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

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, August 31, 2008. Sunday, August 31, 2008

Republican humor Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I've been blogging a long long time. You can see my mistakes, things I got wrong, and the few I got right. I like to put my stake in the ground, and when I go back sometimes it makes me feel humble.

A picture named byeByeSaysDubya.gifThere was a time, believe it or not, there was a time when I liked George W. Bush as President.

On March 27, 2001, I wrote: "There's something satisfying about the Bush Presidency, and for a time I couldn't put my finger on exactly what it is. Now I think I get it. If this guy could be president, anyone could. He bumbles along twisting around his mouth when he speaks, with his Texas accent that I don't believe. I imagine him on the scene of The West Wing, reading his lines, and sipping his coffee saying "Oh this is really good coffee, thanks." He gets his cues from Dick Cheney, but he could just as easily get them from a TV series director. Smile here. Say something nice about America. Good job Dubya. Excellent."

Can you believe it!

Anyway, last night, I went to dinner with some friends in Berkeley (it's good to be home), at a very nice Thai/Vietnamese restaurant. The waitress, a sweet Asian woman, was very polite and had a nice smile. One of my dinner companions said: "Maybe she should be Vice-President!"

We all had a hearty laugh. ;->

More Republican humor Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Worth reading, Maureen Dowd's op-ed in today's Times.

Summary -- the McC choice of Palin is the plot of a low budget chick flick. Now, picking up the story where she left off...

A picture named missile.gifThe wrinkly white haired dude and the VP-chick win the election and just after he's inaugurated, the old guy dies suddenly and she's sworn in, over the objections of all the white males on the old dude's staff and the leading members of Congress including the fat white male Speaker of the House played by John Goodman (ignoring for a moment that the actual Speaker is a spry foxy grandma type). Donald Sutherland plays the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who does the swearing-in.

She gets a chance to redectorate the Oval Office in pink and throws a frat party at the White House for her friends from Alaska, who do funny farting and belching scenes in austere parts of the White House supervised by stuffy old maids and butlers and a corrupt Chief of Staff who the chick-Pres fires when she finds out he's been mean to one of her Alaskan friends.

Things are settling down to normal when the second Cuban Missle Crisis starts. It's looking pretty tough for our heroine when her husband, riding his snowmobile across the Bering Straight, throws a keg party for the guys manning the Russian missile silos in Kamchatka and convinces them to reprogram the computers to point their missiles back at Moscow. The Russians, who are fed up with white men too, and want to break their own glass ceiling, overthrow Putin and elect a hot Russian babe to be President, and the final scene is a summit meeting in a hot tub with the two Presidents comparing breast pumping techniques, drinking a beer and of course enjoying a moose bratwurst.

Turns out Russians and Alaskans have a lot more in common than you might think.

Update: Cross-posted at Huffington.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, August 30, 2008. Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bumper sticker Permanent link to this item in the archive.

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Almost home Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'm writing this from the rest stop at Donner Summit on I80. (The precise coordinates were provided by the GPS in my EVDO modem -- gotta love the technology.)

Three or four hours left on my road trip.

I found an archive of DNC speeches on WNYC and listened to both Clintons, John Kerry, Al Gore and the finale, Barack Obama.

I have not heard one minute of pundit commentary on these speeches, and I saw them all live. So I am untainted by anything but the direct experience of listening to what the Democratic Party, as led by Barack Obama, had to say last week, and I am much more than impressed, I am blown away.

It's incredibly literate and intelligent and these people, not all of whom have always been great orators, have risen to the occasion, and the ones that were great (Bill Clinton and Obama) have reached new heights.

Finally, American politics that's worth listening to and participating in.

One of my first tasks when I get home will be to prepare a BitTorrent archive of all the speeches. I urge you as strongly as I possibly can, to give them all a serious listen. It may well change how you feel about the United States. And forget what Wolf Blitzer and Chris Matthews and Anderson Cooper and Larry King say, they're idiots, they have no ideas, and are owned by corporate media. Trust me -- it's great stuff, and the convention was wonderful. I've heard from others that they're spinning it otherwise. They're full of it.

Okay back to the highway!! ;->

Permanent link to archive for Friday, August 29, 2008. Friday, August 29, 2008

Initial thoughts on the Palin nomination Permanent link to this item in the archive.

1. It certainly was creative and thought-stimulating.

2. However... it shows McCain thought he was losing to Obama and needed to do something bold that would stir things up. And he certainly did that.

3. However... no matter how well they vetted her, even if nothing terrible shows up, she has no experience in the world, and virtually no experience in the United States. What does she know about American cities? Our industries and businesses? Economic issues? Balance of trade? The military? Katrina? He picked her because she was the governor from the state that was furthest away from Washington. Point made. But despite what the Republicans say about her qualifications, she has no grounding to run this country. Might as well pick someone from another country.

4. They say she's as qualified as Obama, but that's wrong. They should get to know Obama's background and how intelligent and studious and thoughtful he is. Read his books. He's incredibly well educated, and I'm sorry running a successful campaign for the Democratic nomination for President is much more experience than being the governor of a very small state with no budget problems (they have a built-in surplus because of tax revenue from their natural resources and a very small population to spread it out over -- Alaska is a very strange state, unlike any of the other 49).

Update: Read this Huffpost piece for a deeper look at #4.

5. The decision certainly was creative, but it won't age well. It will look like a desperate dumb move a couple of weeks from now. As stupid as trying to take and control Iraq without enough troops, without a plan for the occupation. It's the Republican approach to problems, shoot from the hip without thinking things through. The invasion of Iraq was certainly a "wow" event -- like the choice of Palin -- but it didn't age well. This is another of those.

6. They can't get Hillary voters with this VP candidate -- Hillary is a progressive, and even most Republican women are pro-choice. Americans are pro-choice. A woman candidate who is pro-life, no matter how attractive, doesn't have much appeal in this country, another tone-deaf decision by McCain, the kind of decision you don't want a President making. Sure Hillary got some votes from Republicans who crossed over during the primaries, because the Republican primary was decided early, and Rush Limbaugh urged them to interfere. But those people were always going to vote for McCain. This decision shows total disrespect for the American electorate as if they only vote based on symbolism.

7. Net-net -- it's a PR stunt designed to draw attention from the press away from Obama. It will do that, but not for very long. Obama is a fantastic organizer. They will get the votes, and gimmicks won't convince very many people to vote Republican even if it does fuel punditry and political blogging. But even the pundits will decide at some point, finally, that this country needs leadership more than gimmicks. She's not a serious candidate for vice-president. Choosing a president is a serious thing. That's the only point the Democrats have to make to dispose of this.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, August 28, 2008. Thursday, August 28, 2008

Inside Mile High Stadium Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I just got settled in at the blogger's booth in the press section at Mile High Stadium.

The line was unbelievably long, but eventually it moved very quickly. Getting 80K people in through security in a couple of hours is a huge job. Eventually I got pushed ahead because of my media credential. I'm uploading some pictures and movies that tell the story.

Video: Hot people waiting in line.

The famous stage with the doric columns.

I took a lot more pictures and movies, as I write this it's too late to try to list them all. The series starts here, in Flickr. Hope you enjoy them!

Tomorrow morning early my roadtrip home begins, so posting will be light at least until tomorrow evening, perhaps not until I get back to California. I want to get home in time to watch the Republican convention on TV, if they don't postpone it because of Gustav. (BTW, I tried to get credentials for their convention, but was turned down.)

Who will be the Republican VP nominee? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Lots of speculation in the political blogosphere about the Republican VP. Supposedly McC has already made his choice, to be announced tomorrow morning. Who do you think he chose and why? Who would be good for Democrats.. Bad?

I think Romney would be his most powerful choice, I hope he chooses Lieberman -- I think he'd be the easiest to run against. I don't see too many Republicans going for him, and no one wants a traitor a heartbeat from the Presidency esp when the Presidential candidate is 72 and a cancer survivor.

That's what I think, what do you think??

PS: Lieberman ran for the Democratic presidential nomination just 4 years ago.

Update: The AP all-but says McC has chosen Pawlenty.

Bill Clinton got it back Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named one.jpgFirst a disclaimer, I didn't like Bill Clinton as President. But over time my feelings toward him mellowed, and I gave him full credit for inspiring the Democrats to give Rove & Co hell in the 2006 election, winning back control of Congress.

No doubt Bill Clinton knows how to get people to work for him, he was good enough to get elected President twice, and over the years his skill has matured. But I didn't expect the tour de force I saw last night. It was the best political speech I've ever seen, he hit all the points, his gestures, his timing, his facial expressions were artfully perfect. There was something for everyone, and despite what the Republicans are saying, he charmed everyone in the hall, and probably most of the people watching on TV. If you didn't see the speech, you owe it to yourself to seek it out on the Democrats website. In the realm of politics this was a Sistine Chapel, a Mona Lisa, a Statue of Liberty.

There were so many good lines, but the one that made me laugh the loudest was when the crowd quieted down afterr chanting Yes We Can, Yes We Can, Clinton paused and began his next paragraph as if it all had been scripted (maybe it was) Yes He Can, and then talked about Obama and what a great President he will be. Everyone was happy to hear him praise the younger Future President, such graciousness begets much love in return, the way he did it, it sort of chokes you up. (Makes you wonder what the convention would have been like if Hillary had won.)

So Bill Clinton now occupies a position that no one else has occupied in the age of television and the Internet, the powerfully charming super-statesman, two-term ex-president, still young, unlike Reagan, with many years to go before retiring. A far cry from the lout who campaigned so aggressively and unfairly, and reminded us that lurking inside that statesman's body is a child who, when he loses control, can be very dangerous to himself and the rest of us.

Update: The Clinton speech is on Youtube via CSPAN.

The Asus works Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I brought both my trusty but big 17-inch MacBook Pro and the tiny Asus Eee PC. I was hoping the Asus would be up to being my sole reporting notebook, that I wouldn't have to lug both computers with me from event to event.

I was concerned that the keyboard would prove too small for writing, and that the Windows-based tools would prove too unfamiliar, but I'm happy to report that the Asus performed like a champ. The MacBook stayed at home during the DNC, and my load was light, with just the tiny Asus, which got a lot of attention, people wanted to know about the tiny computer, and were amazed that it cost just $600.

The Sprint EVDO and Siera wireless modem also worked flawlessly everywhere in Denver, in the Pepsi Center, backstage, in Starbucks (where I'm writing this now).

Further, the keyboard works, even though I have huge hands and fat fingers. You can learn how to touch type on this keyboard, as I write this I'm loooking out the window at the traffic on 16th St, and only had to look at the key board to ffind the numeric keys. Otherwise, I l4eft the errors in so you could see how accurate you can be with this keyboard.

The machine does go to sleep for a few seconds while I'm typing from time to time, very annoying. I hope to get to the bottom of why it's doing this and stop it.

The only thing I wish it had was more space on disk. I got the model with a solid state disk, I guess it's Flash memory? It's split into two virtual drives, about 10GB total. Not enough storage. I supplemented it with a 16GB SD card, but that's a bit of a PITA because that's how I get pictures off my camera, so I'm always swapping the SDs out. Pretty sure I'm going to lose one eventually.

One thing I haven't figured out is what Paint program to use for cropping and resizing graphics. That's why you don't see pictures in the margins of my writing this week. I have very modest needs. I used to use Adobe ImageReady but I don't know how to install it on this computer becausee it doesn't have a CD drive. If anyone can recommend a lightweight and easy, but good picture editing program for Windows, it would be much appreciated.

But net-net I'm happy, my back is happy. It's been hot here in Denver this week and being able to move around without the MacBook has been a pleasure. Oddly, I don't mind using XP at all and I go back and forth between it and the Mac without problem, so far.

Photo: Size comparison -- MacBook vs Asus.

The community system for DEMO Permanent link to this item in the archive.

When I was in Boulder on Sunday, David Cohen and Brad Feld, the organizers of TechStars, kindly set up four meetings for me with Boulder startups they thought I'd find interesting. It was great fun! Bright motivated people with big ideas, the discussions were interesting and I learned a lot.

One of the companies is EventVue, who, like a company I invested in last year, is doing software to manage online communities around physical world conferences. Their customers are the conferences themselves. EventVue helps participants find each other, and gives them tools to describe and share their experinces at the conference.

This week they're announcing that they have a customer that you'd think they'd pay for the priviledge of serving, the DEMOfall conference in San Diego, Sept 7-9. But to my surprise, they're being paid for providing the service. It should prrovide some very valuable exposure to this Colorado-based startup.

The DEMO announcement is online now, as is a site Scripting News readers can explore to get an idea of how the service works.

I hope to write up the other companies as they have stories to tell.

I should meet with random startups more often -- I get ideas and get my enthusiasm for tech entrepreneurship is renewed.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, August 27, 2008. Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Arrest Bush Permanent link to this item in the archive.

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Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, August 26, 2008. Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Anti-abortion protest at DNC Permanent link to this item in the archive.

As we were going into the DNC this afternoon our path was blocked by a crowd of police, press and a handful of protestors and priests.

#1: Roe v Wade survivor.

#2: Protestors.

#3: Arrests.

MP3s of DNC speeches? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

David Morrison, via email: "I've been reading your site for a few years now, and couldn't think of anyone else to ask this question to. Are there any feeds or releases of the Democratic Convention speeches in just audio format. I'm traveling out of country, can't sit and watch on a computer, and don't have the bandwith to download video. Been searching for a few days, and can't seem to find anything. Seems amazing that this 'high tech' campaign doesn't have this easily availible."

This is a HAPPY convention Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Just got a comment from Mark Dzmura saying that Fox and CNN are reporting that there is racial discord at the DNC, and I want to say that's absolutely not true. It's bright and sunny and hot in Denver and eveyrone here, including the Hillary people, blacks and whites and every other color, are happy and looking forward to the campaign and election. Lots of smiles, high fives and good nature. It's a much more positive feel than 2004. Glad there are bloggers here to help set the record straight. I'll be uploading some pics soon to illustrate.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, August 25, 2008. Monday, August 25, 2008

First Biden appearance in Denver Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I was walking on 16th St in Denver at noon and saw that there were a lot more people on the street than there had been a few minutes before; all walking in the same direction, fast, reporters with TV crews. And cops, and then down Larimer we could see an entourage of black SUVs with flashing lights waiting. "Something's going on!"

Joe Biden, in our presence!!

So we followed the reporters, pushed our way to the front of the crowd, and asked what's going on, they said "Joe Biden." There were members of his press pool nearby. I asked how long there had been a press pool for Biden, and was told this was the first first event, in fact it was his first public appearance since being chosen by Obama as his runninng mate.

A huge crowd gathered -- a few minutes later there was a rush of energy and there he was. I held my camera over my head and snapped picture after picture, a few movies. I didn't get to shake his hand, but I did take in the scene. It was really hot. A lot of excitement and enthusiasm for the guy. He cracked a few jokes about how hungry he was and he was looking forward to the BBQ and walked up to the stand and ordered something. There was even a press crew inside the stand! The place was absolutely crrawling with reporters and cameras.

After a while we found a quiet place to upload a picture and a movie, probably the first pictures of the event to make it out of Denver (assuming there wasn't any live coverage).

It was pure luck that we happened to cross paths with Biden's entourage. If we had headed out for lunch just a few minutes earlier we wouldn't have.

Evening pictures Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I walked through a door I shouldn't have and all of a sudden I'm walking around among all these famous politiicans and news people. Only got a good picture of John Kerry, and a movie of Sean Hannity and a movie of John Kerry.

I also uploaded a movie of the convention floor in motion.

FriendFeed updates Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'm sitting in the nosebleeds at Pepsi waiting for Jimmy Carter to speak, and then FriendFeed releases its new beta. Good timing! Gives me something to do while the speakers go on and on and...

Not sure what to do with the sub-lists feature, that's going to take some processing, but...

I found one hidden feature that's definitely worth calling out.

I can read someone else's feed and see what they see. That will, as Bret Taylor says, give us an easy way to show people what FF looks like to us. I'm sure itll be confusing to a lot of people, FF is a rich and complex product even though it has a very simple set of rules. Any way of discovering what its like in all its richness is worth it.

The blogger space at the DNC Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Here's a quick picture of the blogger's space at the DNC, and after working here for a few minutes I ache to get back on the road. This is a far cry of the space we had at the DNC in 2004. We were in the nosebleed seats, but we had a constant view of the whole scene, the stage, the floor, and could walk around among the other press.

This year we're on the Administrative level, in a concrete bunker, flourescent lighting, and a view of nothing but TV screens. I'd do better in my office at home. I'm going to have to figure out a way to escape these confines or I'm getting on I-70 tomorrow morning and heading west.

Update -- that wasn't the blogger room. The blogger lounge is actually much nicer, softer light, couches, nerdiier looking people. I asked why bloggers get better space, no one seemed to know.

Things I'm still trying to find Permanent link to this item in the archive.

1. The Big Tent.

2. Google's tent. (Ahh, it's the same thing as the Big Tent.)

3. Where the bloggers are hanging out!

4. Friends from Twitter, Berkman, FriendFeed, Silicon Valley, etc.

5. Fun! ;->

Any help would be much appreciated.

PS: Just for fun, here's how the cops get around Denver. They're all very friendly so far, even they think it's funny. So far everyone's getting along great.

IRC space for the DNC Permanent link to this item in the archive.

We clearly need an IRC space for the DNC. So here it is...


Hope to see you there!

PS: This could be an interesting place for people who are here in Denver to ping each other too. Let's have a Scripting News meetup? I'm definitely up for it. I hardly know anyone here! ;->

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, August 24, 2008. Sunday, August 24, 2008

The NY Times is using the same tools I am to cover the DNC Permanent link to this item in the archive.

They have a Flickr stream.

And a Twitter feed..

5:30PM working inside the Pepsi Center Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Uploaded a lot more pictures, and am about to upload a 2 minute tour of the inside of the DNC.

4PM touring the media tents Permanent link to this item in the archive.

It's super hot outside, but the press puts on a good show.

Found free workspace, fast Ethernet and power. Happy blogger.

Now I'm looking for Google's tent, and the unassigned media tent (which is what bloggers are, officially, at the DNC).

Lots of the landscape is familiar, and it was true I'd need to re-experience it to recall the memories.

The photos from this part of the day's exploration begin here.

Inside the Pepsi Center at 2PM Permanent link to this item in the archive.

About to upload some pics and videos.

I'm posting regular updates to Twitter.

When I set out from Berkeley on Tues morning, this was my destination,. A dramatic entrance (movie) into the Pepsi Center, where the Democratic Convention opens tomorrow.

Lots more pictures following.

DNC 2008 sign-in Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'm over the first hurdle getting set up for the Democratic Convention. I've got my press credential for tomorrow. Later today I'm heading over to the Pepsi Center to take some pictures. If you're here and reading this let's get together to talk politics and tech.

Some pics I took this morning...

Security details everywhere, also lots of volunteers offering help. Everyone's friendly and upbeat.

Obama-branded merchandise is going fast.

This guy looks like Obama, but...

I'm in the hotel where all reporters get their credentials. Spotted one or two famous faces. Got my s.w.a.g. bag.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, August 22, 2008. Friday, August 22, 2008

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

Well, pretty much 1/2 my road trip is finished. Drove from SLC to Laramie yesterday, had dinner with Isobel & Brett, then drove from Laramie to Boulder, a quick drive, and back to urban life. Tired but I've got plenty of time to rest before arriving in Denver on Sunday for the start of the DNC, where I will wear two badges. They decided I was a blogger after all, and I am credentialed press.

A picture named iphone.gifMeanwhile my iPhone crapped out, it says it has no SIM card. Restarting it made it work, for a while, now it doesn't work at all. I'm going to the Apple store in Boulder this evening to see if they can help.

Meanwhile I'm thinking that since I have Sprint EVDO, I could get a deal from them on a cell phone. Anyone have any ideas about that? The EVDO has been working nicely since I reinstalled the software on the Asus, and I've even been getting used to the keyboard. The big question is will I be able to blog the convention with just the Asus, without having to lug around the 17-inch MacBook Pro. The only potential reason not is the keyboard. And it's not a problem if I'm mostly going to do video and pictures, which seems to be my favorite mode these days. That and FriendFeed/Twitter.

BTW, people who have been trying to call me and can't get through, send me an email and I'll call you back if I'm near a phone. Life with a broken iPhone, esp just before a major schmoozing event, not fluid.

I wonder how this convention will differ from the 2004 convention in Boston. I had a lot of fun there, it was the event that launched podcasting to a whole new level. I'll probably remember more about that convention as I go through the routine again this year. I know I'll look for the press room sooner this year than I did last year. As much as I love being a blogger, the reporters covering the convention have interesting stuff to talk about too, and it's different.

Thinking about taking a different route back to the Bay Area.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, August 21, 2008. Thursday, August 21, 2008

XP to Amazon? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named hebrewHunk.jpgI had a random thought today as I read the press release about Amazon's new Elastic Block Store. Once again, I wish the OPML Editor ran on Linux so my software could take advantage of all of Amazon's innovation. I see the Linux guys having the all the fun and I want to play! I wish there was some way we could install XP on one of Amazon's servers. Now that they're trying to retire it in favor of Vista, I wonder if Microsoft would be willing to cut a deal allowing us to install XP in Amazon's cloud? Even better if they did a deal with Amazon so this is just a checkbox.

This must be stopped Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The WSJ reports that the Republicans will have press events in Denver during the Democratic Convention. They even say that the Republicans have found a loophole that allows them access to the floor of the convention. This is not cool.

Here's the relevant quote from the WSJ piece: "Some Republicans will do interviews on the sets of television networks operating in the Pepsi Center, meaning they and the staff escorting them will have access to the site."

A picture named mccainBush.jpgAt some point Obama and the Democrats are going to have to fight back, and it better be soon. McCain's involvement in corruption should be handled in a gloves-off way. Wes Clark's statement that being shot down and imprisoned, while sad is in fact not a qualification for President. The age issue ought to be brought up in a personal way -- related to McCain's stumbles and appearance. Question his mental ability, and how it's not going to get better as McCain ages. Question his health, he's a cancer survivor. Question his education, his honesty, how he treated his first wife, how he cheated on his current wife, and her drug addiction, is she paying taxes on all her property? How many McMansions does McCain need? He's had a government health care program his whole life, how in touch could he be with your life as you deal with medical issues without insurance and face the prospect of losing your home. This guy has 12 homes and a private jet. How out of touch can you get!

Just getting rid of Republican corruption and incompetence is enough change. Stop taking chances with our future Obama, and hit him back hard. And do not allow Giuliani and Romney on the floor of the convention.

Update: He doesn't know how many homes he's got. Excellent. Super-elite and senile. A perfect ad.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, August 20, 2008. Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summer 2008 road trip Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Good morning everybody!

This is Dave coming to you from Salt Lake City, UT.

I'm on my Summer 2008 road trip. Started yesterday at 4AM, and got me into SLC at about 4PM.

Stops include Laramie, WY; Boulder CO and on to Denver on Sunday for the Democratic National Convention. Then four days of watching, listening, talking, and thinking and then back on the road to do it all again!

I tried to set up a LAN in my car, to no avail. There isn't much Sprint EVDO on the road between Reno and Salt Lake. No matter, as it turns out there isn't much I want to say to or hear from the net while on the road.

A picture named tramp.jpgI listened to an excellent Gillmor Gang podcast with Marc Canter and Evan Prodromou of I agree with Steve that must do what Twitter does, and the things Twitter stopped doing (like the hugely important XMPP gateway) but no more.

If a user has to stop and think whether they should use 140 characters or 250 because this micro-message might go through a gateway to Twitter, well, that's the end of right there. Doesn't make it through most people's annoyance filter. Maybe later, when and if takes over the world, but it hasn't happened yet, so for now, do what Twitter does -- and no more.

Also, Twitter does have a hard limit of 140 characters per message. Here's an example. I wrote a script to send a 250 character tweet to Twitter. Here's what showed up on Twitter. 140 characters and no URL linking to an addendum.

Let's try the same on Good, it works identically. (Hence its name.) Keep it that way!

To Steve, there have been URIs for individual twits for a long time. That's not something new with the threading features in Twitter.

I loved that Kevin Marks always has one more half-baked BigCo replacement for something we've in the LittleGuy world have had working for years. Evan does an excellent job of taking it up the butt (I mean that as a compliment) -- BOGU is the way of the software world esp when you're being evangelized by IBM (in the 80s), Microsoft (in the 90s) or Google (in the 00s).

Marc and Steve have great rapport, as good as anything I've heard in podcasting. And Marc, I left a voicemail for you, but given the way the phone company works, you probably won't get it for a few days. Say hi to Doc for me! ;->

A picture named bmx.gifThere's something really spooky about listening to a podcast with these guys interspersed with doing Bluetooth cellphone calls to them at the same time! Oh man, technology is amazing.

Anyway, I am posting pics to Flickr (and Twitter) fairly regularly.

Today I hang out with NakedJen in Salt Lake and might have a meal with Phil Windley and then tomorrow it's back on the road heading into Wyoming.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, August 19, 2008. Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Obama does mean change, here's why Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named think.gifIt's so obvious it's almost mathematical.

After eight years of Bush -- if Obama is elected, everything will be different.

Instead of a President who shoots from the hip and trusts his untrustworthy gut, you'll have a President who gets educated, and chooses teachers who really know their stuff. That's the change Obama will bring to Washington. The rest of it, if you were thinking that all of a sudden one day Washington would work in a fundamentally different way, we can argue over whether it's desirable (I'd say it's not) but we wouldn't have much argument over whether it's possible -- it's not.

And by the way -- when Bush shoots from the hip, he's probably actually doing what the defense and oil industries tell him to do. He's like Columbo, it's easier for them if we think he's a bumbler, no need to look any deeper.

So the first change you'll get from Obama is that he's not Bush. That alone is a lot of change. Now let's stop worrying about it and get on with making sure he wins. (And we, like the Republicans, should do everything and anything we have to do to win. Sorry if you don't like it, but it's too important, too much depends on it.)

Think of it like this. One day you're using Windows and wake up the next day and all your computers are running Mac OS X. It's still a computer. It's still fundamentally the same experience. But it works a bit more logically, and you don't get in trouble as often. It's not foolproof, but it's a bit better.

If you prefer Windows to Mac, switch them around.

McCain, even if he hadn't changed his tune and started acting just like Bush, saying the same nonsensical things that make you think he's now working for the same people Bush is (defense contractors and the oil indiustry), would still be a poor choice re Obama. On the other hand, want to have your eyes opened? Watch the movie Why We Fight and then ask yourself if Obama might not be owned by the same people. If he can prove he's not, then we really might be getting some substantial change.

There are truths to the way our country works that are never talked about on the national stage. Change is possible at that level, but those industries will still have a seat at the table when Obama is President. Eisenhower warned of it in his farewell speech. It's serious stuff.

Bush gave into these people because he is one of them. His VP is a defense contractor. We know at least that Obama is not one of them. Change? Big change.

I wish the leading icons of the Democratic blogosphere would listen to this and stop worrying about the superficial distinctions. This piece was prompted by a Josh Marshall piece on the subject of change. Marshall is great when he doesn't ponder impossibilities. Let's focus on who owns the Presidency and be happy if we've been able to introduce a little pushback to the defense and oil industries, this will make change, if we in fact are able to.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, August 18, 2008. Monday, August 18, 2008

A taste of FlickrFan Permanent link to this item in the archive.

FlickrFan, like all rivers of news, is about flow. In this case it's a flow of pictures, from your contacts on Flickr, from AP and AFP, and from anyone else that you know that provides a feed of high-def pictures.

I like to view the pictures on a big-screen TV that's hooked up to a Mac Mini, but I also use it on my desktop, and various laptops -- no matter where or how you watch, it's an interesting way to view the news.

Then I thought, why not scroll the pictures through a web page, one every few seconds? So last night I put it together, on an experimental basis, and it's pretty interesting! It's just a taste of what you get with FlickrFan, but it doesn't require any software other than a web browser.

A picture named love.gifClick on the link and kick back for a few and let the pics scroll by. Today the news is mostly the Olympics and General Musharraf of Pakistan (he resigned). Last week there were lots of Russian tanks. Tomorrow I bet there will be hurricane pics from Florida. Watch out cause sometimes the pics are not work-safe, usually not because of sex, rather because of blood, even death. But that reflects what's actually happening in the world.

Thanks to two very fine organizations for their support: AFP for their fire-hose of wonderful news pictures, and for hosting the pictures and providing bandwidth. I couldn't afford the hosting myself.

Hope you like it! ;->

Update: Interesting to see Boston.Com going in this direction too.

Catholic League wants offensive bloggers nixed by Dems Permanent link to this item in the archive.

This is really ignorant and crude. There's a misunderstanding that bloggers somehow must have the same politics or even standards as the party who's throwing the convention. I think we should have the Catholic League nixed for being ignorant and crude, and offensive.

A picture named hypee.gif

Thank G-d no one listens to me! ;->

I've got a problem with Firefox 3 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named ronaldMcDonald.jpgNow that the tool I use to manage S3 is available for Firefox 3, I have been able to switch to it, and I have. But there's a real problem with how search works in this browser. It could be there's a simple solution if so, let me know what it is. But right now, it's broken.

Here's the problem -- I go to the search box in the upper right corner of the window and enter a phrase, and click Return. What I expect to happen is that Google opens with results for that search term. What actually happens is that opens with results for that search term. Okay, I figure it's a matter of switching the default, when I go to the popup I expect to see the same choices as in Firefox 2, with Amazon, Yahoo, AOL, Google, etc. But Cuil is the only choice, and there's no way to delete it. Okay, there's a link to Get More Search Engines, but Google is not on the list. Huh? WTF is going on here?

The answer better be realllly good. I'm pissed. I don't want to use, sorry.

Update: I got hacked. Re-installed Firefox. Fixed. Better.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, August 17, 2008. Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bear Hug Camp (click on the bear) Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named bear.gif

Dare left something out (and it's important) Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named hebrewHunk.jpgI'm in the middle of a complex project or I'd take more time out to explain, but Dare Obasanjo left out the one thing in the history of SOAP vs REST that guys like him always leave out. I don't know why they do it, because it's the most important bit, it's the point between the complexity of SOAP as it evolved through the interests of the BigCos and the incompleteness of REST.

It's called XML-RPC and it's what SOAP was before the BigCo's made it complex.

Really ought to include it in your thinking, Dare and everyone else. You're missing out on something that works really well. You should at least learn the lessons and add to REST what it needs to catch up with XML-RPC. Seriously.

A picture named youngMenWithBuckets.gifWhat's missing in REST, btw, is a standard method of serializing structs, lists and scalar types. The languages we use have a lot more in common than you might think. We're all writing code, again and again, every time we support a new interface that could be written once and then baked into the kernels of our languages, and then our operating systems. Apple actually did this with Mac OS, XML-RPC support is baked in. So did Python. So if you think it's just me saying this, you should take another look.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, August 16, 2008. Saturday, August 16, 2008

More movement in TwitterLand Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I love it when things change!

And so far it looks like the Twitter folk did a good job with the features to support threading.

A picture named mom.jpgThis is a very lightweight feature on the server side, lots more work in the client, and very similar to the effort required to support payloads. Just three new fields in the struct that represents a status. A pointer to the payload, its MIME type and size so clients know what to display to represent the payload.

I love that is matching Twitter feature-for-feature in the API, where it counts; continuing what Steve Gillmor calls their bearhug. Good term.

I also love that Twitter's API seems more responsive since the last time I worked on code that ran against it. Seems all the outages had a payoff, faster service for API calls.

I'm in a good mood, that's for sure, and then I heard that Obamaman raised $51 million in July. I love how they waited to announce theirs until after McSame announced he raised a mere $27 million. Heh. I love it when Dems play nasty. It's about fcuking time. ;->

A picture named funkytunes.jpgBTW, back to tech politics, Steve Gillmor is absolutely correct to insist that stick to the 140 character limit. If they didn't, users would have to remember to only type 140-character posts if they wanted them to be able to go over a bridge to Twitter. Imagine if all the rail in the US were the same gauge, how much easier things would have been (they're not even a consistent gauge in the NYC subway system). Engineers have a hard time accepting historic limits like this, but it's often a good idea (not always of course).

On a related topic DeWitt Clinton talks about the way FriendFeed handles general RSS sources.

This is a test Permanent link to this item in the archive.


Permanent link to archive for Friday, August 15, 2008. Friday, August 15, 2008

Russian general threatens Poland Permanent link to this item in the archive.

It sure is escalating quickly.

AP: "A top Russian general said Friday that Poland's agreement to accept a U.S. missile interceptor base exposes the ex-communist nation to attack, possibly by nuclear weapons, the Interfax news agency reported."

Almost as if the Soviets Russians had a plan.

Gotta wonder if Bush is up to this level of confrontation.

Hope he talks to his dad and Scowcroft, and listens.

And someone needs to tell McCain, seriously, STFU.

They picked the perfect time to challenge the US. (For them, worst for us.)

Hat-tip, I read about this first, of all places, on Powerline, a right-wing blog. I thought at first, oh yeah sure, they're blowing it out of proportion, but, unfortunately, they're not.

It's in Pravda too, whatever that is, these days. It used to be the house organ of the Soviet Union, when there was a Soviet Union. Seems pretty clear, the Russians want to reconstitute their old empire, at a minimum.

Follow the discussion on FriendFeed.

Perfect timing! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I just read this interesting post on Louis Gray's blog.

Essentially now any Twitter client can now associate another post as a reply to another existing post. This means that Twhirl or TweetDeck can allow a user to post a normal status update, and provide a "+" sign underneath and a new post can be appended as a reply to the previous post.

Hmmm. Where have I seen that before?

Oh yeah! Sounds like an outliner. ;->

Update: I've got something working with a test account. You can actually walk the threading structure in the browser. Nice!

Here's what the threading looks like in the outliner.

A picture named smallthread.gif

Click on the pic for a larger image.

The beginnings of community Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Yesterday an update of FlickrFan shipped for the Summer of OPML project, and as we hoped, new users popped up and all of a sudden it's a teeny little bit like a community!

So, of course it's time to put it in perspective, with a howto explaining how to report problems and ask for help.

Hope you enjoy, and you're free to repurpose it for other projects, but attribution is requested.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, August 14, 2008. Thursday, August 14, 2008

FlickrFan is converted Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The Summer of OPML is rolling right along.

The next app to be converted is FlickrFan.


Which bank has the best online UI? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I had a huge problem last night with the online banking website at BofA. I needed to adjust a repeating monthly payment, the price had gone up, and I was getting nasty letters from the vendor. I couldn't figure out how to do it. This morning I chatted with one of their online support people, who told me I had to call the 800 number, and amazingly it took less than two hours to find the answer, which I never would have found just by navigating the site.

I did finally solve the problem but now I wonder if there are any great simple UIs for online banking out there? It would cost me nothing to switch. So I'm wondering if any of the readers of this blog have good experiences with their online banking service? I've heard good things about Citibank, Wells Fargo. Are there any that are just plain great??

Great comments here and on FriendFeed.

A brilliant idea at Harvard Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named underarmGirl.jpgBefore I started blogging, I held many if not most of my good ideas in reserve because I thought some day I might do them as products. But as you get older, you realize that most of the things you think of are going to be outside your grasp, you're not going to get to do them, so rather than hold on to them, it's better to let them go. Maybe someone else will do them, and at least you'll have the pleasure of using the product before your time is up. That was one of the ideas that led me to write the first set of DaveNets, I was just dumping all the ideas I had pent up that I was never going to do.


When I was at Harvard, I came across a project called H2O, which was an abbreviation for Harvard 2.0, kind of like Web 2.0. Cute, eh? I believe it was the brain child of Charlie Nesson and Jonathan Zittrain.

At first glance it appears to be a discussion group, a way for a community of people to discuss something, but it's actually twice as clever, and represents a fundamentally different idea. Something new in discussion groups, you say? Cannot be. Everything's been done, everything's been thought of. Well unless I'm mistaken this is a new idea. It was for me.

Let's say you're in an online discussion. Someone asks a divisive question. Quickly the discussion devolves into personal attacks. Sometimes it's amazing how quickly it gets personal. Of course there's nothing interesting about that, the people don't know each other personally, so the attacks aren't even on target. And you get no new perspectives on the issues, no new information that might change your mind or at least help you see the other side of the argument.

What if, instead, you couldn't see what other people said for 24 hours. Then the first responses are unveiled, and you can write a rebuttal, but once again, they stay hidden for 24 hours. You can write as much as you like, or as little, or edit or refine your position, but only you see it. It works, you learn a lot more this way.

And then you can tweak it from there. What if during the 24 hour period only one other person, chosen by the moderator, can see what you wrote? The moderator can be devilish or compassionate, he or she can choose someone who will agree with you, or show you the folly of your ways, or show you a perspective you've never considered. That's where people like Charlie and Jonathan really shine, they are always thinking of ways to bend your mind. Why not make an online platform that enables them, not just the idiotic pointless banter that most online discussions devolve into.

Anway that's the new idea for the day.

PS: Pretty sure H2O is open source.

PPS: The discussion software is called Rotisserie, the project is H2O.

The EFF position on Wikipedia Permanent link to this item in the archive.

EFF: Wikipedia Wins Dismissal of Baseless Defamation Claims.

While it may have been a good defense in court, their position is nonsense. Wales et al promote Wikipedia as an authoritative encyclopedia. Wikipedia likes certain people, and dislikes others -- it tends to like people who say it's wonderful and utopian, and dislikes people who have mixed opinions about it. I believe it's used as a way to attack people they don't like. I bet the profiles of everyone who has ever given Jimmy Wales good press are positive. Show me one where they are trashed. (I was thinking about this watching Wales on a WNYC radio show the other day, I bet the interviewer, Brian Lehrer, has a great profile on Wikipedia, otherwise he might have asked some non-softball questions.)

I'm reminded of this when I see the glowing bios for Nesson and Zittrain and am reminded of the way they treat me. Just in their choice of pictures you can see their opinion.

So the court may have been convinced, but I am not. Let Wales disconnect, stop promoting the thing so much, let the Wikimedia Foundation fade into the background, and then let's start talking about how to make this thing really neutral and independent of these people's interests.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, August 13, 2008. Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A memeplant that worked Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named peter.gifYesterday I pointed to a howto by Jay Ridgeway that showed how to connect two communities together. Today I'm going to try it myself.

I followed the instructions, and it worked. I have a new account on Jay's installation, and I subscribed it to Ars Technica on Evan's installation.

Obviously this is just a first hack at the problem -- there needs to be authorization on the other side, otherwise anyone could subscribe me to their feed and well, that's a pretty powerful tool for spammers. But we're off to a good start!!

Update: There's a piece on Louis Gray's blog that explains why this idea is so powerful.

Update: There's something about the word memeplant that I really like, but I can't put my finger on it.

Update: Phil Windley got the seed. ;->

More random stuff Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I admit I'm writing about some of this stuff so it'll get indexed by Google, then I'll be able to find it while I'm working. It's annoying not having Google know about something I wrote two weeks ago! ;->

Daniel Ha confirmed that they have implemented XML export in Disqus. Not sure when this became available, but it's here now. An example of the XML it produces. Not a familiar format, but it looks very easy to work with. I'm going to do OPML Editor based tool that breaks it up into a folder of files, one per comment.

Tools in the Summer 2008 release of the OPML Editor now optionally have a top-level table named #installer which contains instructions to the Tool installer code (new) about services it wants to hook into.

The docs for the OPML Editor-based podcatcher are ready.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, August 12, 2008. Tuesday, August 12, 2008

No kidding I really got this fortune cookie Permanent link to this item in the archive.

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New Disqus Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Good to see lots of improvements in Disqus today.

Looking for docs that explain how you export comments for offline archiving.

Followups Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Om Malik followed up with Evan Williams at Twitter and corrected the assumption behind my piece published yesterday about new limits in Twitter.

Also read the comments for more clarification.

A picture named car.gifIn a conference call today with the team, we have an instance of running so we can learn how it works, and I had relayed the news that they had federation up and running, and Jay verified that they do. He was able to follow his presence on on our instance. He says it's difficult to find the magic bits you need to do it, but he's going to write a howto and I'm going to try to set this up myself. It's a big deal, as I've said before.

What goes around Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On FriendFeed, Andrew Baron notes that, according to, Mahalo stopped growing six months ago.

Proof that the shut-them-up-with-flames approach to PR doesn't get you where you want to go.

Update: Google Trends confirms the data.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, August 11, 2008. Monday, August 11, 2008

How to Demo at DEMO Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I wrote the first howto for demoers at DEMO in 1991.

And unlike some people's howtos, this one is still on the web.

Yeah, a lot of the ideas that people claim as theirs now were in this piece, written 17 years ago.

Oy. 17 years.

Random stuff Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named clark.jpgInteresting email today speculating that Wes Clark will be the VP nominee. If so, I like this choice. I know Clark said that being a prisoner of war doesn't qualify McCain to be president, and some (notably John Kerry) thought this was wrong, but obviously it's true! Being shot down and locked up for years in a dark cell and being tortured, while sad and painful, hopefully has nothing to do with being President or VP. However, Clark has real experience in the military at an executive level, the kind of experience that does prepare you for other executive offices. Imho.

I've become bored and fed up with political punditry, I can't make it through Meet The Press or Face The Nation or On The Media, so in desperation I started listening to an audio book on my daily walks, the last couple of days -- Barack Obama's Audacity of Hope. It's really quite a book, refreshing and smart, and in many ways he anticipated everything that's happened so far in the campaign. If you're planning on voting for Obama, I highly recommend reading the book, you should know what you're supporting, and I believe it'll make you feel strongly that you've made the right choice.

Work on the OPML Editor continues at an agressive pace. Two milestones today: I more or less finished the podcatcher tool, and I came really close to getting the kernel to build on Windows. I really want to be able to do kernel builds, I'm not comfortable running the same binaries year after year. Sooner or later a version of one of the OSes is going to break us, and then we'll be panicking trying to get it back on the air. I want to get out in front of it.

I can help Twitter and FriendFeed and maybe some other services improve their future-safeness. Look at this URL and let me tell you what's wrong with it. What if someday Amazon gets taken over by the government, or shut down by a lawsuit, or otherwise goes out of business? What if you get acquired by an Amazon competitor? You can easily use aliases to mask the part of the addresses, and if someday you want to use some other service you'll be able to switch. By distributing all those hard Amazon addresses, you're removing a choice for yourself down the road. It's a very easy thing to preserve.

A picture named bloodless.jpgBack to Obama -- should he be running ads that make fun of John McCain the same way McCain made fun of him? He's doing it. Is it right? Yes!! I hate it when they attack him and he doesn't attack back. We're hiring a President not a therapist. When the US is attacked, we want our President to get angry on our behalf. You can't wonk your way to the Presidency, we don't elect wimps to our highest office, for good cause -- it's a dangerous world and we want a tough mofo in the White House (but please one with a brain who likes to use it). Remember how Dukakis responded to the question about Kitty getting raped and murdered. Oy. The correct answer is KILL THE FCUKER, I'D WANT HIM DEAD RIGHT NOW. People like a little emotion from their leaders. So Obama hit McCain back, in a very nice way, so maybe he'll think twice next time one of his fancy advisers says you can paint Obama as a limp-wrist elite celebrity. A little fear in our opponents is a good thing. ;->

BTW, pretty sure that's Edward James Olmos of Battlestar Galactica doing the voiceover on Obama's ad.

Twitter limiting followers to 2000 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Just read in various places that people are getting messages from Twitter saying that there's a limit of 2000 followers per account.

Lots to say about this of course!

1. My first take: Probably a good idea.

2. Is this a problem for people?

3. Confirmation that the expensive thing in Twitter is distributing status messages to large numbers of queues.

4. A business model appears? If you want more than 2000 followers, that'll cost you $X per year per thousand?

5. If no business model then here's something you can't use Twitter for. I had the idea that it would make a good medium for delivering hot news bulletins, and have set up a few channels for doing that. But if they can't grow beyond 2000 followers, there's not much point investing.

6. Or is it a method of keeping malicious or annoying Twitterers in check?

7. ???

8. ???

Obama strikes back Permanent link to this item in the archive.


Permanent link to archive for Sunday, August 10, 2008. Sunday, August 10, 2008

How viral is GPL? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A couple of disclaimers up front:

1. I love to stir the pot cause that's how we all learn, by pushing up against the boundaries of what people think to see how strong our beliefs are. It's the same reason my friend NakedJen walks around naked, partially cause it feels good and partially cause it gets people to think differently.

2. About open source and whether I have the standing to discuss it, I've made a huge contribution to open source with the 2004 release of Frontier under the GPL. I was releasing code long before the terms free software or open source existed. Even so, as you'll see, I don't believe in the boundaries, I think ideas should freely cross the boundaries, and they do.

Anyway, a few days ago I suggested that and Disqus, two products that I admire, should be made to work with each other.

I suggested that a plug-in architecture could be designed for that would allow developers to add modules without modifying They would cross server boundaries, my plug-in would run on my server, and would be linked into via a URL.

It was suggested, I believe incorrectly, that because Disqus was not licensed under GPL that such integration can't happen. You can read the discussion on FriendFeed.

So if this is true, if it can't happen, why is it that I can point from FriendFeed to and vice versa?

Further, why is it that I can call into through their implementation of the Twitter API from any software I want to whether or not it is licensed under an open source or free software license?

This is where open source religion has always fallen down, and it was one of the reasons I promoted XML-RPC and SOAP, because I wanted to end the uberness of all operating systems and religions once and for all. Choice is what matters, and people should always be free to use whatever they want and to license their work on any basis they want, without coercion. It's cool to be generous, but giving stuff away with onerous conditions isn't particularly generous. And the web fights you on this, unless you want to completely wall yourself off from the rest of the world, the rest of the world is going to get in, whether you want them to or not.

I love, and I love what Evan and his team are doing. I plan to support it as long as I'm breathing. I also like that it can be influenced by and has influence on stuff that lives elsewhere and works according to different rules. I also love that Twitter defined an open API that was waiting for to adopt. I love where all this is going.

I hope this generates a stimulating and interesting and respectful discussion.

New HowTos Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named ronaldMcDonald.jpgI've spent the last month working on a new release of the OPML Editor for Mac and Windows. The goal is to ship with an empty Tools folder, and make installing tools a point-click operation, as it always should have been. So far it's going really well.

As part of the process I'm rewriting the HowTos for the OPML Editor. They're starting to show up in Google, which is good. I'm going to point to them here as they are ready for review. There's a place to leave comments at the bottom of each of the documents.

Here's the first new howto, it explains how to edit subscription lists with the OPML Editor.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, August 09, 2008. Saturday, August 09, 2008

Disconnecting the 'Annex' Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On 2/7/06 this blog got an annex on that mirrored the content here.

The purpose was twofold: 1. It allowed people to comment on my writing and 2. It would trackback to blogs I Iink to. Over time these functions became less important. People don't pay so much attention to trackback, and I added Disqus to this site for comments, and don't even watch the comments on the annex. That's bad cause I miss important stuff, and people think I don't care. Oy.

So it's time to bid adieu to the annex, it'll stay there as long as Matt & Co keep running (thanks!) but this will be the last post to be mirrored there.

If you're subscribed to the feed please redirect your reader to this feed:

And since the first post there had a cool picture of comedian Jack Benny, I thought it was fitting that the last one should have that picture as well. :-)

A picture named jackBenny.jpg

Edwards scandal idicts MSM and political bloggers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

This morning two editorials one in the LA Times and the other in The Moderate Voice, a political blog, provide a fresh perspective on the Edwards scandal.

The story broke in the National Enquirer, months ago, long before the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, yet mainstream press and bloggers failed to carry the story and investigate further. So far the stories have only been about the failure of mainstream press, but bloggers failed too.

CNN interviewed the editor in chief of the Enquirer, David Perel, yesterday.

Tim Rutten, writing in the Times says that this will "dethrone" mainstream media and "signals the end of the era in which traditional media set the limits of acceptable political journalism."

Shaun Mullen, writing in The Moderate Voice says: "The mainstream media let us down yet again by failing to take seriously first rumors and then credible accounts of the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter affair."

Neither statement goes far enough.

The reports were out there, there was tentative coverage in MSM and blogs, but the story we all took the word of reputable sources over the disreputable Enquirer.

Rutten is right, it'll never be the same again.

Update: I've Been Banned At DailyKos Because Of John Edwards.

That's what happens when you "blog" somewhere you can be banned for saying something unpopular.

Blogging is the unedited voice of a person.

Kos is definitely not a blogging platform, if this story is true.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, August 08, 2008. Friday, August 08, 2008

What if Country Joe was right? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

What if Edwards had been the nominee? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named edwards.jpgShudder to think what would have happened if Edwards had come out on top after the primaries. No doubt he would have had to withdraw in disgrace, the way Eagleton withdrew in 1972. Could he have made it all the way to the nomination without it coming out? Hard to imagine, but if it had he might have destroyed the Democratic Party.

Stunningly self-destructive, for a guy who seemed so utterly in control, unshakable, willing to do anything to be President. He had it in for himself. Amazing that his wife knew and supported his run for President.

Did he coordinate the timing of this with Obama or is it a coincidence that he went on vacation the day the story broke, with a request that the press not pay any attention to him in the coming week? Or did Edwards spring this on him as well?

This should put to rest any thought of HRC being the nominee for vice-president. The skeletons in her closet are much worse, and some of them aren't even hidden. The press gave her a pass in the primary. It wouldn't happen in the fall, she'd be held to account for them, there was outright bribery in the last days of the Clinton Administration, and she was part of it. Not a bystander.

BTW, one more little bomb waiting to go off is the verdict in the Hamdan trial which came out yesterday. The question is -- will he be released when his term is up in 4.5 months. Let's see, that's just about the time the Bushes are leaving town and Obama or McCain is taking office. Could the jury possibly have been thinking of this? Is McCain getting an ad ready saying "Hamdan will not get out as long as I'm President" and throw the hot potato over at Obama. This will be a campaign issue, for sure. The Dems better get ready for it.

Could Vista fail? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named vista.gifI was thinking about Vista yesterday when I was working on my Asus Eee PC, getting it ready to be my media workstation during the Democratic Convention later this month.

I was having a bunch of problems with XP, one of which was related to the fact that it came of age before wifi did. The helptext and troubleshooting guide that's built into the system make no mention of wireless configuration, beyond a confusing wizard that creates a wireless network that emanates from my computer (I think that's what it does, I've gotten lost in it many times over the years, and the terminology it uses is incredible weird and IT-ish). XP has no help to offer when you're trying to figure out why there's no icon in the Network Properties window for wireless. (The manual for the Eee PC has less of an excuse, it was written way after wifi existed.)

This got me thinking about Vista, and why this computer came with XP, and why I wouldn't have bought it if it came with Vista. Why? Why won't I try Vista?

There are a lot of specific reasons which I'll touch on, but first, the main reason is this: Vista has the smell of death. I don't believe Vista will be around much longer. I don't want to be one of those people who has a computer that runs Vista, anymore than I wanted to use OS/2 when Windows 3.x was in its heyday. I remembered too well what it was like to use an Apple III when it failed to take over, as expected, from the Apple II. Operating systems can fail, and Vista shows every indication that it is one of those operating systems.

Now, what led to this feeling? Well let's work backwards.

1. They are running a campaign to try to prove, despite what people believe, that Vista really is a great operating system. They can try to appeal to our intellect, but it only validates the gut feeling that something is very wrong. The only way I'm convinced something is hot is if I hear from people using it how hot it is, all the time, repeatedly. I know one or two people who use Vista, and mostly they say it's okay, no one says it's great.

2. I think Microsoft is in bed with Hollywood, and when they improve an OS they're adding more locks and security cameras for the entertainment industry to control us and spy on us. I like computers that mind their own business and work for me, not The Man. If Microsoft came out with a marketing program for Vista that said "This is your operating system, not ours or Hollywood's" -- that would catch my attention. (They aren't saying that, and I don't think they can.)

Update: Netflix's DRM Turned Me Into a Pirate.

3. Microsoft lost me, bigtime, over their lack of defenses against malware. It was when I switched to Macintosh that I realized how painful Windows had become.

4. Vista was troubled in development (it was called Longhorn), kept being delayed, people that worked on it weren't enthusiastic, their marketers kept saying it had killer features, but never could say what they were and they never materialized.

5. Everything is happening in the web browser now, and Microsoft completely dropped the ball there. I use Firefox now, and I have very little interest in an OS designed to run IE better.

6. And finally, there is no demand for new operating systems. Little improvements, tweaks, defenses against new malware, support for new gadgets, that's what we need from OS vendors. The days of excitement happening in OSes is long past. I don't believe Apple can deliver there either, btw. Just keep it working, that's your main job, no one is going to be blown away by new stuff in the OS.

Update: As always an interesting discussion has started on FriendFeed. Another thing -- in the 90s, before blogging was big, Microsoft had a big outreach program to build buzz around its products. It was really impressive. Now that blogging is established -- nothing -- silence. Esp when there's so much buzz around Apple, this may be the biggest mistake they're making with Vista.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, August 07, 2008. Thursday, August 07, 2008

Next stop Denver! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named pepsiMachine.jpgI've got about one and a half weeks before I start the roadtrip to Denver, and in that time I want to do some prep, if there's interest, with other bloggers who will be there, or people who are covering the convention remotely, or are just interested in what's happening there.

I have a great toolkit, code that can connect all the blogging and micro-blogging environments, Twitter,, FriendFeed and RSS of course, and probably most other kinds of connections you can think of.

I want to do photos, audio and video.

I'll have two computers with me, a 17-inch MacBook Pro, fully loaded; and an Asus Eee PC.

I'll be driving to and fro, with stops Salt Lake and Boulder. I'm going to try to stay on the grid the whole way, let's see if it works. Last time I made this trip, in 2003, Sprint didn't have much coverage except in the cities.

I'll be staying in downtown Denver, very close to the Pepsi Center.

I'd love to meet as many people interested in technology and politics as possible. I was at the 2004 convention in Boston, when all this was very new, and that trip was mostly awe -- amazement at being there, amazement at the spectacle and the incredible post-9/11 security. My guess is that the security will be tight this time as well, but we'll still have fun!

Let me bring back your wishes from the political blogosphere to TechLand. I'm hoping to come back brimming with ideas and positive energy.

Did you wonder what #dontgo means? (I did.) Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I've found the hash tags people were putting on their twits really annoying, never thought they would catch on, until a few days ago I started hearing about #dontgo -- and until this morning I didn't know what it was about.

Read this e.politics post, it explains.

Republicans have been using Twitter to organize.

An innovation that came from the tech community is being used by the political bloggers on Twitter.

Let's pick a day and all inflate our tires together Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named cabinetBowler.jpgI love how Barack Obama picked up the ball and threw it back in the Republican's faces. Indeed, they do annoy with their ignorance, they're not really that stupid, but they delight in provoking a reaction.

It's not even smart politics as Maureen Dowd pointed out yesterday in her eloquent NYT column, where she nailed it about McCain and former President Bill Clinton, and former #1 black political leader Jesse Jackson. A generation of alpha males has been left behind in the Obama juggernaut, and they're not happy.

Obama did something very good, if it's true that properly inflating our tires would save up to 4 percent of the oil we use. That's actually a lot of savings. If we spend $700 hundred billion a year on oil, 4 percent is $29 billion. We're not so rich that we can look the other way at an opportunity to, as a nation, save that much money.

And listen to this carefully -- we need something positive we can do together to help all of us. It's been a long time since we had a national project. The Republicans laugh at Jimmy Carter's sweater, but that just tells us one thing, they've been running things too damned long. (And Bill Clinton was no better, with his "depends what is is" bullshit.) It's time to get smart.

We need to find more ideas that can make us $29 billion, again and again. We need to think like a corporation that wants to return to profitability because that's what's going to heat our homes and keep us moving. We've run out of frontiers to exploit, and now we have to face the reality that we must learn how to live with each other. The sneering and bullying must be over, and Obama did what we all have to do when faced with willful ignorance -- tell it to fuck off, we don't have the time for this nonsense, we're busy solving problems, no time to argue with idiots.

So I suggest we pick a day, next week or the week after, and help each other check our tire pressure and fill those tires and start saving the money -- now. It would be something nice the oil companies could help with too. Get on our side for a change.

Micah: "How do we make this something real so that others sense they're part of something larger?"

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, August 06, 2008. Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wifi in BART Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named asus.gifI rode the BART into SF last night for a dinner near Moscone, first BART trip I've taken with the new Asus Eee PC 901 with XP. It's a fine little computer, so little in fact that you can almost think of it as a cell phone or an iPod, maybe a big iPhone, esp if you add on an EVDO modem, which I have.

I had a 20 minute wait for the train returning to the East Bay at the Montgomery St station, so I whipped out the Asus, thinking I'd listen to some music or watch some video, but I noticed there was a wifi signal. Odd, since we were about 50 to 100 feet underground. Turns out it was an official BART wifi signal, a free trial, so I signed up, logged on, and downloaded the latest episode of Fresh Air and listened to it on the train home.

A picture named bart.gifNow get this -- the wifi signal went about 1/2 the way across the tunnel under the bay! After the signal went away, with the lid closed the Asus makes a fine podcast player. All my podcatching software runs on it just fine. We may be getting somewhere interesting. (If only Apple had made a cell phone that ran Mac software, I know it's something like the Mac, but I'm lame and have no patience for platforms that are "something like" platforms my software already works on.)

Anyway BART's on board. Nice! (And yeah I know they're going to charge for it, and that's fine.)

My to-do list for Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named gecko.jpgI had a great phone conversation yesterday with Evan at It was just an hour, but we covered a lot of ground. And Evan is an open kind of guy, so I'm pretty sure he won't mind me saying what I was lobbying for him to do next.

1. Cosmetics. I want to spiff up my presence on the same way I have with my presence on Twitter.

2. Payloads. We never got them from Twitter, so as a result every time you want to push a picture or video through Twitter, it involves showing the user a URL. Over time it fades into the background, we forget how ugly this is, but when you use FriendFeed, you don't see so many URLs cause it understands a few common data types, and does something intelligent with them. This should be formalized before it gets out of control, and RSS enclosures are the obvious way to go. Thumbs for pictures, embedded MP3 player for audio, same for video, where possible.

3. Threaded discussions through a plug-in with Disqus et al.

4. Plug-ins! (This is killer. I would write some right off the bat.)

5. Let's play with RSS clouds for lightweight federation. Again, I would definitely ship code that connected with on this level. It's been years since I did anything with clouds in RSS, but it's a feature that's been there for a half-decade, ready for someone to pick it up. This one was Evan's idea, but I obviously support it.

Anyway, there were some other things we talked about, of course, that I don't want to make public at this time, esp things Evan is going to do that are cool but didn't come from me. Gotta leave something to tease about. ;->

Permanent link to archive for Monday, August 04, 2008. Monday, August 04, 2008

Micro-blogging meetup in September? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named dancer2.jpgFollowing up on yesterday's piece about fragmentation in the micro-blogging world; on my walk yesterday I took a Steve Gillmor podcast with me, an interview with Dustin Sailings, the developer of TwitterSpy. All three of us, like Rafe Needlman at Webware, and many others, are trying to sort out the "micro-blogging" world we live in now, how we got here, and where we'll be. Is this like the first Iraq War, or the second? Is it like Instant Messaging, where interop has always been a problem, or like blogging and RSS, where it wasn't (much of) a problem. I'd say we're at an inflection point -- a lot of it depends on what people do, actually the technology doesn't seem to be the issue, it's what people and money do that will make the difference.

That's why I suggested to Steve, on, that maybe a micro-blogging camp-style meetup in Sept would be a good idea. I also sent an email to Rafe with the same suggestion.

We could do it in Berkeley at the Hillside Club, lots of great restaurants nearby, easy to get to from BART. Or we could do it in San Francisco, or down in the valley, or in NYC, or Montreal. I think it should be in North America since almost all the development is happening in the US and Canada.

What's cool about where we're at is that users understand what's needed this time, before the technology has arrived.

I'm anxious to hear what everyone thinks and I don't think there's any substitute for a face to face meeting.

It would be great to keep it small, but it must also be open to anyone who wants to participate. No way can this be an invite-only "Friends Of Someone" type gathering. No one must be able to say they weren't allowed to come.

Anyway that's the idea. What do you think??

Update: After saying most of the development is happening in North America word of a Japanese Twitter-like service just popped on TechMeme.

My kind of blogging and the 2008 campaign Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named dancer.jpgNot that anyone is paying attention, but I seem to disagree with almost everyone about what blogging is. To me it's the empowerment of the individual to speak for him or herself, not through filters of the press.

I learned first-hand about those filters when I briefly took a professional job in the mid-90s. Some editors are great and some really interfere. Add enough editors, and what the author thinks gets lost. So does the man or woman in the street or the experts who were interviewed for a story.

It got really bad toward the end of the 20th century, but as the cost of publishing tools went down, and their ease of use went up, and as people got more familiar with the technology, the rules started to change. The gatekeepers lost a lot of their power. And now when the media starts to go along with a corrupt campaigner wanting somehow to make Britney Spears and Paris Hilton figures in this election, like WIllie Horton was in 1988, well -- guess who speaks up and calls bullshit on it.

Paris Hilton's mother!

Now that's what I'm talking about.

If you see bullshit, call it. If you're the mother of one of the celebs who happens also to be a donor to McCain's campaign, it has extra ooomph when you say the ad is a waste of (your) money, money that should be spent improving America, because that's what we want from our President.

No I'm not going to vote for McCain, but Kathy Hilton is. McCain should pay attention. He can manipulate the press, for sure -- they love to be whipped into frenzy (it's what they do, they live for it) but the rest of us are truly sick of being on edge during these campaigns, wondering if some crazed scream is going to end up flushing our chances down the toilet. But there's a new safety valve now, and it's my kind of blogging, not the professional's that's going to save the day. I hope.

BTW, what hypocrisy for McCain to boast that he's always put America first. To say Obama would rather lose a war to win an election. If McCain were putting America first, he wouldn't make a mockery of the process. Take the Presidency seriously. We do, so does the rest of the world. He snickers -- "we're just having fun." Take up a hobby, play golf, get a dog, a puppet, do your mischief in private. (Funny how he sounds just like the dirty tricks pranksters that worked in the Nixon White House).

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, August 03, 2008. Sunday, August 03, 2008

American Airlines wifi? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named aa.gifI heard that AA has wifi on some cross-country flights. Thinking I'm going to NY sometime in the next week or so -- therefore -- I want to figure out which flights are the ones blessed with wifi so I can try it out and report on the quality and performance, etc.

Any ideas would be most appreciated! ;->

I bought a fun domain! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I bought a fun domain just for fun.

Started it off with Joe Trippi's post today, whcih was most excellent!!

Twitter will kick themselves for missing this Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named tramp.jpgImagine if the world of Instant Messaging had been under one roof, if one vendor had invented it, and had 100 percent market share. Further, what if that vendor had the foresight that there would be other vendors and that compatibility between their services would make a huge market, and that incompatibility would keep the market fragmented and relatively small. What would that vendor have done?

Now think about the opportunity that was before Twitter in 2007 and may even still exist in 2008, to do the same for micro-blogging. Imagine if Twitter had rolled out a blueprint for how to tie up a compatible micro-blogging service to Twitter's service, in such a way that I could use one vendor's service and you could use another, but somehow I could still follow you and you could follow me. That's the nirvana we're all seeking as new services come online and finally start attracting users.

I think it's good that Steve Gillmor is using as his micro-blogging home. Given the amount of enthusiasm he has for Twitter, I'm sure this decision didn't come quickly or easily. Me, I'm using FriendFeed these days, and to the extent I post to Twitter it's done by some bridge software I wrote that watches what I do on FF and posts new stuff automatically to Twitter.

When we move to different systems we're creating a mess, because there are differences in these systems (and that's good, I like the ways FF is different from Twitter and so bridging them requires some thought, experimentation and consideration. I'm sure Steve would like to be able to communicate with people who use Twitter (can he?) but I can follow Steve fine over on FF, which has the ability to subscribe to feeds from other users.

I've had to turn off FF's monitoring of my Twitter feed, because it would catch "echoes" of messages my bridge sent to Twitter which then appeared a second time on FF. This meant having discipline to only use FF to post now. Anything I post on Twitter will not be seen on FF.

This is chaos but it's good, because now users are understanding the issues of federation, and will know a solution to the problems when they see it. Users can even participate in the discussion, because they are becoming so familiar with the problem.

Would it have been better for Twitter to anticipate it? Absolutely, because the chaos could have been avoided; and it would have been better for Twitter because they could have been the Network Solutions of this space, the name authority, and there would be their elusive business model. Your name on the micro-blogging network would cost $5 per year, payable to Ev, Biz and Jack, Incorporated. That would add up to quite an annuity. It still could happen, but there isn't much time left.

Update: See the discussion on FF.

A picture named feelGreat.jpgcgerrish: "I once wrote that it wasn't possible to rebuild New York city somewhere else. But Twitter has stopped doing some of the things that made it the New York City of social media. Its streets are filled with potholes, there are abandoned buildings and broken windows, squeegee guys trying to clean your windshields, trash on the streets, basic services not working and periodic power outages. People won't migrate individually to other services, they'll leave in tribes. And every tribe is connected to many other tribes."

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, August 02, 2008. Saturday, August 02, 2008

Playing the race card Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Obama plays the race card when he takes the stage. Look at his face. He's an African-American. There's the race card. Can't be hidden. It's right there. Next issue.

PS: When McCain takes the stage he plays the "age card."

PPS: When McCain says he has more experience than Obama he's playing the age card.

PPPS: Don't forget he's playing the Bush card and Republican card.

PPPPS: And the veteran card.

PPPPPS: And other times the ridiculous old fart card.

PPPPPPS: I almost forgot. When McCain shows up the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant card is being played.

Make some of your own Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named pepsiBottlecap.jpgScoop Nisker said, famously: If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own.

That could be the anthem of blogging. With the tools so cheap, there's no reason to sit around grousing that you don't like the way the news is reported. You can always be a reporter. What's stopping you?

Duncan Riley points out something obvious, TechMeme is skewed toward TechCrunch. I agree. It's completely observable.

At the moment he has a story that should be #1 on TechMeme, in his humble opinion. It would be if it were written by a TechCrunch person (which Riley used to be, he ought to know). No doubt.

BTW, other sites have the same story. I first heard about it on

This is a problem!

The solution is to "make some of your own."

It would be a simple matter to write a program that regularly reads 20 or 30 blogs, aggregates and ranks the stories they're linking to and publishes the result. It's so simple it should be done.

I predict that if the combination of TechCrunch/TechMeme is Coke, this aggregation would become Pepsi. And once that happened, there would be a lot of grousing about how this new thing misses important stories, and we're off to the races!

Such an effort would certainly give Gabe an incentive to broaden the perspective of TechMeme, which would be a good thing, imho, for everyone.

Update 9AM: Duncan's piece appears on TechMeme.

A picture named tmpiece.gif

Is this Rocketboom 2.0? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

If so sign me up! ;->

Permanent link to archive for Friday, August 01, 2008. Friday, August 01, 2008

Puppet finds new home Permanent link to this item in the archive.


A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, 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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On This Day In: 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997.

August 2008
Jul   Sep

Things to revisit:

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