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

Rebooting the reboot of rssCloud Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named ninja.gifIt's been a really rough month for me, personally, and that has stalled some of the forward motion in rssCloudLand. I was able to find a little time between crises to implement both of the proposed changes, and to outline an open discussion page.

Originally I had planned to have four or five days between the implementation and updating the rssCloud walkthrough, but then Father's Day happened, and well, all my cards went up in the air. I'm still not firing on all cylinders, so please check my work carefully, but it is time to clear the space for more deployment of what amounts to a crucial feature for rssCloud implementers.

This morning I updated the walkthrough document to allow for:

1. An optional domain parameter on the REST request for notification.

2. If the notification request included the optional domain parameter, the verification process works differently.

A note about evangelism Permanent link to this item in the archive.

If anyone in the rssCloud community is marketing against PubSubHubBub, we will ask them to stop. My position, and I hope that of the community is that these are non-commercial efforts, no one is going to profit (or lose) based on the success of one or the other protocols.

I see adoption of PubSubHubBub as a win for the Internet, and believe strongly their advocates should see adoption of rssCloud the same way. If they feel pressure from rssCloud, it should result in them more fully embracing RSS, which I felt they weren't doing when I first reviewed their efforts. Once that happens the differences will probably melt away and everyone will be happy.

Personal attacks in furthering advocacy are totally unacceptable and should not be tolerated. I hope this goes without saying, but unfortunately it appears it still needs to be said. Please.

Seeing past Twitter's limits Permanent link to this item in the archive.

When thinking about the future, something I've spent a lifetime training myself to do, I try flipping the classic question around. Instead of asking "Do you think X will happen?" try this -- "Can you imagine X not happening?" It doesn't always yield a breakthrough, but it often does. It helps you see past the limits of today.

Anyway, I'm giving a 10-minute talk to open Jeff Pulver's Twitter conference in LA on the 27th. The title of my talk, suggested by Carla Casilli, is: "How I learned to stop worrying and love the Fail Whale." It's a ripoff of the sub-title of one of the greatest movies of all time, Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove. In his version, they replace the Fail Whale with The Bomb. In the 50s, 60s and 70s people were as obsessied with nuclear weapons as they are today with Twitter (that's only half a joke).

Anyway, today a tweet is 140 characters with an ever-evolving cadre of metadata marching alongside. And it's about the metadata that I wish to ask the inverted question. But first, I'd ask you to click on the small picture below, and go to Flickr and look at all the metadata that's assembled around a picture of my aunt and uncle taken by my mother sometime in the late 70s or early 80s.

A picture named flickrpage.gif

What a rich collection of information there is. Yet you could imagine more, yes? If you read the paragraph that introduces the picture you'll see that there's some data that isn't reflected in the Flickr database. It was taken by my mother, and the two people in the picture are related to both of us. One by blood (the man, my uncle Ken) and one because she is married to the other (my aunt Dot). That data is missing probably because Flickr stopped actively evolving before social networking had fully gained a foothold in online culture. Same with the web itself. Wouldn't it be cool if a pointer could imply a familial relationship? I know that's what TBL has been talking about. Maybe we're getting closer to actually having it.

Anyway, if you go crazy and try to imagine what Twitter might become, you can see that a lot of what it is is in the Flickr metadata without the thing in the middle -- the picture. I've been urging Twitter to support payloads for years now. I can't imagine why they're not doing it. One piece of metadata is all that's needed, minimally, the URL pointing to the picture. Today we have to cram it into the 140 characters. Meanwhile they're advancing, adding geographic data and lists and retweets, all of which add little bits of data to a tweet, but for some reason they won't add the url. Which gets back to the question. Can you imagine that Twitter will never get this feature? No, of course not. It will someday get it. Why not get it over with?

Techmeme curiosity Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named tweetophone.jpgFirst a prediction -- some people are going to say I'm writing this because I want to be on Techmeme. They are entitled to say that, but they are wrong. I am neutral about it. If a story of mine belongs on Techmeme, it should be there, if not, it shouldn't. And it isn't up to me to decide, it's up to the people who run Techmeme.

Also, please read this whole post before commenting, not just one paragraph or phrase, because it's complicated.

I've always believed that Techmeme was a combination of a bot and human judgement. This was confirmed a few months back when Gabe, the guy who runs the site, hired a human editor.

I've disabled their bot by including a line in my robots.txt file that tells them not to crawl the site. But there is no such thing for the human beings, you can't make it so that a person can't read your site. So I always thought that if one of the humans at Techmeme thought something I wrote was interesting, they would publish a link to it. As far as I know this has never happened. (And I watch pretty carefully.)

Sometimes I take the block out of the robots.txt file to see what will happen. In those cases my pieces often turn up on Techmeme, almost never as a major item, rather as part of the "chorus" -- commenting on one of the major articles. I'm often in the chorus with the story everyone is reacting to, including the guy who got top billing. I don't know how this happens, but it's a large part of why I block their bot. I really dislike the chorus. It's what makes the blogosphere like a mail list. You end up with a lot of people chiming in with nothing to add, who just want the flow from being there.

Anyway, what made me think of it is that today Charles Arthur at the Guardian has a nice piece which is centered on my review of Twitter's lists. It's getting a good run on Techmeme. If Techmeme were doing their job well, they'd flip it around and present it as him commenting on the original piece. I'm saying this in case Gabe and Company think the bit in the robots.txt is a prohibition on their human editors. It is not. Read up on robots.txt if you don't believe me. It's all about robots. ;->


Last update: Friday, October 16, 2009 at 12:16 PM Pacific.

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Leon Winer

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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