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

Why I like netbooks Permanent link to this item in the archive.

John Markoff quotes Steve Jobs. "We don't know how to build a sub-$500 computer that is not a piece of junk."

As with all Jobsisms, it's beautifully elegant, true -- and misleading. You have to read it very carefully.

He isn't saying no one knows how to build one, just that "we" don't know how to. Fine. And the last part is almost Republican it's so clever and nasty. He's not actually slamming Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer and MSI, but if you don't read it carefully you might think he's saying they're pieces of junk. I think he's been studying Sean Hannity. ;->

A picture named roseMaryWoods.jpgNow here's what Dave Winer, Mac user, says: They are not pieces of junk. Quite the opposite, they are elegant Mac-like products, and you can be absolutely sure behind the scenes Steve is throwing tantrums at his engineers day and night extolling their virtues and telling them to hurry up cause their lunch is being eaten. This is the same guy who said people don't want video on their iPods until he had an iPod with video.

Jobs then said that the iPhone could be seen as Apple's netbook. Hmmm. Maybe Jobs doesn't understand what's so appealing about netbooks. I suppose it's possible.

Look, iPhones are not and never will be netbooks. Just like writing for the NYT is not and never will be blogging (Markoff once said the NYT was his blog).

iPhones are too locked to be netbooks.

OK, I suppose it's time to say what a netbook is...

1. Small size.

2. Low price.

3. Battery life of 4+ hours. Battery can be replaced by user. Atom processor seems to be a requirement, those that aren't Atom aren't selling (and are apparently being discontinued).

4. Rugged.

5. Built-in wifi, 3 USB ports, SD card reader. It seems it must have 802.11n to be taken seriously.

6. Runs my software.

7. Runs any software I want (no platform vendor to decide what's appropriate).

8. Competition (users have choice and can switch vendors at any time).

As a Mac user I would very much like to see a Mac netbook. Yes, I know if I'm willing to hack, I can get Mac OS to run on one, but I have a hard enough time keeping supported hardware working.

On the other hand, Windows XP/Home is not so bad as long as it doesn't get infected with malware. So far I'm happy.

A picture named eee.jpgWhat I am using (the most frequent question potential netbook owners ask): Asus Eee PC 901, purchased in July for $600, now sells for $440. I took it with me to the DNC and it was the only computer i used. Now when I travel, I leave the MacBook Pro at home. Too heavy, too much computer to carry.

I've suggested elsewhere that it might be time to have a Netbook conference. I'd be happy to participate as a host, organizer, or speaker. There's an active community of bloggers following netbooks, and it's a happy cooperative place. It feels like the early days of the Apple II or IBM PC.

If Jobs is missing the excitement that would be a shame because it would be nice to have an Apple netbook, and no the iPhone is not a netbook. Not even close.

Today the MSI Wind *really* went back Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named msi.jpgI got the DLink router, and btw, it has a fantastic browser-based interface, best I've ever used -- anyway -- I carefully restarted all the machines after carefully setting up the router -- and then the moment of truth, boot up the MSI Wind. And the exact same thing happened. It took the router down! I don't know how it's even possible, but I repeated the drill and it did it again, and that was the end for me. I am not a professional hardware debugger, I'm just going to say I got a bad unit. I boxed it up and sent it back to Amazon in Lexington, KY. I still had more unwinding to do, because the Slingbox doesn't like the DLink, so finally now I'm back to my Airport Extreme, the router I forgot I had. It worked so well with everything but you-know-what. Kevin Tofel, who I respect enormously has nothing but praise for the MSI, but I paid my dues now, I'm going to take a deep breath and move on to other work for the rest of the week. Five days of futzing with hardware is enough!

Subscribe via Google? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I just tripped over a heretofore unknown feature of Google.

Theoretically, unless I misunderstand, and I probably do, if you "subscribe" to Scripting News, then you'll be more likely to see results from this site in your Google searches?

Oy it seems I have to add keywords to my RSS feed.

Google doesn't need keywords. That's the whole point of Google. That's what makes it great, why it works. It can find stuff without keywords.

This is 1/2 a great idea (I've been lobbying for something like it for years) but I'm not jumping through all these hoops.

This is wrong in so many ways.

Of course I could still be completely missing the point. ;->

PS: There was no need to invent a new namespace for the feature they added to RSS, it already has a category element that does what their new element does. They made the same mistake Apple made with iTunes. If they had looked before they lept they would both be using the same element and their feeds would be interchangeable.

What does a recession look like? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Yesterday I went to lunch at one of my favorite local lunch places. 12:30PM on a weekday, the place usually is buzzing, but not today. I was the only lunch customer. While I waited another person came in. The place had an awful dead feel to it. I thought to myself: Okay this is what a recession looks like.

FriendFeed's new realtime API Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Yesterday I got an email from Bret Taylor at FriendFeed saying that their new "realtime" API had been deployed publicly, so I quickly took a look, and found that, as with all other elements of their API, it's simple and easy to support. I immediately wrote glue to connect it to the OPML Editor.

FriendFeed: Real-time API (beta).

To understand how it works, consider a hypothetical web app. I live about 1/2 block from a bus that goes to the BART station. Suppose there's a web page that updates when the bus passes a stop about a mile from my house. I'd point my web browser to the page, but it wouldn't refresh right away, but when the bus approached, the page would upload, and flash some kind of message saying "Get out there Dave!"

That's how FriendFeed's realtime API works. Ask a question and wait for a response. You might wait a long time, minutes, even hours, and that's a good thing. When the event you asked about happens, you can act on it instantaneously. And instead of making thousands of calls asking "Is it done yet?" you make just one.

Now it may sound like a silver bullet, but like all things in computer design, there's a tradeoff. You have to keep a process running waiting for the answer, and over on the FriendFeed side, they have to keep a process running too. But it's probably a good tradeoff. And the performance is stunning. I tested it with my own FriendFeed account and the script running on my machine detects updates the instant they happen; unlike polling apps I have running against Twitter that sometimes take 2 or 3 minutes to detect a change.

I have a project that's been waiting for just this functionality, I hope to get to it after the election.

One more comment -- FriendFeed does a good job with the APIs. When asked, I recommend that other developers just do it the way FriendFeed does. I was able to get something running within a couple of minutes. Once I got that far, I'm pretty well hooked, but only had to put in another hour to complete the project. Considering that the goal of an API is to get developers to hook into your service, this feature, and the performance of the service which is also excellent, is all that it takes to get a chance at uptake. That's why I'll generally put aside other work when there's a new feature in the FriendFeed API.


Last update: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 5:11 PM Pacific.

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.

October 2008
Sep   Nov

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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