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

Netbooks are great XP machines Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Just tweeted: "Microsoft's problem, they employ billions of dollars worth of engineers who produce stuff no one wants."

I pointed to this article.

Short version of this post: Microsoft -- Let the netbook guys put whatever they want to in the box, and sell them XP Home for a reasonable price and stop trying to tell us we have to use Vista because people don't want to.

Longer version.

Netbooks are great Windows machines. I remember seeing a $600 pricetag on an Asus last year and thinking "Geez that's cheap!" so I bought one. Now it seems expensive. Same computer now is $280. That's even cheaper. So cool. And it runs Windows XP Home so I can run my software on it. Now I'm totally uninterested in buying an iPhone-like laptop, which Apple almost surely will want to sell me.

You'd think that would be great news for Microsoft! You'd think they'd be running ads on TV saying "Holy Shit People Like Our Stuff Now Man That's So Fucking Cool."

But you'd be wrong.

Because. Because. Well. You tell me why they're not super excited about this. Steve? Ray?

As a user, I'm happy as can be. I love this new stuff. And I'll tell you what. It's found money for them, whatever they get, because I wasn't ever going to buy a Microsoft product. I'm amazed that I like XP. But only because it runs on these coool new netbook computers.

And the netbook market is incredibly competitive. They keep dropping the prices and they want to add features, but Microsoft won't let them. If they add more features, they say, they have to put Vista on the computer. People don't want Vista. And Microsoft must be worried they don't want Windows 7 either.

That's their problem, not mine. Their job is to create software people want.

I recorded a brief podcast about this, but if you've read this post you don't need to listen to it. You've already heard what I have to say.

XP is cool. Sell it and be proud. Create products people want, and all is good. Create products people don't want, go back to the drawing board or find another line of work.

My Mifi Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named novatelsprintmifi.gifJust tweeted: "mifi is a battery operated wifi router that fits in your pocket and connects to the net via cellular."

Since I already had a pretty good service plan from Sprint, and switching would be quite expensive, I just got the Sprint version and so far it works really well.

Here's a picture of the Mifi router next to a DVD to give you an idea of how small it is. It really fits in your pocket and runs for hours on battery. Not sure exactly how many hours.

And here it's shown with the Cradlepoint router and EVDO modem it replaced. A fragile bit of tech that worked well, but the new version is much cooler.

Ultimately the Mifi router will be replaced by software running on my iPhone, when Apple and AT&T decide to let us do that. It's probably a question of how much traffic the AT&T cell network can bear. In the meantime the Sprint system seems pretty good.

How newspapers ought to think of Twitter Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Just realized something in a new way.

I've been posting links to new blog posts on Twitter since I started using it two years ago. It's just a natural thing, another step in the publishing process. You can see very clearly where it fits in by looking at the button-bar in my editing window.

Here's the process.

Step 1. Write the initial draft. Organize. Edit.

Step 2. Save. This publishes the piece to, both on the home page, and on its own story page. I repeat this step until I'm ready to have the story appear in the RSS feed. (I don't mind if readers see the interim versions, I imagine it's somewhat interesting, if not it doesn't seem to do much harm.)

Step 3. Build RSS. I know that many RSS clients will only read an item once, so I wait to rebuild the RSS that includes the new piece until it's pretty much finished. I might still add some pictures, or links or tweak up some wording, but by the time it goes out in the feed, it's not likely to change much.

Step 4. Twit-It posts the link to Twitter. I get to edit the link text before it goes out, but it does the work of creating a short URL and smashing it together with the headline before presenting it to me in a dialog.

This last step is relatively new, but its import is starting to settle in. In a real way a story isn't published until I've pushed it through Twitter. I expect over time, as more systems hook into Twitter, it will come to mean more. Of course I will, as long as Twitter has a 140-character limit, publish everything on the web and in RSS. This article so far has 2291 characters, or 16 tweets.

A picture named sanMarzano.jpgAnother way of saying the same thing is that Twitter has become the newspaper of record. In a few years what's left of the news industry will call Twitter a parasite and demand royalties. Too bad they don't see this coming, and create an even better news system built around the principles of Twitter and instead of asking for alms they'd get a piece of the PE.

Sidebar to the Twitter bizdev people: Wish I had upside in Twitter, so I could be motivated to make these things work in your company's product. But I'm a greedy capitalist just like you, and with my "stock" in Twitter diminishing in value every day (through dilution), I have to look elsewhere for my upside. You might think of this as a challenge or a puzzle, figure out how to incentivize your users to make you even richer.

Before the storm Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named 901.gifTomorrow is another big Apple announcement day, and most people expect there to be a new iPhone. Maybe there will be more. But one thing that's likely to come is more of Apple's positioning relative to netbooks. And more sniffing from people who love Macs about how inadequate the current crop are.

I'm typing this blog post on a big iMac running Leopard. I like my Macs, but I also own three netbooks. One I bought early, a 901, it cost $600, sells for $280 now. I took it to the DNC in Denver, and it made a huge difference, blogging in tight spaces and often far away from a power outlet. Then I have a $450 H-series that runs Linux, and the workhorse another H-series that I bought for $350. See what's going on? I'm getting more for less.

People who don't think these are great computers must not have a sense of history. My first personal computer, purchased in 1979, cost $10,000, had two small floppy drives, 64K of memory and ran a very bare-bones OS. It weighed as much as a dorm room refrigerator, and generated as much heat as a dorm room hot plate. Yet it was a marvel -- a computer of my own, in my living room. Amazing.

At the time I would have told you that someday we'd have computers like the EeePC that weigh as much as a small textbook and run on batteries for 6 hours. I might have guessed they'd be as cheap as they are, but it's one thing to predict they'd be here someday, and another to hold one in your hand, to take it with you everywhere. These are machines that can be stamped out in the millions, they're Everyman computers. Yes, Macs are great, but they're great in different ways. People who sniff at the netbooks are missing something important.


Last update: Sunday, June 07, 2009 at 3:01 PM Pacific.

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, 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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