users.

3. To switch to another service.

And who do want:

1. Twitter to get more reliable.

I feel largely the same way, even so, I'm still going to:

1. Fill out the connective glue between my development environment and Pownce.

2. Revise my Flickr and podcasting tools to post to Pownce in addition to Twitter.

3. Possibly develop new services that can only work with Pownce because of their (new) API advantage over Twitter.

Now, what does this mean for the market? Hard to know for sure, but here's what it could mean:

1. Twitter might be inspired to match the features in the Pownce API, thus blunting the new edge Pownce has.

2. Pownce could become more popular and may prove to have the same or worse scaling problems than Twitter.

3. Pownce could retain its edge, allowing different kinds of apps to be built that run on their network, and both continue to grow and deal with scaling in their own ways.

4. Something else.

I'm pretty sure what won't happen is:

1. Pownce kills Twitter.

In blogging there are many platforms and related technologies. They all work differently and appeal to different groups of people. I suspect that's what's going to happen here.

Ouch Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I looked up blogging to find the names of some more obscure ones, the first hit was the Wikipedia page, and out of curiosity I searched the page for my name. It's not there. All kinds of people get credit for building blogging as a practice and tools for blogging, but apparently, according to Wikipedia, I had nothing to do with it, nor did Scripting News or UserLand.

Anticipating some of the lectures I'm likely to get, no I can't fix it, for two reasons: 1. It would be like editing my own bio page (which I haven't looked at in ages, and don't want to). 2. It would certainly get reverted in seconds.

Of course it's likely this will be changed within minutes of my posting this. Check back later to see how it is after this has scrolled off. And that's why, btw, we need blogs, wikis are not enough. Otherwise we'd all have to accept the mass view of history, as filtered through trolls. Blogging lets you object to the democratic view, and may result in a more accurate story. I say may, and not will, because it seems people are willing to accept Wikipedia as authoritative.

Oh well. Sighh.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 01, 2008. Saturday, March 01, 2008

The verdict is in: The Pownce API kicks Twitter's ass Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Sorry Ev and Biz and Jack, but they got your number over there at Pownce.

I've been asking Twitter to support payloads for months now, and now I have what I was asking for, but it came from Pownce, and it's beautifully implemented, far more than what I was asking Twitter for.

Let me state the problem.

I was at the Apple store in Palo Alto today, and I snap a picture on my iPhone and shoot it up to Flickr. I have an agent running on my server that watches for new pictures on Flickr. When it detects one, it posts a link to the picture on Twitter. Here's what that looks like.

It's great because it works, not because it's pretty because it's not pretty. See the URL there. I'd much rather have it be an icon. That was the plan for the Payloads feature.

Earlier today I heard that Pownce has version 2 of their API that includes posting new messages. A message can have a link. So I wrote a script to test that out. After three tries it worked. Here's the equivalent to the Twitter post above, in Pownce.

Look at how beautiful it is. Exceeded my wildest dreams. Oh man. It looks better than it does on Flickr!

Twitter was my first love, but now I'm seriously considering a fling with Pownce.

PS: If you can't read the Pownce post, here's a screen shot.


I'm a California voter for Obama.

A picture named dave.jpgDave 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.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"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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My most recent trivia on Twitter.

On This Day In: 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998.

March 2008
Feb   Apr

Lijit Search
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?
25.Time to shake up conferences?
26.Bloggers working with journalists.

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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