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

Where you were when...? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

When you learned that JFK had been assassinated?

Okay, most of you aren't old enough to remember that. I am. And thanks to Google Maps I can show you where I was when I heard the news. I was in second grade, they let us out of school early, the parents came to pick us up. On this street corner my mom told me what had happened. I didn't get it. I asked who the President would be now, she said Lyndon Johnson. It didn't make any sense, because the only President I had been aware of up until then was Kennedy.

A picture named bythesack.gifI got into this mode when I was trying to find the White Castle I used to go to when we lived in Jackson Heights.

Then I found the apartment building we lived in. Of course it's still there. We lived in Apt 5W. I remember that because I thought it was really neat that the apartment had the same last initial as I did and I was 5 years old. How about that -- a memory when I was less than 1/10th my current age. ;->

Another way to get unreconstructed childhood memories is to watch a movie you haven't seen since you were a child. I didn't actually think the Cowardly Lion was a lion, I knew what a lion looked like, but I sure didn't think he was human! What a sweet kid, so smart.

Trying out the new Facebook Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'm only vaguely aware of Facebook. Not sure why, but I never really got into it.

Even so, some of my Twitter posts make it through to Facebook, so every once in a while I get a comment "over there" -- and that's how it feels to me, far away.

I had a few minutes this morning to check out the changes they've made and found it's much more accomodating from the point of view of a Twitter user.

A few observations.

1. On the home page you have a box. Instead of asking what you are doing, it asks what's on your mind. Small difference, and in fact much of the time what I post on Twitter is what's on my mind, not what I'm doing. I'm not one of those people who posts twits saying "I'm brushing my teeth," or whatever. Most of the time what I'm doing is none of anyone's business. ;->

A picture named bythesack.gif2. In that box you can type up to 160 characters. Twenty more than Twitter. Someone over there is marketing. If you're coming in second, you need to offer more. At first I wondered if it was unlimited. They must have really sweated over that decision.

3. Now that it behaves like Twitter, the other features come into play, ones I've been begging Twitter for since the beginning. The ability to enclose photos and video is essential. Why no MP3? Don't they love podcasts? I wish they would change that. (Update: Although there is no UI for MP3, if you link to an MP3 it will read its metadata and present it to the author. It doesn't seem to provide an inline player though.)

4. Now I might be interested in developing for Facebook. But their API never interested me as long as I was confined to a little box in their page. This venue is more interesting. Is there an API to post a twit to Facebook? (Update: Seesmic released a version of their Twitter client for Facebook, which sort-of implies that there is a Twitter-like API for Facebook.)

5. People can comment on your Facebook twits without using up twit-space in their own stream? That's a question. Do comments I post show up to my readers?

6. Who can see my posts? My friends? Anyone? I think this is a major difference from Twitter, where everything is by default public. Here, I think everything is by default not public. Or maybe not public in any way. I'd love to see a Facebook for Twitter users howto. Are there enough Twitter users to make that worth doing?

7. Now I see what they mean about how it's a favor to FriendFeed. There's the Like command. They totally need to have that in Twitter. Retweeting is so lame. Like is what we need.

8. I don't like the way they link to things. I linked to this post over there, and there's this huge picture of me next to the link and an extensive quote. No no no. That's wrong. I want a little icon that means "click this to read more." Let me write the intro in the message I post. (Which I did. The excerpt is wrong.) Screen shot.

9. Since (presumably) this text is staying within the Internet (and not being transmitted via SMS) why not allow styling -- bold, italic. Or maybe it is meant to go through SMS (hence the 160 character limit).

10. I really like the way they do pictures. But it should be possible to collapse them, so the picture stops taking up vertical space. That's the problem with media objects, they take up space. If you let the user collapse, then you can have it both ways. Win-win.

11. I know they're tacky but how about some animated smileys.

12. Movies work great too.

Summary: I like what they've done! Will I use it? Don't know.

I'd like to try out Jaiku Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named skittles.gifI've got a Laconica server up, and a small community has started there -- the very same day Google released Jaiku as open source, and somehow made it able to run (for free?) in AppEngine? I want to try it!

But the instructions assume you want to build the app or check things out or care what libraries it uses. None of that applies to me. I want to see what it's like to sysop one of these systems, and get feedback from people here on So...

Choice #1 is for someone to write a howto that a technical end-user might be able to use to set up a Jaiku on AppEngine. That way I could test the docs and the software, and pave the way for others to follow.

Choice #2 is for someone to set one up for me and give me the keys. Not optimal since I won't be able to help improve the setup process.

I like the way this is shaping up. As a user I want choice, it makes me powerful. If any vendor, open source or not, feels that they have me locked in, they won't listen. If the users are truly independent of the vendors then really interesting things can happen.

So if you like Jaiku and want to help it, let's go! ;->


Last update: Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 2:06 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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